Statement from Dr. Dan Stepenosky Regarding Recent Events
While we work hard to prepare for a very different start to the school year in August, we also are inspired by the mass of peaceful protests that have risen up in response to the overt racism and recent deaths at the hands of police. Our hearts break at the loss of life and the anguish of impacted Black families across our country. There is an opportunity for reflection, introspection, and listening, that if approached with humility, can lead to growth, improvement, and real change. We are listening to students, parents, and community members. We are actively reaching out to ensure we hear from a broad and diverse spectrum of our students, staff, parents, and community members. We are deeply committed to examining systems of power and privilege, educating students with this at the heart, and to relentlessly creating opportunities for greater equity and access.
We strive to provide our students and staff with the appropriate tools to empower their cultural proficiency. We strive to create an anti-racist culture through examining tenets of social justice, implicit and explicit bias, and blind spots, all on a path of change and growth. In addition to professional development regarding restorative practices and the placement of hundreds of books that reflect typically underrepresented students in our libraries, we have also created a course with UCSB called Leadership for Social Justice in Education for our staff; organized a summer book study among all LVUSD administrators on Courageous Conversations About Race by Glenn Singleton; committed to examining our recently adopted curricula through an equity-centered, and anti-racist lens. These efforts are just the start of many more actions we can take to create a more equitable system for our students and families of color. We want our students of color to know that we hear you and we are going to act.
Dr. Dan Stepenosky
Las Virgenes Unified School District