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WDMCS Superintendent: 'We Are Better Together' amid George Floyd Protests, Racial Inequality (06/02/20)

This past week, our nation witnessed the horrific death of George Floyd by Minneapolis police officers and the violence which then erupted across communities, including in central Iowa. 

I am reminded in times like these how important our mission is to graduate students who can “thrive in and contribute to a diverse and changing world.” We must remember that diversity is not a goal or ideal, but a reality that strengthens us. We are part of the diverse world we contribute to, and we must take steps to leave that world better than we found it. Our children are watching, listening, and learning. They look to us for how to respond during times of crisis.

West Des Moines Community Schools stands in support of our Black and African-American students, families, and staff, especially now. I want you to know that you are all integral and valued members of our district family, and we will continue to listen, self-evaluate, learn, and collaborate to create an equitable environment for all of you.

Last January we hosted a Community Connections event  where local community leaders shared their expertise on how WDMCS and our broader community can support student safety, facilitate equity conversations, and provide mental health resources. Although it may be difficult to remember these conversations in light of our COVID-19 pandemic, WDMCS has continually prioritized equity training and conversations among our students and staff since implementing our education equity plan in 2016. We are committed to listening, self-evaluating, learning, and collaborating to create an equitable environment for all students—specifically for students of color.

We are learning together how to build trust, assume good intent, listen to understand, and value diverse perspectives. We wish to help our students learn how to best listen and be heard when confronting social injustices, including the racial violence that took place in Minneapolis.

Equity is an ongoing journey for our district. We have not arrived, but we are committed to doing better. I am committed to helping break down inequities and systems of oppression. The experiences of our children, especially those of color, must reflect the better world they deserve to live in.

 It is important to us to continue to partner with our broader community in order to dismantle racism in our district community. We value your perspective and know that we are better together.

Lisa Remy, Ed.D.