Our MUSD Community may feel disrupted by recent challenges that allow for disunity; however, through sincere engagement with one another, we will become more tightly woven in unity. Authors Margaret Wheatley and Peter Block speak about the power of dissent and the ability to disagree as a way of strengthening our commitment to one another. Having the space to speak about one’s experience and knowing that others are listening with the sole intent of understanding allows for respectful engagement. Engagement is about empowering through relationship in genuine and significant ways.
In the last few months I have heard from parents, staff, family/community members, and students about feelings of fear, anger, exclusion, and bullying. These experiences have been tied to instances such as a desire to have a voice in our governance, insensitive remarks between adults, lack of understanding about autism, or outrage resulting from the blackface incident. While it is painful to hear another’s hurt, I am thankful for the opportunity to listen. In listening inquisitively to one another, with a desire to seek action that ensures a better school community, our system grows healthier.
Community engagement and cultural sensitivity isn’t something we can teach our students without opening ourselves to an exchange about what matters, where we have been, and where we want to be with each other. In the coming days and months there will be many opportunities for us to share, listen, reflect, and learn about what matters in MUSD. Why? Because engagement is recognizing our basic need for belonging, and the value that each brings to our community. As we prepare for Thanksgiving this week, I am grateful for each of you, as I know that WE are becoming not only the best school district in the nation, but a model community in which cultural diversity is regarded as our greatest strength.