Dear APS Community:
Four years ago, I shared my reflections about Election Day. In the message, which is copied below, I spoke about my pride in our community's shared values and my intention for us to live up to those values. Over the past four years, we have had many proud moments of living up to those values and benefitting the kids we serve. However, we have also had times of not showing up as our best selves - as individuals, as a school district or as a community.
Today, we are all in the midst of processing a whirlwind of emotions triggered by: social injustice and unrest, a global pandemic and a country sharply divided by our politics. Each on their own can produce high levels of anxiety, and taken together they can feel overwhelming. For many of us, it has felt like we are living in a perpetual "fight or flight" response.
The fight or flight response is a powerful physiological reaction. The fight or flight response prepares the body for action in the face of stressful situations. So each day as I feel the stress and anxiety of the moment building in me, I tell myself: "You are already prepared to take action--you might as well fight."
I want you to know that in the midst of everything going on around us, I am prepared to fight for our kids. Specifically, I am prepared to fight for:
- the conditions and support we need for in-person learning
- the resources to have powerful learning environments
- a culture and climate that is centered in equity
I am proud and grateful for the work of so many on our APS team. APS has stood up to support and fight for this community in countless ways and, I know, in many more ways to come. I would love if you would share with me and others how you are prepared to fight for our kids by using #APSFightsForKids. Connect and share with us on Facebook (@aurorak12), Twitter (@aurorak12) and Instagram (@aurora_public_schools).
We are in this fight together. While we all do the work in different ways, we all share the same job. Thank you for how you show up, represent our values and fight for each of our students to shape a successful future.
- Superintendent Rico Munn
Date: November 10, 2016 at 9:29:56 AM MST
To: Superintendent Mail <SUPT@aurorak12.org>
Subject: The APS Community
Yesterday I took some time to reflect upon the impact that Tuesday’s election had on our community. I was humbled and overjoyed that the community showed its faith, trust and support in APS by approving the bond proposal. We know that education is the key for all of our students to shape successful futures and to support long term opportunity and prosperity for all of us.
At the same time, I was saddened by the stark reminders of the deep divisions across our country. There are many in our country and in our neighborhoods who woke up Wednesday morning feeling a new sense of hope and opportunity. But there are many who woke up in fear and with a belief that Tuesday’s results did not represent the America they know and love. Elections are always a time of transition but the rhetoric of this election has caused many to wonder about what values will be our guide in the days and years to come.
A little over a year ago we adopted a new strategic plan for the district. The bedrock of our plan is a set of Core Beliefs which were nothing more than a summary of what this community told us it expected from APS during the many meetings we had with communities of faith, parents, business and civic leaders across Aurora. This community told us in no uncertain terms that:
We, as a community, believe:
- Every student has unique abilities that we must recognize and engage.
- A district with students at its center provides an adaptable and responsible foundation for learning.
- Student and staff safety is essential to our vision and mission.
- Students, families, staff and community members share the responsibility for student achievement.
- Student achievement and growth are driven by a highly-effective and respected staff working as a team.
- Students take an active and ongoing responsibility for their learning.
- Families are our partners in education.
- Community partnerships provide vital resources and opportunities for students and families.
- All students must have equitable access to learning opportunities, technology and environments that support them in reaching their full potential.
- Diversity is a strength in our community.
In the year leading up to the bond proposal we also held multiple focus groups and polled the full spectrum of our community. Time and again, the community reaffirmed these values. As you do your own reflecting in the days ahead, whatever your feelings about Tuesday’s results, I hope you will take great pride in being a part of a community that holds and acts upon these beliefs. Please know that these are the values which will drive every decision we make as we work to serve the students and families of the Aurora Public Schools.