KLSD Learning Cafe: Talking about Diversity

March 22, 2019

Dear KLSD Community,

Please join us for our next Learning Café at 7:00 pm on April 2ndin the John Jay Middle School Dining Room. These cafés are an opportunity to think with our community on topics whose complexity is better suited to conversation than presentation. In April, we will be thinking together about diversity, its role in education and in the lives of our students.

We ask all participants to register in advance so that we can plan for the appropriate number and print your names on table cards for the evening. Please reserve your seat no later than March 31, 2019 at the following link:

KLSD Learning Café: Talking about Diversity - In School, at Home, in our Community

In my letter just prior to the Martin Luther King, Jr. weekend, I wrote that, “Our students must be prepared to learn and work effectively in teams that are increasingly diverse as our world grows smaller and more connected.”

Both before I wrote that letter and since, some of you have asked, “Given the relative lack of diversity in our schools, how do we prepare our students for a diverse world?”

Inside that question is another. How do we define diversity? Are we talking about race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, cognitive ability, values, beliefs, all of those things, and other things too? How narrowly or broadly do we conceive of difference, and how willing are we to dig deeply into such challenging questions?

As a school district, we think it’s vital for our students to understand their strengths, recognize and celebrate how they are different from others, and, just as importantly, respect and value the strengths and differences of others. For success both in school and in life beyond school, these are necessary skills.

We also recognize the challenge of developing these skills in all students. We know we don’t have all the answers and we know this is not a topic that school alone can tackle effectively. To nurture these skills in all students requires a home-school partnership.

At the café, we will share some of the ways we are thinking about Social Emotional Learning (which includes social awareness and relationship skills). We will discuss some of the pressures we believe students face that make it hard for them to embrace and value differences. We will ask you to share your thoughts about your children’s experiences and your ideas about how together we can nurture these vital life skills in all our students.

I hope you will consider joining us.


Andrew Selesnick, Superintendent of Schools