Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Weekend 2020

January 17, 2020

Dear KLSD Families,

This weekend reminds us both of Dr. King’s legacy and of the year-round work still necessary if we are to approach his ideals.

I specifically say “year-round” because I know the long weekend prompts some to ask, “What are our schools doing this week or next?” While it’s very appropriate for teachers and students to honor Dr. King’s life and his enduring contributions at this time of year, we must also be engaged in work throughout the year that advances the ideals of equity and equality that he espoused. That year-round work may not always draw attention, but it remains incredibly important.

Every student in our schools should feel welcomed and cherished. Every student should have opportunity to see themselves, their interests, and their dreams reflected in the curriculum, in the books they read, and in the projects they complete. By the same token, every student should have the opportunity to learn about and, to the extent possible, experience lives different from their own. In this way, we develop empathy, compassion, and understanding.

In recent years, we have taken to talking about the literature in our classrooms as mirrors, windows, and sliding glass doors – work that holds up our own lives for reflection, work that shows us the lives of others, and work that allows us to step into and experience the worlds of others. We could say this goes beyond literature and is what education, as a whole, should be. As Dr. King wrote, “An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concern to the broader concern of all humanity.”

Wishing all a good weekend.

Andrew Selesnick, Superintendent of Schools