Community Update

Diversity Equity & Inclusion October 12, 2020
 
Dear Students and Parents/Guardians:
 
At this time in history, our students are experiencing a global pandemic, witnessing civil unrest in response to racial injustice nationally and locally, and observing political activity as we prepare for a presidential election. Now more than ever, our students and adults need positive role models to guide, support and teach, and then allow each individual to develop their own conclusions based on fair, reliable information.
 
One of the district's key strategic initiatives this year is Safety, Security, and School Culture. These three important elements are directly related to learning. Our goal at Pine-Richland is to continually enhance and improve each element to establish an environment of comfort, confidence, trust, and safety for all.
 
This communication will focus on school culture and the strategic efforts that we are planning related to diversity, equity, and inclusion. In recent years, our in-depth program reviews in social studies, English Language Arts, and library are aligned with this strategic initiative. The image of our PR Graduate Portrait includes personal qualities and characteristics; health and wellness; knowledge; and skills. Well rounded individuals develop the personal qualities and skills to engage in an ever-evolving, diverse world. It is through understanding and appreciation of our similarities and differences that lead to positive change. The ability for our students to develop empathy and think through the life lens of others, as well as engage in civil discourse and respectful dialogue, are skills we have identified as components of the PR Graduate Portrait. 
The district has taken several actions to date to emphasize the importance of diversity, equity, and inclusion, including the Pine-Richland School Board approving the Anti-Racism Resolution and partnering with the Pine-Richland Anti-Racism Coalition. PRSD’s goal is to ensure that in all we do, we have an anti-racist environment and that racism has no place at Pine-Richland. Only through establishing a culture of diversity, equity, and inclusion can we fully realize the mission, vision, and values of the Pine-Richland School District. We have recognized the need for more intentional support for our black and brown families, including individual family contact by our school counselors. A core group of K-12 administrators and school counselors are designing a process that will engage students, staff, parents, and local partners around this work. This process will be guided by the leadership of our PRSD Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Leadership Council. 
 
This committee and council will work through a process paralleling the in-depth program review cycle, including research and intentional dialogue to gather input from staff, students, families, other school districts, and university/business leaders. Topics such as curriculum/assessment modifications, staff training, support for black and brown students/families, policy review, and student organizations/school culture will be explored and a common vision for the future of our educational community will be created collaboratively. The research process will then lead to sustainable recommendations and concrete action items to develop a school culture and system where all students thrive and are optimally engaged and learning.
 
Please know that our school counselors are available to support students and families. School counselors are advocates for students. We all share the responsibility to challenge injustice, to stand up, and to speak up. We encourage you to contact your child’s counselor at any time, particularly if your child has been affected by recent events.  We are committed to support our families, remove barriers, create connections, and listen. Please contact us! Even in those moments when we do not know exactly what to say, we are ready to listen and connect. We are ready to learn and grow together!
 
Ext 1657 Jasmine Holliday; Counselor, Students: A-D 
Ext 1652 Jennifer Bowers; Counselor, Students: E-K
Ext 1653 Toni Filipowski; Counselor, Students: L-R
Ext 1655 Leslie Straub; Counselor, Students: S-Z
Ext 1674 Jocelyn Secen; Transition Counselor
Ext 1677 Carolyn Welshonce; School Social Worker
 
Ext 2229 Jennifer Mullaugh; Counselor, Students: A-K                                             
Ext 2230 Michael Rose; Counselor, Students: L-Z
Ext 1677 Carolyn Welshonce; School Social Worker
 
Ext 7009  Lauren Hawrylak; Counselor, Students: Grade 4
Ext 7807  Jennifer Miller; Counselor, Students: Grade 5
Ext 7008  Brad-Leigh Coker; Counselor, Students: Grade 6
 
Hance Elementary School: 724-443-1541 
Ext 3650 Tammy Godino; Counselor, Students: K-3
 
Ext 4804  Amy Molitor; Counselor, Students: K-3
 
Ext 5224  Brittany Papas; Counselor, Students: K-3
 
Quarterly updates will be provided as we make progress throughout the year with opportunities extended for participating in the work and dialogue.
 
Wishing you and your family all the best in this new, and very different, school year!  
 
Sincerely,
Michael Pasquinelli, Ed.D.
Assistant Superintendent of Secondary Education & Curriculum
 
Kristen Justus, Ph.D.
Assistant Superintendent of Elementary Education & Curriculum