June 2, 2020

Dear RCS Families,

I love our country. I have stood alongside my fellow Marines to secure the freedoms of our nation. Writing this message has required tremendous reflection to address the responsibility that I feel to the community that I serve, especially when considering the unjust loss of life.

Our nation mourns the senseless death of George Floyd in Minneapolis and so many others that have preceded him. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the families of these victims during these very difficult times.

This heartbreaking news reinforces our need to persevere in building an educated, culturally proficient, and globally aware community. Rochester Community Schools is proud to have an active parent group that serves as a valuable resource. We continue to collaborate with community partners, such as the Michigan Roundtable for Diversity and Inclusion, to bring unique learning opportunities to our students and stakeholders.

As an educational institution, we understand the importance of teaching, learning, and being the best example we can be for our children. To that end, we have implemented a two-year cultural proficiency training model for all administrators, teachers, and staff. The work continues with our K-12 students who are engaged in social justice and leadership training. We are consciously embedding this work in our journey to become a trauma-informed school community.

We have made great strides over the past several years in the areas of cultural proficiency and equity; but there is significantly more work to do. Hope and inspiration are our drivers to take action, and we are committed to the work of dismantling systemic inequities to promote peace, healing, and justice.

To all those who endure racial injustice, we acknowledge the bias and prejudice that exists in our country and are sincerely apologetic for systems of oppression and beliefs that have led to inequitable treatment. In addition to the actions we are taking as a district, we are providing our families with resources included below to begin the conversation with their children.

As our school community carefully reflects on the tragedy of these situations, we stand in solidarity to ensure that all members of our district are safe, valued, respected, and loved.

Sincerely,

Robert Shaner, Ph.D., Superintendent