Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Where were you?

Eligible voters, all I can say is, "Shame on you." A less than nine percent turnout to vote yesterday. Come on! If we want our schools to be great, we ALL need to participate. We need to be informed. We need to ask questions. We need to show up, for goodness sake. It's no wonder that our national government has taken charge of education. Our local citizens don't seem to care if they have a say.

Clearly, voters who sat at home were not seriously contemplating, "What's best for kids?"

Congratulations to Peter Steinfeld and Erika Dierking who were elected to the Storm Lake Community School District Board of Education, and "Way to go," Stephanie Wilhelm, for choosing to run in this local election. Thank you to all three of you for participating. Thank you for being informed. And, thank you for asking the tough questions.

It's time to get involved, Storm Lakers. To butcher a famous quote, attributed to several in various forms: "If not now, when? If not you, who?"

Monday, September 11, 2017

"This is my home"

Interesting article in the Pilot Tribune last week.

I can't help picturing my own young adult children who are all peers of the Dreamers - who I moved several times, with absolutely no input from them, starting when the oldest was 2 years old. What if they were suddenly dropped in a foreign country where they didn't know the language, knew no one, and had no job or place to live?

America, where is our heart?

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

"We view our diversity as a strength..."

Hats off to Iowa City's Superintendent and his kind letter to his school community yesterday:

Message to Our Community

Dear Members of the Iowa City Community School District Family,

Today it was announced that the Department of Homeland Security rescinded the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy and will stop processing any new applications for the program. To all of our students who are impacted by this decision – and to their friends, classmates and teachers who are also concerned because of this decision – know that the Iowa City Community School District stands by you. We serve all families in our District and we want our students to be safe, to feel welcome, and to learn and succeed in our schools and community. The Iowa City Community School District does not condone nor support any action that demonstrates intolerance, bigotry, or that promotes discrimination. As a District, we remain committed to celebrating and embracing our diversity, as that diversity makes us stronger.

Our District has a responsibility to provide a safe, secure, and nurturing environment for all of our students to participate in their education. We do not tolerate discrimination because these actions impact all of us and detract from an inclusive educational environment. Over the next few months as this issue makes its way through Congress, there will be teachable moments during which we can discuss the democratic process, how to resolve differences, how to deal with conflict, and how to reconcile diverse and contradictory values. Living in a democracy affords us this opportunity. Teaching our students how to process the outcome of the DACA decision is a privilege that we have as educators and adults.

As a district, we place great value in building an inclusive culture of learning where all students and families feel welcome, safe, and secure. Please know that the District will never give out immigrant status information and we are proud to stand with our DACA students and families. We view our diversity as a strength and celebrate the fact that over 70 languages are spoken throughout our buildings. We are proud to stand by, support and celebrate each and every unique individual within our District.

Thank you to everyone for helping our students understand this decision and how best to move forward. I have no doubt that questions and concerns will linger and that we will need to continue our vigilance in monitoring the health and safety of our students and schools. The District has resources to provide assistance to students and families who may need additional support. Please reach out through our School Counselors and Student and Family Advocates if you, a student, or a District family has unmet needs. We will do our best to provide support or assist them in finding the support they need in our broader community.


Stephen F. Murley
Iowa City Community School District