Dear Parents and Staff,
I was so impressed with the Millburn High School’s Black Student Union’s 3rd annual Black History Assembly yesterday. Under this year’s theme of African Artistry, the students performed dances inspired by African American history including hip-hop and step. They also very courageously shared stories of stereotyping and memories of prejudice and bias. It is always an inspirational program for our students, and because it comes from their peers it sends a powerful message.
At Monday’s Board of Education meeting, Holly Foley, Supervisor of Instructional Support, will report on additional examples of how we honor and understand African American achievements in our classrooms, especially most recently during Black History Month. She has some “real classroom” examples to share.
The Board of Education is also focusing on strengthening our policies and disciplinary procedures regarding bias language and expressions. This is a top priority as we launch a “Zero Indifference” mission this spring to educate students, staff and parents/guardians regarding stopping bias language in our schools and community. Join us at the Education Center on Monday at 7:45 pm to learn more.
Please save the date: Tuesday, April 2nd, for a “Conversation on Diversity, Identity and Social Justice”, with Dr. Khyati Joshi, Director, Institute for Teaching Diversity & Social Justice and Professor at Fairleigh Dickinson University. Dr. Joshi has been working with our teachers and administrators this school year to provide professional development in areas of focus such as cultural, ethnic, religious and gender identity, as well as equity and justice issues. I hope you can join us for an engaging and important presentation for our community. Learn more about these initiatives in this January BOE presentation.
In tandem with the school district’s efforts, the Township’s new Cultural Engagement, Diversity and Arts Committee is celebrating the past, present and future of our mill town with a community art project. On Sunday, April 7th at 2 pm in Taylor Park, all are invited to participate in “Millwheels Rolling into Millburn,” where you can learn how to transform a 30-inch wooden millwheel into a work of art that represents your organization’s vision of our township!
We are getting closer to fully launching the Sandy Hook Promise “Say Something Anonymous Reporting System” to provide our students, parents, staff and community with another way to identify, intervene and get help for individuals who may be at risk of hurting themselves or others. This is just one more prong in the many ways we engage with our students and families to provide the assistance they need. For some, an anonymous report is the only way we might learn about that need. This week we provided training for our middle and high school teachers. We will be scheduling student training in April, and providing parents with more information about the system at that time.
Dr. Christine Burton
Superintendent of Schools
(973) 376-3600 (X40151)