Mr. Hood’s Commitment to Our Community and Actions Toward Change

6/11/20

Dear Madison Parents, 

Our school is dedicated to Creating a Culture of Caring. We know that not every student's or parent's experience is the same at Madison. The Black Lives Matter Movement has called us to confront the inequities that still exist in our schools. As Superintendent Brabrand and the FCPS School Board have highlighted, “...there are still many situations and instances of racism, hate, and oppression across our country, particularly for Black people. This cannot be ignored.” 

We want to hear about your story and experience. We are dedicated to creating opportunities for students and parents to have a voice in the steps we take to improve Madison. All principals in the Madison Pyramid will also be providing opportunities to listen and hear from their students and parents.

Today, I sent an email to our students offering an opportunity for them to participate in Student Listening Groups. The purpose of these groups will be to listen and learn from our students. Our goal is to ensure diverse student perspectives and points of view are represented. Three sessions will be offered for students next week on June 17th.  Other opportunities will be provided for students who can not attend and students who prefer to respond in writing may do so in the Google form they were provided. Questions that students are initially being asked to consider are:

  • What is the student experience at JMHS?
  • How can we foster a culture of anti-racism at JMHS?
  • How can we ensure every student feels valued?
  • How can we provide every student a voice?
  • How can we foster student well-being at JMHS?
  • How can students and adults collaborate to improve our school? 

For parents who are interested in sharing their experiences, we want to provide a variety of options. We know that parents have preferences for how they prefer to communicate and manage their time depending on work schedules, child care, comfort level, etc.  As a starting point, we welcome parents who would like to engage in this discussion to complete this Google form. This Google form will help us identify who wants to share in this important dialogue and the preference for having this discussion.  Once we have collected this information, we can then begin reaching out.

Normally, we would not be asking students or parents to stay connected to us over the summer months; however, we feel this is critical in our efforts to make sure every Madison student feels valued, included, and loved. 

Conversations and dialogue are just the first steps to taking meaningful, thoughtful action. We are committed as a Madison administration and staff to make meaningful changes that are systemic and impactful.  

Thank you for joining me on this journey.

______________________________________________________

6/7/2020

Dear Madison Students, Staff, and Families,

I am writing you today with a heavy heart. You may have seen or heard about a video circulating on social media that was taken by a student during Tuesday’s senior celebration day.  In the video, the student asked me to read some writing on her car window and comment on it.

During the commotion of handing out senior bags and celebrating our graduates, I glanced at the car window and did not truly digest what was written or being asked.  I now know that it read, “Admin and Educators, your silence is loud and clear to your black students.”  As a result, my response was not reflective of my beliefs and was extremely disappointing.  I wish I had taken the time to fully reflect on what I was being asked to comment on before I responded.  Please accept my apology for the hurt and anger my response has caused.

I share in the sadness and outrage about the heinous acts of racism and hate that have occurred in our country during the last few weeks, and frankly, for generations. These horrific events are especially painful for our Black and African American community members. Racism, hate, and discrimination have no place in our school, nor in our country. I hold myself, my staff, and my students accountable for our words and actions that, in any way may perpetuate the racism that exists. Through self-reflection and a commitment to becoming part of the solution, I can and will do better.

I ask that we now come together and take action towards real change.  Over the next two weeks, I will be offering multiple opportunities for our students, staff, and community members to come together.  These opportunities will allow voices to be heard and help guide the actions we take as a school.

Madison is a place where all of our students should feel valued, appreciated, and safe. Please know that I am committed to making this a reality.

Sincerely,

Gregory Hood

Principal

______________________________________________________

6/3/2020

Dear Madison Pyramid Parents and Community,

We reach out to you today as a united group of educators to acknowledge the events that have transpired portraying the anger and hurt that exists in our country.  Racism and hate have no place in the Madison Pyramid; rather our schools are places that strive towards inclusiveness and compassion for all while providing hope for the future. To our Black and African American families and community members, we echo the words of our Superintendent, Dr. Brabrand as he shared with FCPS staff yesterday, “We see you, we believe in you, and we stand with you.”

At each of our schools, we have made a commitment to bring awareness to social and emotional issues within our buildings through an equity lens. Every school in the Madison pyramid has an equity lead who partners with the Principal to ensure staff have the tools to recognize and take action on inequities within our buildings. We have participated in professional learning on equitable and culturally responsive practices and are committed to furthering our learning in order to address the topics of racism and equity with our students and with each other.

During this time, we will not sit silently. We have all worked together to create places and spaces where all are welcome and seen. In our classrooms, and within our school communities, we will continue to learn about, value, and embrace each other’s differences while working to change the conditions that allow injustice. Please know that your schools are here for you and stand with our Black and African American community. It is the diversity of our community members who make the Madison pyramid a wonderfully unique place to live, work, learn and grow.  We recognize that everyone may be impacted by these recent events differently, and we welcome you to reach out to your school’s Principal, school counselor, or clinical staff with any questions or concerns. 

For additional resources, please consider the following:

As a community, we are here, and we stand together.  

Sincerely,

Your Madison Pyramid Principals