Hello White Hill students and parents,
Welcome to all of our new students and families joining us this year and a huge welcome back to all of our returning students and families. While we are starting the 2020-2021 school year differently than ever before, we will move forward through these unprecedented times together as a White Hill community. I was amazed at the commitment and collaboration of our staff and the resiliency of our students and parents last spring as we embarked on distance learning for the first time. As we continue distance learning to begin our 2020-2021 school year, I know our staff has learned a lot from last year’s experience and will continue to show their incredible commitment to our students and families. I am truly proud and honored to work in such a collaborative and welcoming community.
At White Hill we work hard to build strong relationships with students. Even though we will be learning through a virtual model to begin the school year, we are committed to building positive relationships with each and every student and working to meet their individual needs through this difficult time. We understand things are stressful and difficult for all of us as adults, but also for our children who miss the social interactions with other students and staff. We will continue to be agile as we work creatively as a staff to bring our students the learning opportunities and experiences they would have at White Hill through a virtual model.
Arguably, the most important aspect of our students’ White Hill experience is our commitment to their social emotional well-being. Each week, our school counseling team will provide check-in opportunities for all students. We will have weekly community-building exercises embedded into our synchronous schedule and students will also have the opportunity to participate in a variety of clubs each day if they choose. As part of our commitment to the social emotional well-being of our students, we will be introducing “The Wildcat Way.” The Wildcat Way consists of 7 characteristics (Curiosity, Optimism, Gratitude, Empathy, Self Control, Zest, Grit) that we hope to help our students develop and/or deepen during their time at White Hill. Various activities, conversations and celebrations will take place throughout the year centered around The Wildcat Way.
Lastly, the events that we’ve watched and participated in over the last few months in regards to the Black Lives Matter movement have impacted all of us and at White Hill we will be renewing our commitment to AntiRacism and equity. Administrators in the Ross Valley School District began equity work in 2016. Since then we have expanded that work to include staff and students, leading to our first parent equity team meeting right before schools were closed due to Covid-19. We are proud of our efforts and yet we recognize and acknowledge that we have much more to do. In the spring, White Hill’s equity team surveyed students and began to develop a plan to address racial equity in our curriculum. To support this work our academic theme for the year is “turning the counter narrative into the narrative,” and we are looking for all subject areas to provide every student with multiple perspectives through their content. It is extremely important for our students to go beyond the most common narrative and learn about stories and experiences from every perspective. As a school community, we are committed to equity and I look forward to partnering with you and sharing our plan and progress as we create an AntiRacist learning environment at White Hill.
I look forward to a safe and successful school year.