April 20, 2021
Dear District 65 Families,
The communities of Lake Bluff and Knollwood are very special. Throughout this extremely challenging time, District 65 administrators, teachers and support staff have been grateful for your collaboration and continued support as we have worked to design and implement the most effective model of education possible for our students.
We realize that the consequences of this pandemic have been debilitating. Social, economic, physical and emotional challenges have affected all of us in some way. As your Superintendent I want to recognize, however, that this past year has been more challenging for some than others. The daily consequences of social injustice are a devastation that go above and beyond those created by COVID. As a district, we stand by any individual who has experienced the pain of discrimination, exclusion, stereotyping and violence resulting from a lack of others’ understanding, empathy or care. Whether based on race, ethnicity, gender identity, family structure, economic insecurity, language proficiency, body type or any other aspect of one’s identity, District 65 does not and will not tolerate or condone any form of harassment, bullying, violence or exclusion. We embrace diversity and all its beauty and believe it makes our district and community exceptional.
Black and Asian Americans have been particularly affected by these injustices historically and in recent events in our nation. We as a district are continuing the work of identifying concrete action steps that we can take to ensure that within our schools, students of color will always feel a part of our community, have the resources they need in order to achieve their goals and find a network of supporters and friends that will become part of their journey toward living their best and most fulfilling lives.
We need everyone to support this effort. Speak up if you see your neighbors in pain. Let us know how we can help. Keep talking about how we can make our community an inclusive and kind place for all of our students and families.
If you are interested in taking a more active role in this work with us, please reach out to your building principal and let us know. We are forming a new community task force which will be charged with identifying ways that we can ensure that all of our students are successful in our district and can eventually be beacons of hope for others. We are calling this new group THRIVE because we want all of our students to feel: Trusted, Honored, Respected, Included and Valued Everyday.
If you or anyone you know in District 65 is struggling with feeling a part of our community for any reason, please reach out to your building administrator, any trusted staff member, or me directly. Or, if you are looking for resources to support discussions with your children on these issues, please reach out to our librarians for assistance. Thank you for your partnership in this effort. All of our children are worth it.
Thank you for your partnership,
Dr. Lisa Leali
Superintendent of Schools