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From the Prinicpal
Tuesday, September 22, 2015 2:20 PM

jonas_buegen_6.png

We are now full swing into the school year and students are hard at work and play in classrooms. One of my favorite things about the first month has been hearing and seeing students develop relationships with their peers and teachers. One of our core values is “developing a community of mutual respect and equity” and I am proud to say that I see examples in which we live this value in our school on a daily basis.

However, I have identified a need for growth in the area of creating a culture of respect and equity which we all strive to achieve at Barton.  If you go to http://barton.mpls.k12.mn.us/Leadership_Council you see will see pictures of our Leadership Council members. The council is comprised of talented, passionate people that are deeply committed to the success of Barton, our values and our open school model. These members of our community volunteer many, many hours to make Barton great for ALL of our students.

Unfortunately, the council does not reflect the racial and cultural diversity of our school community. This is not intentional and it is not new. Through extensive conversation with council members, I have learned that having greater racial and cultural diversity on the council has been a goal for many years. Nonetheless, at this point the efforts have not achieved the desired results.

On August 24th, the first day I met with the entire Barton staff, I made a commitment to our team that I would be intentional about being an anti-racist school leader.  This means that when I see areas of inequity, I will share the observation with our community and we will ask ourselves to work together to address the situation.  Our Leadership Council plays a big role in our community and in ensuring we maintain our progressive values.  In the first two council meetings this year, I have noted multiple examples of our few members of color bringing concerns and questions to the table. Some of these concerns and questions would not have been considered without their unique perspectives and experiences.

To address this situation, I requested that our Leadership Council members consider both long-term and short term solutions to ensuring that the council reflects the racial and cultural diversity of our community.  At our meeting last Thursday we discussed a variety of short-term options to address this concern immediately for this year.  The idea is that what we do will be a one year solution with the understanding that we will evaluate our normal process for selecting members later in the year to create a long term solution.

The council agreed to these next steps at the end of our meeting last Thursday:

1.        I was charged with creating an administrative recommendation that considers the extensive feedback provided by council members. That recommendation can be found at 

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1tkRnwtvQFbXV-sDTAwsbp4At6kmIXjqbdE_EjpcnW6M/pub

2.       We will hold a listening session in the DeLapp Commons next Thursday, October 1st, from 5:00PM -5:30PM. This session will provide an opportunity for any member of the Barton community to share concerns and/or support for the proposal before the council discusses it and considers action.

3.       At 5:30PM the Leadership Council will hold a special session to discuss the recommendation and possibly take action to move forward with the plan if consensus is reached.

Please contact me if you have questions and provide feedback to council members as they consider the recommendation.

Finally, our book discussion will begin tonight.  From tonight through next Wednesday we will discuss the authors note, the introduction and chapters 1 & 2. This includes pages 1-53. To join the book study, refer to the directions in the last Bugle they can be found at:

http://barton.mpls.k12.mn.us/index.

All are invited to join in at any time for as much or little as you would like. Students, teachers, parents, community members are all welcome. I have a few copies of the book in the office to give away still as well.  I hope you will check it out.

--Jonas Beugen, Principal (email address Jonas.beugen@mpls.k12.mn.us)