The Allegheny Intermediate Unit (AIU) along with all 42 school districts and five career and technical centers (CTCs) in suburban Allegheny County issued a joint statement on Friday reaffirming their organizations’ commitment to students and families of all backgrounds, and standing against acts of prejudice and racism. The joint statement was posted on the AIU’s and districts’ social media accounts and/or websites. The statement is below:
“As Allegheny County educators, we strive to ensure welcoming, inclusive, and safe learning environments for all of our students and families. We are committed to nurturing schools where each and every child is respected and valued as an individual regardless of skin color, gender, orientation, religion, ability or disability, or any other category.
We stand together in support of our students and families of color and against acts of prejudice and racism. We will continue to work to ensure educational equity for all students and stand in solidarity with our black and brown students and families.”
Rosanne Javorsky, the AIU’s interim executive director, said that in recent days educational leaders across the county expressed their desire to address the death of George Floyd and subsequent protests in a cohesive manner.
“Several school districts have already been in communication with their families and have issued statements of support individually,” Mrs. Javorsky said. “This joint statement reinforces that all of our students are valued and that prejudice and racism have no place in our public schools.”
On Wednesday, June 3, 2020, Quaker Valley School District Superintendent Tammy A. Andreyko, Ed.D. sent the following letter to families:
Dear Quaker Valley:
Thank you so much for your support throughout the 2019-2020 school year, especially during the last three months. With so many unexpected changes, our school community stepped up and helped transform learning for all students. We could not have done it without the assistance and commitment of our families and staff. I think we all agree that amazing learning experiences happen when we are all in our schools and learning together, but we have done our best to end this school year with real purpose. Therefore, we thank you for being so flexible and demonstrating so much courage.
While we are filled with pride over the accomplishments of our students and staff during these unique circumstances, we cannot help but be saddened and dismayed that this summer is off to a painful start across our nation. The unconscionable actions that led to the death of George Floyd shine a spotlight on racial inequality, violence, and brutality. Our commitment at Quaker Valley School District is to break down barriers and dedicate ourselves to understanding and celebrating each other’s differences. As a public school, we stand with those who are hurting, who are oppressed, who are forced to live in a society where inequality endures, and we commit ourselves to make changes. We are not helpless to effect change. Let us work together to remove walls that stand in the way of social justice and peace. This moment demands that we reaffirm our role as champions of equity, empathy, and humanity. We plan to continue these critical conversations in our hallways and classrooms when we return in the fall. We are recommitting ourselves to heal this open wound.
We have all changed so much over the last few months. Returning to school in August may look and feel different than in the past. We are forming a QVSD Steering Committee to help develop a plan for reopening. This group will develop strategies for multiple scenarios, including academic contingency plans. This information will be communicated with families later this summer before our planned return. While there is still much to learn about COVID-19, we are dedicated to returning to a safe learning environment. We will make every effort to provide a healthy atmosphere for all students, faculty, and staff. Learning together is what we do best at Quaker Valley. We cannot wait to hear our students talking and laughing again.
We hope you have a relaxing and healthy summer. You have all earned it! Regardless of the plans, we will continue to put student safety first and comply with all guidelines and requirements set forth by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the Allegheny County Health Department. There is indeed a great deal of work to do surrounding our reaction to the novel coronavirus, and we will lean upon our leaders to guide us through the process as they have done over the last few months.
I am very proud of our students and their resolve and tenacity throughout these challenging world events. Thank you for your support, and I look forward to seeing you in August. Please stay well and know how much we miss you!
Very truly yours,
Tammy A. Andreyko, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools