Dear Colleagues,

As we prepare with excitement for the first day of school, we wanted to take a moment to thank you for everything you do to educate and inspire the students of Chicago Public Schools. We know it’s not easy, and our work is at the heart of students’ success.

We also want to take this moment to address the very serious and challenging circumstances that are creating much anxiety and turmoil for our nation, particularly for children of color.

Chicago Public Schools’ very mission is to give all students the chance to live up to their potential – no matter where they come from or the color of their skin. And every day, in our classrooms, you are presented with the opportunity to nurture students’ better angels, as President Lincoln would ask of all of us. And whether it be the recent tragedy in Charlottesville, or more locally, the damaging rhetoric of our own state politics, it becomes even more important that we steadfastly hold onto our values of diversity, inclusion and the sanctity of human rights. As we ready ourselves for a new school year, it has never been more important to come together, reflect on these values and act on them.

In such turbulent times, we are compelled to call upon the wisdom of one of our nation’s great leaders, Martin Luther King Jr.: “The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. Intelligence plus character – that is the goal of true education.”

We have seen firsthand your incredible commitment to living out these values and building a school system that both cultivates the intellect and strengthens the character of nearly 400,000 children. As the third largest school district in the nation, we know that you will come back to school committed and passionate about ensuring that each and every student across every neighborhood of Chicago will receive a high quality education that helps them succeed.

Please know that we value and appreciate you, and we are providing teachers with additional resources here. We know how difficult the work is, and together we will serve the young people of Chicago respectfully, valuing diversity, inclusion and each student’s human rights. Together, we will advance this great city that we all love and call home.

Sincerely,

 

Frank M. Clark
Board President
Chicago Board of Education

 

Forrest Claypool
Chief Executive Officer
Chicago Public Schools
Janice Jackson
Chief Education Officer
Chicago Public School