August 12, 2020Dear Parents/Guardians:Campolindo High School’s efforts to combat racism have not been sufficient and as I stated in my August 6th email, I must do more to lead anti-racist efforts at our school. Students, alumni, parents, and staff have clearly called for the school to take direct action against racism at Campolindo. Our community has a wide array of political views; however, I trust that we all agree that every student deserves a school experience characterized by a sense of belonging and respect.During Academy Cohort sessions this Thursday and Friday, all Campolindo students will engage in discussions about racial identity and racial awareness. These topics are critical, because before we can effectively discuss racism, we need to build a shared understanding of race. Students have different perspectives and experiences with respect to race, so these foundational conversations are essential. Dr. Lori Watson, the AUHSD equity consultant, collaborated with AUHSD teachers and students to develop this engaging curriculum.Thursday, August 13th: Teachers will present protocols for discussing race and students will respond to the following questions:
Homework: Students will read “Together, You can Redeem the Soul of a Nation” by John Lewis. Discussion questions:
- Why is it important for our school community to talk about race?
- What will make it hard for you to talk about race?
- What would help make it easier?
Friday, August 14th: Students will watch a clip from "Race: The Power of an Illusion". This video is part of an excellent series, highly recommended and used widely by educators. It addresses race as a social construct, not biological. Students will respond to the following prompts:
- What would you define as “good trouble”? Have you ever been in “good trouble”? What happened?
- Lewis writes: “The vote is the most powerful nonviolent change agent you have in a democratic society.” Do you agree? Why or why not?
Homework: We encourage students to watch the entire video, perhaps with parents/guardians. What resonated with you? Did anything surprise you?Academy Cohort teachers will deliver three additional racial equity lessons this quarter: 8/19, 8/31, and 9/14. I look forward to partnering with you as Campolindo builds an anti-racist school culture.Sincerely,John WalkerPrincipalAugust 6, 2020Dear Campolindo Community:During the summer, hundreds of Campolindo students and graduates contacted me to share stories of how they were hurt by racial bias, microaggressions, and overtly racist acts at Campolindo. These stories were difficult to hear and I can only imagine how difficult they were to recount. Previous efforts to address racism at Campolindo have been inadequate; and as Principal, I own my part in not building and nurturing the type of inclusive, positive school culture that all students deserve. I am committed to leading the effort to build a school culture that is actively anti-racist and supports inclusion and belonging for all students. This work will not be easy; however, staff, parent, and student leaders have come forward with a deep commitment to this work and I am confident that we will rise to the challenge.The Campolindo High School Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Action Plan is now available on the school’s website: CHS Diversity, Equity & Inclusion. Staff collaboratively developed this plan with critical input from student leaders and the Parent Club’s Diversity & Inclusion Committee. The plan has four main pillars, each with specific action steps. An overview of the plan follows:School Culture: Campolindo will establish a positive school culture where all stakeholders treat each other with respect, foster belonging, and actively work against racism and for racial justice.
- What resonated with you?
- What surprised you?
Community Partnerships: Campolindo will partner with parent groups to foster anti-racist education and advocacy.
- Adopt a new mission statement that emphasizes a positive campus climate
- Strengthen student code of conduct
- Strengthen athletic and extracurricular behavioral agreements
- Encourage students to take a pledge to stand against racism
- Implement a restorative justice program
- Provide staff with professional development to better address racism and acts of discrimination
- Train and support student equity leaders
Curriculum: Campolindo will ensure that all students engage in required curricula that fosters an appreciation for a diverse array of cultures and specifically addresses race, racism, and anti-racist strategies.
- Partner with parent Diversity & Inclusion committee on equity work
- Provide quarterly updates on equity initiatives
- Collaborate with MEF and Parents Club to prioritize funding for equity initiatives
Systems, Policies, and Administration: Campolindo will examine current systems, policies, and administrative practices to identify and implement necessary changes that are culturally responsive and anti-racist.
- Implement Academy lessons that address race, celebrate diversity, and foster belonging
- Diversify English curriculum to include more works by authors of color
- Revise Social Studies curriculum to ensure that all required courses infuse diverse narratives and address race and racism
- Implement a new Ethnic Studies course
- Require all departments to develop an annual goal grounded in equity work
Please visit the CHS Diversity, Equity & Inclusion webpage for the full action plan and more information about this work at Campolindo.The challenges of Distance Learning will not serve as a barrier to racial equity work at Campolindo. Meaningful work has already begun and will continue regardless of our school schedule. I look forward to partnering with you this year.Sincerely,John WalkerPrincipalJune 23, 2020Dear Campolindo Community:As part of Campolindo’s essential work to build an antiracist school culture and ensure that our students are prepared to address race and racism, the school is developing new curriculum for the fall semester. One component of this curricular initiative is the new Introduction to Ethnic Studies course. Many have recommended making this course mandatory and state legislative leaders are considering this option for all public high schools. As an immediate step, Campolindo is looking to expand the number of sophomores, juniors, and seniors taking Ethnic Studies next year; therefore, the school is reopening the registration option for this course. Ethnic Studies is a semester-long course designed for students in grades 10-12. Students in grade 9 will address race and racism in their World History course. You may learn more about Ethnic Studies and how to request it via the following link: Introduction to Ethnic Studies.Ethnic Studies will be an excellent course; however, the addition of this elective course is only one small step toward establishing an educational program that infuses cultural diversity throughout all classes and teaches students about racial identity, racial consciousness, racism, and white privilege. All students and staff will benefit from this type of educational program. More details about Campolindo’s curricular initiatives will come this summer.For resources on fighting racism, I recommend the following website developed and curated by Ellide Smith, Chair of the Campolindo Parents Club Diversity and Inclusion Committee: Tools for Being an Accomplice Against Racism. This website has excellent resources for students and adults.Thank you for your continued support of Campolindo, especially during a time when we must all actively stand against racism and support equity and inclusion.Sincerely,John WalkerPrincipalJune 9, 2020Dear Campolindo Community:The need for more racial equity efforts at Campolindo was apparent before the release of last week’s video of students making racist comments. The school’s initial investigation into the video indicates that it was made several years ago, but this does not diminish the pain and anger it has brought to our community, especially to students, staff and families of color. Since Friday, additional videos have surfaced with students using racial slurs. This behavior is unacceptable and will be addressed. Administrative discipline for racist behavior is essential, but it will not be sufficient to create the type of positive school culture our students deserve. True racial equity work at Campolindo requires a critical examination of the biases we hold and the inequities we tolerate. I am committed to doing this work and I hope that you will partner with me.The Campolindo staff has engaged in extensive equity work over the past four years and the need to expand our efforts has never been more apparent. The school’s website now includes the recent equity work done at Campolindo and more importantly, it highlights additional steps we must take: Equity Work at Campolindo: An Overview of Current Initiatives and a Commitment to Do More.The comments I am receiving via email are extraordinarily valuable and if you recently sent me an email, I thank you. I apologize if my reply to your correspondence is not as timely as this situation warrants. Many have written expressing strong opinions about school consequences for the students in the videos. As a public school administrator, I must adhere to the California Education Code when issuing disciplinary consequences and I am working closely with my AUHSD supervisors to ensure that the students who engaged in racist behavior receive appropriate school consequences. I am also working to ensure that the recent acts of racism serve as a catalyst to help us move forward on the road toward racial equity.I left last week's protests in Moraga and Lafayette with a deeper understanding of how racism is causing pain and division within our community. Seeing Campolindo staff and students take a leading role at the protests also reminded me that we have a strong school community -- a community that is coming together for the cause of racial justice.Our work for racial equity must deepen and I thank you for being engaged. Please look for additional communications from my office and review the recent updates to the school’s webpage: Equity Work at Campolindo: An Overview of Current Initiatives and a Commitment to Do More. I look forward to partnering with you.Sincerely,John WalkerPrincipal
- Revise data systems to collect and report data about racist incidents
- Develop and implement survey tool to measure student belonging
- Continue work of CHS EquiTeam to help plan, implement, oversee, and measure the effectiveness of equity efforts
- Partner with AUHSD leadership to diversify staff
June 5, 2020Dear Campolindo Community:Earlier today, I learned about a social media post that includes several Campolindo High School students using the N-word in a string of racist comments targeting African Americans. The language and comments in the video are sickening. As the Principal of Campolindo, I am both angry and disappointed that any students in my school would use this type of language. I do not know the details regarding when or where the students made the video; however, the language in the video is reprehensible and will not be tolerated. This type of behavior creates a hostile environment for Campolindo students and staff, especially students and staff of color.This is not the first time Campolindo students have used racist language to target people of color. I need to do more to address this type of racist behavior at Campolindo, as well as address the systemic racism that exists in the school and broader community. In the midst of a national movement to address racism and racially-motivated violence, this social media post highlights the work that still needs to be done. I am committed to this work and will need to partner with you to ensure that Campolindo and our community are equitable, inclusive, and safe for all.Sincerely,John Walker