Salvatore M. Constantino, Ed.D.
Dear MTSD Family,
This is a difficult time for our country. Again, we are witness to the pain of the black community and people of color. Our deepest condolences go out to the family of Mr. George Floyd and to those others who have lost loved ones to senseless violence. Together, we must acknowledge and recognize that racism is deeply ingrained in our society and we must all actively work to end it. We must speak out against racism. Silence only contributes to the problem. Our mission is “every student, every day”. It is a call to action whereby we ensure that each student is challenged, supported, and cared for. Today we are standing up and declaring as part of who we are and what we believe: black lives matter.
Now is the time for us to intensify our commitment to address inequities and work to dismantle systemic racism. We must all become allies in the fight against racism and oppression. We must support our black and minority students, staff, alumni, families, and neighbors. Each one of you is valued. We will strive to build a more inclusive community where all minority students feel represented. This can be done by working to effectively implement a curriculum that is diverse and culturally sensitive. Leading a system-wide effort requires that we ensure that cultural responsiveness permeates all levels of the district, from teaching and learning, to lunch and recess, to all levels of professional development and community engagement.
But those are just words, they mean little without action. The MTSD is committed to acting. We have begun consulting with colleagues, Board members, students, parents, and alumni to help us grow as a school that truly welcomes and embraces diversity. We clearly can do more.
What we are doing now is developing a comprehensive strategy involving three clear actions:
1. Stringent enforcement of our zero-tolerance policy for all employees and students – holding each person accountable for their words and actions.
2. Providing enhanced and focused training for faculty and staff – including a comprehensive review and update of curriculum and materials for diversity, equity, and inclusivity.
3. Focusing on student behaviors – ensuring equity in all aspects of student life.
This is clearly not the full plan, but a statement about where we are and our intent. We will have a non-stop commitment to ensure that students leave our school district fully prepared to succeed in a society that is ever more racially, ethnically, and socioeconomically diverse. We will be proactive about making this a teachable moment by addressing issues of racism and inequity head-on. It starts with ensuring children and teenagers knowing their schools are safe places to learn and grow. It means providing age-appropriate information that allows them to process and form an understanding of upsetting current events. We will continue to make sure that Social and Emotional Learning is at the heart of what we do across our entire program, providing essential support, and guidance for all students. By actively working for positive change we will be able to better live up to our mission of being there for every student, every day.
Sal Constantino, Superintendent of Schools
and the Members of the Mendham Township Board of Education