November 3, 2020
Dear Tapestry Families and Staff,
Despite the massive weight of seemingly every aspect of life that has been somehow altered and thrown out of balance our world this year, I am consistently buoyed by the strength and determination of this school community, our crew, to fight through those barriers, to press on and carry each other through these tough times with grace and genuine love and care. In the last eight weeks, I have seen families come to the aid of other families. I have seen the extraordinary resiliency of our students, the talent and grit of our leadership, the stamina and perseverance of our teachers, the unending care and compassion of our counselors and the camaraderie of our teams.
While there exists so much in our community to celebrate, and certainly a considerable amount to boast about— teaching and learning and maintaining the culture of our community for more than one thousand students across our city against tough odds—many of you know that we still have a lot of work to do. As we continue this important work, it is critical for us to keep our lines of communication open. It is so important for us to hear from you when you need support or have questions (or to share with us things that are going well). Let’s continue to rely on each other and be the shining example of what a school community should be. We are crew.
Our Commitment to Equity:
Tapestry Charter School is committed to becoming an anti-racist organization and a more equitable school. More than ever before we have felt compelled to be more critical and reflective of ourselves and see that there are more intentional actions we can take to drive sustainable change over time. These actions begin with our Compass Leadership Team, our board of trustees, our school-based leadership teams, faculty, staff, our student body, and families. Together, we will provide spaces to better understand and address racism, anti-racism and equity in ways that lead to cultural and systemic changes.
While equity and social justice have always been foundation threads woven throughout Tapestry, we have recently taken more explicit actions to advance our ideas and focus our actions. This summer, our board of trustees discussed racial equity as the main topic of their August retreat and in September, passed a resolution cementing our school’s commitment to equity. That resolution redirected the role of a current Tapestry staff member to facilitate our organization’s new intentional focus on equity. Our Compass Leadership Team has participated in racial equity training as a group, facilitated by our partners at Say Yes Buffalo. With a grant funded by The Cullen Foundation, Tapestry started an engagement with SchoolWorks, a nationally renown educational consultant to perform a school quality review, needs assessment and focused improvement planning, with a special focus on diversity, equity and inclusion that will kickoff this month. Our strategic vision and subsequent strategic work plans will feature goals and action items dedicated to equity in the following categories: staff recruitment and retention; family engagement, student experiences and staff professional learning.
Our next steps in this work involve a great deal of data gathering, both internally and externally. Teachers, students and families alike will be hearing from the school in different ways over the next few months. There will be opportunities for feedback and voice in staff, family and student surveys, voluntary focus groups and other ways we’ll be collecting and sharing data about our progress. We look forward to your contributions—we’re all in this together.
The progress of this work will be monitored by our board’s Equity Committee and we look forward to sharing our findings and future actions across the school community.
Public Information Sessions for Prospective Students and Families:
We would love your help to share what you love about Tapestry to other prospective families. We have a number of Virtual Pubic Information Sessions scheduled for each of our three schools with details on our website at tapestryschool.org/enrollment. Please help us spread the word and help recruit new students and families!
1:1 Device Technology Update:
We have recently received some encouraging news from our technology suppliers and we will have some of our long-awaited new devices delivered to Tapestry as soon as next week, and are currently working on prioritizing distribution of those devices to the students and families in most critical need. Thank you to all of those students and families that have been waiting patiently for this new technology. Stay tuned.
As we are moving into some colder seasonal weather and into our second semester of school, please continue to be diligent about mask wearing, physical distancing, and respiratory and hand hygiene. We have recently learned that many confirmed cases of COVID-19 in WNY schools could have been avoided. If your child is experiencing any COVID-19 symptoms, has traveled internationally or from out-of-state in the last 14 days, please do not send your child to school.
As always, if you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact me directly.
We are crew.