Dear LMSD Families:
As we prepare to move forward with an initial virtual start of the LMSD 2020-2021 school year, we recognize that it is not the ideal scenario. However, as the health and safety of our students and staff is our top priority, we believe it that is the most appropriate approach. The Lower Merion Board of School Directors is equally concerned about our students' mental and emotional well-being. Therefore, in addition to making the necessary preparations to bring students back into the buildings safely, which is our ultimate goal, we are also committed to working with the LMSD Administration, staff, students and community to reinforce an anti-racist and equity agenda for the District.
The School Board established the Ad-Hoc Committee on Equity and Anti-Racism in recognition that the global reckoning on Anti-Black Racism resulting from the outcry against police brutality and white supremacy around the globe was also relevant to our District and broader community. The Ad-Hoc Committee is being established to augment LMSD's existing standing committee structure. The members of the Ad-Hoc Committee will include:
- Shawn Mooring, Chair Ad-Hoc Committee, Co-Chair Curriculum Committee
- Dr. Melissa Gilbert, President of LMSB
- Lucy Klain, Vice President of LMSB, Co-Chair Policy Committee
- Peter Lee, Co-Chair Facilities Committee
- Shayna Kaylish, Co-Chair Communications Committee
Superintendent Copeland will serve as the Administration liaison to the Ad-Hoc Committee. The focus of the Ad-Hoc Committee is to affirm and improve upon LMSD's ongoing efforts to implement an equity and anti-racist agenda throughout our schools.
To accomplish this the committee will:
- Serve as a sounding board to actively engage in two-way listening with our students, parents/guardians, teachers and community members. Through facilitated topical discussions (i.e.: Student Empowerment, Parent/Guardian Engagement, Curriculum, & Policy), the Ad-Hoc Committee will seek to understand and develop actionable solutions to root-cause issues impacting our school climate.
- Serve as a coordinating body working alongside LMSD's existing and ongoing equity efforts (including but not limited to: CARE, Achievement Imperative Task Force, Becton Scholars, POWER, REACH, etc.) to ensure that these efforts are working succinctly to move forward the District's overarching anti-racism and equity agenda.
The first Ad-Hoc Committee meeting will be held virtually on Thursday, August 13, 2020, at 7:00 p.m. via Zoom. Zoom information will be shared on the District website prior to the start of the meeting. During this meeting, we will hear a brief presentation from Dr. Heather Bennett, Director of Equity Services at the Pennsylvania School Board Association (PSBA) on PSBA's recommendation to districts on the formation of an Equity Policy. We will then be led by Dr. Tara Doaty, CEO of Sage Wellness Group and Equity Consultant to LMSD, on a facilitated review and discussion of the themes that have emerged over the course of the summer stemming from the student-organized Town Hall meeting. Through the use of virtual break-out sessions we will seek to identify clear and tangible take-away items/action steps that will inform the work of the Ad-Hoc Committee.
We look forward to your participation and on-going support as maintain our commitment to establishing an anti-racist and equity agenda for our students, teachers, and community.
Mr. Shawn Mooring
Lower Merion Board of School Directors
Ad-Hoc Committee on Equity and Anti-Racism, Chair
Curriculum Committee, Co-Chair