Happy Holidays!

As we head into a much-deserved winter break, I hope everyone will be able to take full advantage of the last few weeks of the year to reflect and recharge.

I know the past few months have been difficult for so many PAT members, whether it’s the escalating safety problems rippling across so many of our buildings, or fact that we’re heading into our third year of negotiations with the District.

But I continue to be inspired by the work you do every day, despite these challenges. And this week demonstrated, once again, just how powerful we are when we stand together—educators, parents, students, and community members.

 

On Tuesday, for example, we held Teacher For a Day. For a few hours elected officials and community leaders had a window into the joys—and the challenges—of being an educator. It was an eye-opening experience for many of the participants, and left them all with a newfound appreciation for the work we do day-in, day-out. I was also encouraged to see the light bulbs going off for several of our elected leaders. As we were debriefing, a growing number started to recognize that whenever educators are left out of decision-making, there are bound to be problems.

The same theme appeared over and over again Wednesday night. Teachers from around the District braved the cold to join staff and parents from the Pioneer program, rallying along Division St. during rush hour. After lots of supportive honks (and a lot of icy fingers and toes) hundreds of people filled the cafeteria, sharing powerful stories of the impact Pioneer has on the students and families in their school community.

One after the other, family members praised the dedication and professionalism of the Pioneer staff, and they urged the Superintendent—and the School Board members present—not to break up the program. It was a moving display of solidarity—to see so many people show up, ready to defend our most vulnerable students.

Everyone knew what to do in this time of crisis.

I know, given everything happening in our buildings, and in the broader world, it’s easy to feel isolated and alone. But I keep thinking about what one of the parents said that night in the Pioneer cafeteria. For her son, the teachers and support staff in his classes are what he can count on. We are the constant in his life.

This is the essence of why we do this work. And its what gives me confidence, that together, we can get this District back on track.

Have a safe and happy winter break.

In Solidarity,

Suzanne Cohen