As educators, we have the honor and the responsibility to ensure that the education all our students receive is responsive and respectful to their academic, social, physical, and emotional well-being.
We work very hard at the school and at the school system level every day to be worthy of the sacred honor of serving our students and our community. In the past few months, we have faced extraordinary challenges like never before with a new and evolving global pandemic that has been devastating to our local communities and our schools.
This turmoil has been followed by a period of devastating social unrest highlighted by very public reminders that racism still exists in our country. Just as the spring of 2020 will be remembered for the challenging times it has brought for our nation, its impact for all in education has been profound.
We have been disturbed and heartbroken over the shameful loss of life across our country and we grieve for this loss and for the families they represent.
I find myself heartbroken and at a loss for words when I hear the anguish and fear from our students and families. I cannot begin to fathom the enormity of the impact these tragic incidents have had on the black members of our community who are fearful, hurting, and disturbed at the injustices that continue to play out in our society.
We hold a sacred trust to educate all students who become part of our Newnan community. I believe it is our responsibility and calling to respond compassionately and effectively to the challenges our community, state, and nation face. We must continue to live out our beliefs as part of the school system to be responsible for the safety and success of each student.
We are committed to student success and we must continue to strive to foster successful students who are empowered for school and life. I hope that our core beliefs, our respect for each other, and our personal and professional relationships will continue to bind us together. Our many faiths, cultures, viewpoints, and histories can combine together to make us a stronger community.
We will continue our work towards providing an equitable education for all students, including working to increase graduation rates among all students, tackling disproportionality in discipline, increasing the diversity of our faculty and staff, and implementing multi-tiered support systems to support the needs of all students.
We are continuing to collaborate with students, staff, and stakeholders to build more safety nets to support our diverse student population. The enormous economic and societal impacts of the pandemic and civil unrest will continue to reverberate among our community, and we must all commit to facing these challenges together.
We must also be mindful that our words in person and online have power and our actions should uphold the respect we have for each other and the relationships we have built together.
It takes all of us working together to create one team, one community. Schools alone cannot eradicate society’s problems. In partnering with what must be done in the home and by the faith community, we can continue to work to ensure that our schools are welcoming places of hope, of understanding, and of acceptance.
Working together, we can do a lot to counter the hate, disrespect, fear, and ignorance that far too often can take root and become a fertile field for divisiveness and violence.
Our commitment is to all of our students and all of our community. I hope that you will continue to partner with us. The importance of building and maintaining positive relationships with all of our students and stakeholders has never been more profoundly felt.
I look forward to continuing to work towards being one team, one community, one Newnan.
Dr. Chase Puckett