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June 1, 2020   Announcement

A Message of Support


Dear Families,

The past few days have been filled with an unreal amount of sadness and uncertainty in an already unbelievable time for us all. The ongoing violence in Philadelphia is hard to watch and, for many of you living so close to the events, hard to live through. We are constantly challenged in ways we don’t always understand, and this experience is no different.

St. Peter’s has always worked to educate our students to better understand what is happening in the world and how it impacts our community. Appropriately doing this for our ECD as well as our Upper School students and their families can be difficult, but it is something we want to continue to strive toward. For several years, our students have been participating in affinity groups as a way to help them find their voices. These gatherings bring together students of color and ally groups to talk about experiences they are having in and out of the School. We have been fortunate to have the groups led by faculty members and the discussion is positive and engaging, leaving the participants with an appreciation of the differences and the common experiences we all share. We will have an Upper School students of color group and an ally group this week. Next week, both groups, and any other participants, will come together to discuss these recent events here in Philadelphia and around the United States together.

Our nation talks about the struggle and about how we seek equity, and yet it is times like these when we see how freedom and security are not felt equally by all. We must decide what to do about it and as a community we will continue to provide a Mission driven approach to understanding differences, being inclusive, and learning ways to be a better community. Starting next fall, we will implement a Racial Literacy Curriculum for our students. We will continue to address issues our students and community must confront, and to support our students, our teachers, and our families who have questions, are grappling with the challenges, and who need a place to talk through their feelings.

In the midst of this pandemic and the separation that we have faced for the last eleven weeks, SPS continues to strive to be its best self. We must not let this tragedy and the lost lives desensitize us to the reality that we are responsible to educate students to be generous and committed citizens of their communities and the world. If we do not work toward that goal, our Mission, we have lost what is essential about being St. Peter’s.

We know these recent events impact us all, and we are feeling a range of emotions. We have always supported one another and we need to continue to do that now. With the events locally and across our nation, amid the uncertainty that has become normal due to the pandemic, please know we continue to be here for one another, our students, and faculty. Included below are a few resources of support that we shared with our teachers yesterday.

Talking to Children After Racial Incidents – Penn Graduate School of Education interview with Howard Stevenson, PhD

George Floyd. Ahmaud Arbery. Breonna Taylor. What do we tell our children? – USA Today interview with Beverly Daniel Tatum, PhD and Erlanger Turner, PhD

Helping Children Cope with Frightening News – Child Mind Institute, Harold S. Koplewicz, MD

In the coming days, the School will send out an update about the ongoing plans for reopening in September. We know this is an important topic and there has been a great deal of uncertainty about where our society will be when it comes time to reopen the building. We appreciate your patience, will provide an update, and will continue to update you through the summer with more specific details once they are determined.

On behalf of the entire School, thank you for all you do to support St. Peter’s. Stay safe, and please reach out to any of us for additional support as we navigate these challenging times.

 

Kind Regards,

Matt Evans, Head of School

Kate Seltzer, Assistant Head of School & ECD Director

Kate Childs, School Counselor and Community Life Coordinator

Will Nord, Lower and Upper School Director

Debbie Fluehr, Business Manager

Sandy Trezza, Director of Admission

Clare Dych, Director of Development

Liz Isanuk, Director of Marketing and Communication

Diane Scirrotto, Executive Administrative Assistant