WORTHINGTON — Looking at the recent events that have transpired in the world, in our county and in our state drives home how difficult it has been to not have the opportunity to meet face-to-face with our students since March. It is the role of educators and all Independent School District 518 staff to assist students as they learn and attempt to make sense of the world around them. In the past few months, this has been a difficult task, even for adults and leaders everywhere. We will continue to do all that we can to serve and support our students.

The difficult 2019-2020 school year was coming to an end at the same time George Floyd was killed on May 25 in Minneapolis. This event and the ensuing reactions across the state and country have served to help us better understand the role of Independent School District 518.

Our district has the incredible opportunity to be home to students and families of a wide range of diverse backgrounds. This diversity is not only celebrated by Independent School District 518, but is at the forefront of curriculum and support program decisions. There is still, however, a lot of work to do in the education system to achieve a fully equitable education for all students.

Independent School District 518 will continue to improve on its cultural competency and equity programs for students and staff. Education will play a key role in helping solve inequities, creating understanding and empathy within communities.

Racial bias, discrimination, harassment, intimidation and racism have no place in our district. Administration will carry on reviewing district policies and practices to be sure Independent School District 518 can be part of a solution and a leader in change. District 518 will also continue to stand by students from our district and all community members who choose to peacefully express their beliefs.

Thank you for trusting Independent School District 518 with educating your children. The bonds created between students, teachers, paras and all staff are powerful tools in helping create empathetic and well-rounded community members. It is an honor to work with students from our district and help them become players in enacting positive change.

Parker Sandhurst is District 518's communications coordinator.