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Conversation on Rebranding Serra High School

Dear Community--

WOW, what a week! I wanted to write to you as I promised I would (I know two days late) and update you on what happened last week and what is happening this week.

 Last week the students started a petition (I did not know that at the time and thank Emma Talia for letting me know) and I had been in discussions with the district who told me to put out a petition as well. As soon as I learned there were more I made sure we use both. However, if you haven't signed one and want to sign then sign this one which is the student one. It is here:

https://www.change.org/p/san-diego-unified-school-district-change-colonialist-serra-high-mascot-a49d12d0-7d30-4304-a629-e0e0dad61d49

 

The petition got some attention and KUSI and Channel 10 picked up the story and then Yahoo News mentioned us. That is amazing and scary all at the same time. Then I created a presentation and presented it to a parent group of about 60 people who registered in advance for it on Friday in the AM. I had the creators of the petitions, Charlotte and Emma Talia join me for that presentation so they could see it and later use it.

Later on Friday, I used it again to talk to the staff. The discussion was important and fruitful and not everyone is in agreement and THAT'S OK!!! The most important part through this is that you and the students educate yourself before casting a vote so you know what you are voting for. Maybe there won’t be a new mascot or name or colors (well maybe colors since it got a huge response for a change....but we still have a few weeks to go before final voting).

This blog is to let you know how you can get educated and what forums are available to discuss the issues. Please read as there is information for STUDENTS first and then ADULTS.

STUDENTS: from the Talia's

Dear fellow students and community,

The last several weeks have served as a wake-up call to our country; unprecedented numbers of Americans have experienced an uncomfortable revelation that addresses the shadow of institutional racism and bias that has pervaded American society from its very beginning to now. As for our community, this new mindfulness has taken shape in a call to evaluate the ethics of our school’s name and mascot.

By investigating and acknowledging the history and implications of the conquistadors and Spanish Missions, our school can continue to uphold the morals and values that we teach to our students.

Please join us this week for two forums dedicated to learning about the issues and then discussing them.

Zoom Meeting 1: Tuesday, June 30th, 10 am. Ninth and tenth graders.

· Link: https://sandiegounified.zoom.us/j/91109058870

· Meeting ID: 911 0905 8870

· Password: 533081

Zoom Meeting 2: Wednesday, July 1st, 10 am. Eleventh and twelfth graders.

· Link: https://sandiegounified.zoom.us/j/97696877688

· Meeting ID: 976 9687 7688

· Password: 726830

In addition, please look over this material to further educate yourselves.

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1nK-vnsBUGcd8av_v1-eZbM-u4KE8eho60wvOatJKBq8/edit?usp=sharing

 

ADULTS:

You as well have TWO forums this week. Please do NOT attend is you already did. Please tell your friends to come!

When: TUESDAY, Jun 30, 2020, 12:00 PM Pacific Time (US and Canada)

Register in advance for this meeting:

https://sandiegounified.zoom.us/meeting/register/tJUodeqrrD4rHNH578rbEZMe6EWzXRuCCnzM

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

When: THURSDAY, Jul 2, 2020, 05:00 PM Pacific Time (US and Canada)

Register in advance for this meeting:

https://sandiegounified.zoom.us/meeting/register/tJAofu6vqzovHte6dWgcTGY1bbN7jCxkUqkB

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

In addition, please look over this material to further educate yourselves.

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1nK-vnsBUGcd8av_v1-eZbM-u4KE8eho60wvOatJKBq8/edit?usp=sharing

This week is not the only week we will be doing this.

We will have an official ballot when we feel most people have heard the information.

"How long is this going to take and don't you have a school to open????"

Yes, I do have a school to open but I have been given zero in regards to how to do that exactly. When I get those details you will as well and then I'm going to be very busy doing it. We hope for morale sake to have an official vote in the next few weeks so we can return to school feeling positive and fresh no matter how the vote turns out.

"Am I going to return to the school and see a new name on it and all new uniforms etc, are you going to take down the banners in the gym and have you spoken to alumni?"

No, you will not see a new name on the building whether we vote to change it or not. The turnaround isn't that fast and I do have a school to open. Uniforms etc cost money and I will be supplementing funding to do a staggered replacement should the vote be for change. I would NEVER take down the banners in the gym (my VP Liz Ward would throw a fit as she's on there several times) and lastly, I am in contact with Jeff Thomas who is the alumni president.

"The kids are just getting what they want and you are letting them!"

Nothing has even happened yet. It has to be an official ballot and maybe even then, not everything will change. I support students and their rights to ask for change whether they end up getting what they want in the end or not, but they have to WORK for it. They have to hold meetings, present, keep the peace, and be articulate and patient through the entire process. They aren't just a "sign and demand" (yes that’s the term I have been getting) and if they are willing to do the work then I support that. They are two very articulate passionate women and if you don't agree then you get your vote as well; but please educate yourself first!

That’s just a few questions above and I will highlight more next week!

Thank you amazing community!

Dr. Erica Renfree