Dear County and District Superintendents, Charter School Administrators, and Education Partners:
Today’s Verdict and Supporting School Communities
Today, the jury pronounced Derek Chauvin guilty on all charges in the death of George Floyd.
Each one of us must grapple with what this means for racial justice in our country and for future generations. Students and adults alike—mothers, fathers, daughters, sons, friends, and neighbors—will all have different emotions and ways of processing this news.
Like others, I have been pained and felt the anguish and helplessness of wondering how this tragedy will shape our lives and our future. I’m hopeful the verdict provides clarity and accountability—and that the reenergized fight for justice does not end today.
However, it’s also important that our schools create time and space for reflection, to process the trauma experienced throughout this episode in our history, and to find positive ways forward to create real and permanent change.
Public education in California can and will continue to play a key role in moving this conversation forward, to better explore the connection between issues of educational equity and implicit bias in the classroom and the systemic racism that persists throughout society.
Together, we have the ability to define and design a brighter, more just, and more inclusive society through inquiry, understanding, compassion, and civic engagement, with our youth at the very center. A first step began with our Education to End Hate Initiative that is designed to empower educators and students to confront the hate, bigotry, and racism rising in communities across the state and nation. Through educator training grants, partnerships with community leaders, and virtual classroom sessions, the California Department of Education (CDE) is leveraging the power of education to provide the pathway to healing, understanding, and racial and social justice.
To support our students, families, and staff, the CDE is providing resources listed below to engage in healing conversations and positive change. I thank you for your steadfast leadership in times of crisis and uncertainty. Your continued work on behalf of all students and families is making a difference today and for our future.
State Superintendent of Public Instruction
CalHOPE Line—CalHOPE Connect offers safe, secure, and culturally sensitive emotional support for all Californians who may need support.
WellnessTogether.org—Tools to support students in challenging times. https://www.wellnesstogether.org/blogs/news/supporting-you-supporting-students
Learning for Justice (Formerly Teaching Tolerance)—Free resources to educators to supplement the curriculum, to inform their practices, and to create inclusive school communities where children and youth are respected, valued and welcome participants. https://www.learningforjustice.org/Supporting Resilience in Schools—Provides information and resources for educators, parents, and communities working with those who have experienced trauma. https://www.cde.ca.gov/ls/cg/mh/resilientschools.asp