Building exterior

Letter to Jones Family

Dear Jones Family,

We are living in challenging times.  A pandemic has altered our usual ways of life. Quarantine has made us rethink how we interact with each other. In the midst of this pandemic there has been a national movement for change. The murders of George Floyd, Ahmad Aubrey, Breonna Taylor, and others have sparked an ongoing conversation about systemic racism and the injustice in our justice system. People all over the country are using every platform at their disposal to speak their truths and share their stories. Our students are a part of this movement for change. They are using their voices….and we are listening.

As principal, with my administrative team, we have been listening to community members, alumni, staff members and, most importantly, we have been listening to our students. We have heard many stories about racist remarks and microaggressions, and that these things have hurt and are continuing to hurt our students of color, particularly our Black students. I am grateful for the extraordinarily frank comments I have heard in recent days. It cannot be easy to share deeply buried feelings and painful experiences one might wish to forget. I appreciate how difficult this is, and I understand that such sharing is rooted in love for our school, in expectation that we can improve, and in trust that we will seize this moment. I acknowledge that racism exists at Jones, and that the administrative team must do a better job to create a more welcoming and inclusive climate for our students of color.

We are taking steps to do just that. Currently, we are meeting with faculty representatives to determine the best trainings for staff on creating an anti-racist school community. We are leveraging support from our district Office of Equity. Once appropriate resources are determined, we will develop a plan for a year long mandatory training for all staff in the building. We will work with each department to review current curriculum maps to see how we can integrate more culturally responsive materials within each content area.  We have also been in contact with various student organizations to brainstorm ideas to improve our school culture.  We are reviewing how we can make our discipline policies more transparent so that everyone knows what steps are taken each time issues involving racist remarks or acts of racism are reported. Our anti-racism work will become ingrained in everything we do. I will ensure that this is not a passing issue at Jones, but that we will establish long-lasting change.

Jones students, we hear you loud and clear! Black lives matter! YOU matter! We want you to know that we believe that ALL of our students at Jones are worthy. It is our responsibility to make sure that every student feels that way. I want you to understand that, even as we are listening, we are doing. It is not only possible; it will be.  With the support and encouragement of our school family, we will become better than we have been, better than we are.  This we promise you.

Dr. P. Joseph Powers, Principal
Dr. Therese Plunkett, Assistant Principal
Dr. Eric Fay, Assistant Principal
Mr. Eric Mitchell, Assistant Principal