Below is the holiday letter I sent out to subscribers, but I thought worth sharing and updating here. We are at a tenuous time as a city in regard to the opportunities available for our kids. The time is now to take action.
To Lean Lab enthusiasts and supporters,
I hope you all are enjoying relaxing holidays, and cannot wait to hear what the Holiday season has brought to each of you. I had the opportunity to enjoy some time with Timmy's (my boyfriend) adorable nieces in Topeka, and binge on a 7-course meal prepared by my sister-in-law back in Kansas City. Lucky indeed. I've also done a lot of thinking. Not so much acting, but a lot of just sitting and thinking--about this last year, about politics, about my own leadership, relationships, innovation, the current state of education, conversations had, the Lean Lab--all of it. Here's where I currently stand--I believe that Kansas City is at a "tipping point." This January will reveal an extraordinary moment in time for kids in Kansas City. With KCPS's lost accreditation, and law suits beginning between the district and the state commissioner, with the beginning of bussing kids from KCPS to accredited districts, and with the Kauffman Foundation & Hall Family Foundation's funded CEE-trust report, with Teach for America’s new Executive Director, Will Krebs, and Sly James’ appointment of Education Advisor Julie Holland, we are about to experience a unique moment of true flux. This is a moment of great uncertainty for the fate of KCMO kids, yet it is also a time of great opportunity, and with this fascinating moment comes a choice. We can choose to be partially aware, participating from the sidelines and facilitating surface level adult-driven conversations. Or, we can choose to act with whatever capacity, leadership and capabilities we have to seize this moment and create a true tipping point for kids--to take this opportunity and change the conversation to not one of blame and finger pointing, but one of mutual responsibility and direct action that benefits kids in classrooms now. We may not have created this problem, but we live in it. Now, let's change it.
With this time of reflection, I understand how easy it could be for me to “take action” via writing a sappy email, or posting on social media. But the truth is, I need help. The challenges we face in educating all of our kids in Kansas City are much larger than any I can solve by myself or with a small group of people. If reflection over the past month has taught me anything, it has taught me that power only exists in numbers of people and hours of real, hard work done by brilliant, capable people. Again, I need help. I know that as a community of capable individuals, and as a city, we have the talent to solve the problem of educational inequity in our city. I’ve had more revitalizing conversations with action-oriented people over the last few months than I have had in my entire life. However, I need help engaging all corners of our city. I need help mobilizing real action. And I’m asking for this help from all of you. In what ways can we create long lasting, sustainable, innovative change so that all kids can learn in Kansas City? Please let me know your ideas, thoughts, suggestions.
In an effort to find such help, below you’ll find the next steps I have thought up. As always, please do not hesitate to reach out, suggest revisions, suggestions, etc.
Thank you for your thoughts, engagement and support.