Dear GPPSS Community,
The Grosse Pointe Public School System (GPPSS) is committed to ensuring all students feel safe and welcome in our schools. Our staff is deeply committed to providing a safe and secure environment for all of the students who live in our community. As stated in our diversity plan we will “demonstrate the courage and awareness to create an instructional environment that nurtures and develops meaningful relationships between staff and all students, including children of all races, marginalized groups and socioeconomic status.” GPPSS values the depth that our diverse backgrounds, orientations and beliefs bring to the respectful dialogue in GPPSS. We want to have difficult conversations in safe places.
The GPPSS Board of Education adopted a District Strategic Plan in December, 2015 in support of our belief and our community’s expectation of excellence in our public schools. Forty-three (43) parents, students, staff, administrators and community members worked to come to consensus on a living document with guiding principles that specifically spoke to diversity, equity and inclusion:
Our Vision: One GP – where everyone learns, every day
Our Mission: Promote innovation ® Maximize potential ® Embrace community
Together, we will promote innovation, maximize the potential, and embrace community. Embracing community is to ensure every student has the academic, problem solving, and social emotional skills to be successful today and in their future.
Two of the Guiding Principles of the Strategic Plan also directly relate to this concept:
· Celebrating the unique backgrounds of students and staff
· Accepting human differences
· Using multiple instructional approaches to meet the needs of all students
· Thinking globally while acting locally
· Being environmentally conscious
· Being technologically savvy
· Being culturally connected – reaching out to others who are different
· Being cognizant of world events
· Being aware of the world’s people
Over a year ago, we came to the realization that we needed a district plan to better prepare and protect ourselves when social media, national news and local events took center stage. Intense planning with the Office of Civil Rights, University of Michigan Diversity Team and the regional superintendent diversity coordinators helped us develop a vision. With input from those group as well as our staff and community, GPPSS has been developing a diversity plan that includes administrative and staff professional development, student participation, and parent and community needs assessments.
The District Diversity plan was shared at a local diversity meeting at Defer Elementary School Wednesday night and will be presented at the televised board meeting Monday, February 13. We invite you to join us at 7 p.m. in the Brownell Multi-purpose Room at 260 Chalfonte in Grosse Pointe Farms, or watch it on Channel 20 or our Livestream account.
There will also be a League of Women Voters public forum entitled Raising Global Leaders from 7:00 - 8:30 p.m., Wednesday, March 8, in the Pierce Auditorium, 15430 Kercheval, Grosse Pointe Park. The format will be as follows:
· Director of Elementary Education and Director of Secondary Education present the district Diversity Plan
· Panel of experts answer questions by the LWV moderator
o Dr. Agustin Arbulu – Michigan Department of Civil Rights
o Greg Bowen – local parent/NAACP,
o Anthony Lewis – Michigan Department of Civil Rights
o Mark McInerney – Clark-Hill attorney (for board policy/discipline questions)
o Ginni Winters – Wayne County RESA Diversity Coordinator
· Q and A from the audience using the League format
The district welcomes your feedback and appreciates your help in ensuring all of our students and families feel welcome, valued and respected in our GPPSS school community.
Gary C. Niehaus