Greetings BSD Community,
“Each year, on the third Monday in January, the MLK Day of Service is observed as a ‘day on, not a day off.’ MLK Day of Service is intended to empower individuals, strengthen communities, bridge barriers, create solutions to social problems, and move us closer to Dr. King’s vision of a ‘Beloved Community.’ ” -The Corporation for National and Community Service
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was a profound figure in American and world history; BSD believes this day should be reflected as so.
In my time here schools have been closed on Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Initially, I was pleased that this day was recognized in BSD and in the community. However, over the past three years, I have made a conscious effort to ask students how they recognized the day. While some of our students engage in celebrations or service in the community, my experience has been one in which I have mostly been met with answers like: “I stayed home and played video games.” or “Why did we have the day off?”.
Last year when developing the new school calendars, the senior leadership team and I had many conversations about the impact, from an educational standpoint, of MLK Day. I expressed to our team that I feel we are not doing enough in BSD to recognize this day, the individual, or the meaning of service as expressed by Dr. King, and was met with great support.
Together, we decided that for the first time in many years we will have a half-day of school on MLK Day to ensure every student is exposed to content relating to the significance of the person and the day.
Our vision for this day is that students are first brought together to intentionally focus on the importance of Dr. King, racial equality, service, and love; and ideally, students are leading some of these conversations and driving the curriculum where appropriate. (Talk to your local school administrator to learn more.)
After spending this time together, we want to encourage our students and staff to go into the community and implement the day’s teachings. We hope our community will consider serving, learning more, or celebrating with others throughout the community at events like the CEDO-led Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day Celebration at ECHO (featuring BSD students again this year).
In addition to this celebration at ECHO, there are numerous volunteer efforts in our community, including those listed in the resources below. I encourage our teachers and staff to share these resources (and any others you know of) with students, friends, and neighbors. And for those who are able to do so, I hope these resources or this conversation allows you to find a way to plug in.
Recognizing the day in this fashion reflects the BSD Vision: “Cultivating caring, creative and courageous people. Join the journey!”
Thank you for listening and for being engaged.
– Superintendent Obeng
“The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. Intelligence plus character – that is the goal of true education.” – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
United Way (Volunteer opportunities)
Corporation for National and Community Service (Volunteer opportunities)
GBMRC 2019 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Remembrance (Community event)