Letter from Principal Suzie – October 7, 2021

Dear Underwood Families,

It is hard to believe we are already in week #5 of the 2021-22 school year. Words cannot describe just how exciting it is to have students back in the building, all five days a week, with school feeling just a bit closer to “normal” than last year. Visiting classrooms everyday, I am able to see first hand the joy students are finding in learning. We value the social emotional development of students and recognize the importance of having each child feel valued and a sense of belonging to the school community. Teachers are doing an outstanding job promoting our CARES values as they build relationships with their new students.

You are also doing an AMAZING job! Your trust and support of our staff means more than you know. In addition, thank you for doing your part in promoting good health and safety. Underwood families are adhering to the NPS Health Pillars and participating at a high rate (over 75%) in the NPS 3-tiered Covid testing program. If you have not yet signed up your child, you are encouraged to do so by clicking on this link and following these instructions.

As you have likely heard, September 15-October 15 commemorates Hispanic Heritage Month (HHM), which honors the culture and contributions of people who identify as Hispanic and Latinx. Although terminology around racial and ethnic identity can be imperfect, here are some definitions that may be helpful: 

  • Hispanic refers to a person who is from, or a descendant of someone who is from, a Spanish-speaking country.

  • Latino/a or Latinx refers to a person who is from, or a descendant of someone who is from, a country in Latin America.

As we continue to incorporate culturally inclusive materials into our practice at Underwood, our teachers have perused and utilized many of the HHM resources curated by our NPS Office of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion. If you are thinking about what you might do at home with your child/ren or are interested in learning more, feel free to check out some of the books, movies, and podcasts that can be found here. In addition, you might also check out some picture books as a way to celebrate this special time.

Our faculty and staff have a deep commitment to educational equity and anti-racism. In September, we reviewed the NPS Statement of Values and Commitment to Equity and will revisit them throughout the school year. During upcoming Underwood faculty meetings and professional development, we will explore different models of racial identity development and examine how our own racial identities shape the work we do in our school settings. This will supplement the work we have been doing to support students and in our work on culturally responsive practices for all of our students.

I look forward to partnering with you on this journey as we continuously strengthen our capacity to meet the needs of all learners. Thank you for all that you do to establish a warm and welcoming community!