Good afternoon, Silver Falls Families.
Recently, we’ve heard a number of rumors and theories circulating in our community. We’re writing today to debunk several of those rumors, as well as to provide ways you can ensure the information you’re hearing comes from a reliable source.
SHS Community Proms & Graduation
Over the weekend, a number of concerned parents reached out regarding student attendance at community dances and ‘prom’ events. The most common rumor we heard was that students in attendance at these events would not be allowed to attend, or ‘walk’ at graduation. This is not true.
Silverton High School and Silver Falls School District’s position on these community events is that students should follow all appropriate health and safety guidelines provided by the state. Furthermore, students experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 will not be able to participate in the official graduation events this week. For that reason we encourage all students, and especially all unvaccinated students, to exercise increased caution in the days leading up to graduation.
Critical Race Theory & Racism Curricula
Another rumor we’ve recently heard is that the district either has, or soon will roll out new curricula based on Critical Race Theory (CRT). This rumor is also untrue.
First, CRT is not a curriculum of study. Rather, it is an over-40 year old academic concept. A recent article by EdWeek describes scholars’ use of critical race theory in education as “look[ing] at how policies and practices in K-12 education contribute to persistent racial inequalities in education, and advocat[ing] for ways to change them.*”
We acknowledge that the topics of race and discrimination are divisive, and disagreements exist even on the very definition of the topics in question. With that in mind, we encourage all interested community members to research this topic from a variety of sources and perspectives.
With that said, we can assure all community members that Silver Falls School District does not engage in teaching, condoning, or advocating extreme social positions. Despite rumors to the contrary, district curriculum does not include statements or claims such as “all white people are racist”. The district does teach a culturally responsive curriculum as directed by the State of Oregon’s Department of Education. This curriculum encourages students to engage with society, history, and indeed their own learning. Learners are encouraged to think critically of all sources, to conduct their own research, and to question their own internal or implicit biases, regardless of their origin.
Silver Falls School District schools are not places of indoctrination, but of learning and examination. In other words, our goal is to teach students how to think, not what to think.
Avoiding Rumors and Misinformation
We recognize the difficulty inherent in keeping apprised of school activities and the relative ease with which misinformation and rumor can spread across social media and the internet. With that in mind, the district offers the following official channels of information, and any information you hear about school district policies or procedures should be considered suspect unless they come from one of the following official sources:
Official school or district websites (https://silverfallsschools.org and its school-based subdomains, such as http://silvertonhigh.silverfallsschools.org)
- School or district communications sent via the district’s parent communication tool, ParentSquare.
- The official district Facebook page, found at https://www.facebook.com/silverfallsschools.
- Official communications (such as emails, newsletters, or phone calls) or statements made by school or district officials operating in their official capacities (such as during school hours, at meetings of the School Board, etc.)
As always, specific questions regarding any school or district policy or practice can be directed to a variety of sources. These include your child’s classroom teacher(s), your building principal, or to the district office directly via the district’s feedback email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
*Sawchuk, Stephen. “What Is Critical Race Theory, and Why Is It Under Attack?” Education Week, Education Week, 18 May 2021, www.edweek.org/leadership/what-is-critical-race-theory-and-why-is-it-under-attack/2021/05.