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Our Stance and Promises Regarding the Israel-Gaza Conflict: Advocating for Peace and Humanity

Dear Students, Families, and Educators, 

Amidst the ongoing violence and bloodshed of the Israel-Gaza conflict, we cannot ignore the countless lives lost and devasting impact, particularly to the young people ensnared in this turmoil. As a community committed to fostering peace and championing for the welfare of all, we stand together in unequivocal condemnation of violence and in our unwavering support for humanity. 

We recognize the urgency of elevating this issue and actively promoting dialogue and reconciliation. Our primary goals are to advocate for an end to the killing, to choose humanity over hostility, and to secure a future where our children can thrive in a world free from fear and uncertainty.  

As expressed in our agency’s stated strategic focus area 1.1, we envision a day when our school communities actively hold just and humanizing perspectives, such that all students, educational leaders, staff, and Boards can thrive in an antiracist, multicultural school community. 

To our students, we want you to know that we stand on the side of peace. We believe in your potential, and we are committed to creating a safe and inclusive environment where you can learn, grow, ask questions, engage in discussion, and envision a brighter future. We want you to know that you have a voice and that your thoughts and feelings matter to us. 

To families, we want to reassure you that our paramount focus remains on creating safe schools that embrace diversity and provide a nurturing space for both students and educators. Your trust, partnership, and confidence in our commitment to these principles are invaluable to us. We have assembled resources included with this letter to help you talk with the young people in your life about conflict and to think critically about the media and how information is presented by various news outlets. 

To our educators, we understand the challenges you face in navigating complex conversations about conflict within the classroom. We are here to support you and are committed to providing resources and guidance to facilitate meaningful dialogue in a safe and respectful manner. To that end, PSESD will offer a training session on this topic, and we encourage you to use the resources with this letter that are also posted on our website

We passionately believe in the power of community and collective action and making change in partnership with community organizations. Therefore, with the help of our students, we are writing a letter of hope to our congressional delegates in the House and Senate, urging them to prioritize peace-building efforts. 

When we engage with our legislators, we will advocate for congressional spending on education and humanitarian causes, emphasizing the importance of investing in the well-being of our communities and fostering a culture of peace and understanding. 

In conclusion, we stand resolute in our commitment to peace, equity, and justice. Together, we can make change happen and create a world where all children have the opportunity to thrive and flourish. 

 

Sincerely, 

Puget Sound ESD 121 Board of Directors 

PSESD Board of Directors 

Barbara Peterson, Board Chair - District 7; Marcella Tomlin, Board Vice Chair - District 8; Peter Maier, Board Member -District 1; Annie Laurie Armstrong, Board Member – District 2; Aaron Norikane, Board Member – District 3; Shahrzad Shams, Board Member – District 4; Mehret Tekle-Awarun, Board Member – District 5; Joanne Seng, Board Member – District 6; Stanley Holland, Board Member – District 9.  

 

About Puget Sound ESD 

 Puget Sound ESD 121 (PSESD) is one of nine regional educational agencies serving school districts, tribal compact schools, and state approved charter and private schools in Washington. PSESD serves a diverse population of more than 400,000 students attending thirty-five school districts, nine charter schools, and two tribal compact schools as well as 247 private schools serving more than 50,000 students. 

It is through our End Goal: Success for Each Child & Eliminate the Opportunity Gap by Leading with Racial Equity that we envision a future filled with peace, hope, and opportunities for young people to thrive. The Puget Sound Educational Service District fosters transformational relationships to eliminate opportunity gaps in education to help create racially just and humanizing school systems. The groups we foster transformational relationships with include families; community members; Sovereign Nations; Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) communities; business operators and owners; and nonprofit, public and private agencies, and organizations. Our Board of Directors includes four non-voting student representatives and two non-voting parent representatives who attend meetings and serve in an advisory capacity. 

The Puget Sound Educational Service District is committed to becoming an Anti-Racist Multicultural Organization to eliminate opportunity gaps. We will share our work in equity and inclusion with our transformational partners as well as with educators and advocates throughout the state and nation to create racially just and humanizing educational systems. 

Resources for Families and Educators 

Resources related to hard conversations: 

Antisemitism and Islamophobia:  

Media: 

For Educators Specifically:  

Palestine/Israel:  

Download Letter Document

Archive

Puget Sound Educational Service District Selected for Grant Program to Help Local Students Pursue Education and Career Training After High School

Puget Sound Educational Service District (PSESD) is proud to announce that our region has been selected to be part of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s Horizons Regional Grant Program, a three-year initiative to help more local students continue their education after high school and achieve their goals.

Read More about Puget Sound Educational Service District Selected for Grant Program to Help Local Students Pursue Education and Career Training After High School

Amidst the ongoing violence and bloodshed of the Israel-Gaza conflict, we cannot ignore the countless lives lost and devasting impact, particularly to the young people ensnared in this turmoil. As a community committed to fostering peace and championing for the welfare of all, we stand together in unequivocal condemnation of violence and in our unwavering support for humanity. 

Read More about Our Stance and Promises Regarding the Israel-Gaza Conflict: Advocating for Peace and Humanity
Observing the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination

Observed each year on March 21 – the tragic day in 1960 when the police in Sharpeville, South Africa, opened fire on participants in a peaceful demonstration against apartheid "pass laws," killing 69 people, the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination remains an important one in the calendar’s attempt to fight racism and racial discrimination.

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Honoring our Education Support Professionals—This Week, and Every Week!

In education, the thousands who serve among the support professionals are an integral part of the industry and its importance.

That’s why it’s so important to celebrate their contributions each year for Education Support Professionals week, which takes place this year from March 11-15, 2024. The week was first noted for celebration in 1975 by PSE in order to salute the irreplaceable contributions of Education Support Professionals (or ESPs, for short) in the public school system.

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PSESD Presents: AUTHENTIC LEARNING IN THE AGE OF AI, with Dr. John Spencer

The AI revolution is here: How will you respond? And what AI tools can be utilized for personalized learning? Don’t miss this essential two-part event ("Authentic Learning in the Age of AI") for K-12 Educators, Leaders, and Administrators in ALL content areas, taking place on Saturday, March 30, and Saturday, May 4, 2024!

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Last Chance to Submit 2024-25 Teacher/Educator of the Year Nominations!

This week is the last chance to submit nominations for Teacher of the YearClassified School Employee of the Year, and Principal/Assistant Principal of the Year! Nominate your candidates online using the Educator of the Year Nomination Form. Applications are for all categories are open until Friday, March 1, 2024 at https://survey.alchemer.com/s3/7127358/2023-EoY-Nominations.

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Frederick Douglass's Birthday

Frederick Douglass was a towering individual, an escaped slave who became an impassioned activist, abolitionist, and icon. However, it is an ironic fact that the brilliant Frederick Douglass would surely appreciate that while we now honor his birth date each February 14, Douglass himself was, until late in his life, not entirely sure of the date of his birth.

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Image of Dior Davenport at our PSESD agency all staff celebration

Free Workshop for PK-12 Washington Educators
Join us for an engaging professional learning opportunity for PK–12 educators, principals, and school leaders. Focusing on computational thinking concepts and coding skills, this symposium will highlight Sphero's commitment to supporting district implementation of vertically aligned curriculum and activities that align to Washington's Computer Science standards.

Sphero Symposium (in partnership of Sphero and Puget Sound Educational Service District 121)
Date: Thursday, March 14th, 2024
Time: 8:30 am – 2:30 pm
Location: Puget Sound Educational Service District
| 800 Oakesdale Ave SW, Renton WA 98057
 

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Solution Providers Spring Expo

Puget Sound Educational Service District (PSESD) and Washington Learning Source (WLS) are thrilled to invite you to participate as an exhibitor at our upcoming Solution Providers Spring Expo! This event provides an excellent opportunity to showcase your company products and/or services to a diverse audience. You will have the chance to engage and build relationships with educators and potential clients.

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Solution Providers Spring Expo

Join us at Puget Sound ESD 121’s Solution Providers Spring Expo, where you can discover the latest trends and innovations for FREE! This expo is a great opportunity to connect with like-minded education professionals and knowledgeable specialists while exploring a variety of dynamic products and services.

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Local Puget Sound-Area Events for Martin Luther King Day Weekend 2024

Monday, January 15, 2024 is Martin Luther King Day — an important holiday honoring the celebrated human rights leader’s birthday. If you are seeking to celebrate King and his dream this year, there are a number of terrific arts, culture, and history events taking place across Puget Sound that are both powerful, inspirational, and family-friendly.

Read More about Local Puget Sound-Area Events for Martin Luther King Day Weekend 2024