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Letter to Howell Parents in May Refers to "multiple incidents involving race."

*The following letter was sent to the families of Francis Howell Middle School families in May 2023. **A follow up letter concerning more details about the focus groups was sent some time later. Focus groups met soon after.

From: Date: May 2, 2023 at 12:09:16 PM CDT To: Subject: Student Focus Group Reply-To:

Dear Parents/Guardians, The Francis Howell Middle School community is working to create a safe and supportive environment for all students. This year, we have needed to address multiple incidents involving race. We recognize that these incidents have an impact on our African American students. To better understand how we may address these issues, we would like to invite your child and other African American students to share their experiences at FHMS. To do this, we would like to set up small group conversations where our African American students can share openly.

Trained facilitators will lead the group discussions, and they will take place in a confidential and respectful environment. The talk will focus on topics such as racism, discrimination, and other related issues that African American students may face in our school. The goal of the focus group is to help students feel supported, heard, and empowered to create positive change. Their insight into this issue will allow us to determine what steps we need to take to develop and maintain a safe environment for all students.

We encourage your child and all African American students to participate in the group. Their voices and perspectives are essential and can help inform our efforts to create a more inclusive and equitable school community. We also encourage parents to discuss this opportunity with their children and to support their participation. Please CLICK HERE to provide permission for your student to participate.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact Dr. Will Vanderpool, Director of Alternative Learning. He is helping to lead out this work with the District's Inspire team. His contact information is or 636-851-4006.

We look forward to working with our African American students and families to promote a positive and inclusive school community. Sincerely, Kirsteen James, Ed. D.


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