Robbinsdale Area Schools

Grateful to our Government Leaders

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Guji badhanka ay ku qoran tahay "Ingiriis" dhinaca midig ee hoose ee shaashadda si aad tani ugu akhriso af Soomaali. 

Dear Legislators,

Yesterday I was at Mayo Clinic, one of the best medical facilities in the world, for a planned procedure on my larynx. While in recovery and unable to speak, I heard conversations swirling around me about a horrible incident and shooting. Without the ability to ask questions and unsure about where this was happening, I instantly felt a surge of sadness as I wondered if something had happened at the Minnesota State Capitol and to our legislators. I quickly prayed for the safety of the lawmakers.

In that moment of hearing the conversations around me, it made me reflect on my interactions with each of you. Your service does not go unnoticed. 

During our monthly meetings with you and other governmental leaders who support Robbinsdale Area Schools, I have observed first-hand the passion, dedication and unlimited service each of you provide to the great citizens of Minnesota. 

Senator Ann Rest and Senator Chris Eaton, you work to ensure our students have access to meals and are receiving social-emotional support. You continually build on collaborative practices with our city and state partners so we can provide Minnesota families with the best education possible. Additionally, you help all of us navigate these uncertain times.

Though you've recently retired, Representative Lyndon Carlson, you have been a strong advocate and supporter of public education, especially Robbinsdale Area Schools. Your work through the years helped provide needed funding for public education and tax relief for district residents.

Representative Mike Freiberg and Representative Cedrick Frazier, as parents in our district you continue to be strong advocates for our families. You use your influence to champion education for ALL on a multitude of topics ranging from transportation, to long-term facilities planning, educational access for all and parent engagement.

Representative Ginny Klevorn, your interest in our assessment process and how we are able to use our data to improve literacy initiatives is commendable. You have the needs of our students and families always at the forefront. You remind us that legislators must have the facts and information needed so they can build policy and fund programs for students.

What happened yesterday was traumatic for all of us to bear witness to. The images of the civil insurrection were almost incomprehensible.

Yet, I know that because of your work, and the work of your colleagues, whether Democrat or Republican, together you will ensure that Democracy prevails. America is the land of hopes and dreams. And the work must go on—even while there’s a collective reckoning of the troubled legacy of our forefathers.

As a lifelong educator, who now leads a school district that I’m passionate about, I know that the events of yesterday will be lessons taught in classrooms for many years to come. Teachers will stand in front of their students and recount how in the year 2020 a global pandemic, called COVID-19, caused the death of hundreds of thousands of Americans. They will tell their students that there was a national and global surge in the fight for social justice and racial equity and that people continued to die as they pushed for these changes on behalf of the Republic. 

As a superintendent, I’m often asked why I would agree to serve in this capacity during this unprecedented health crisis and knowing that some of the work we do on behalf of students would be filled with so many challenges, sometimes seeming insurmountable. My response has been and continues to be that I love Robbinsdale Area Schools. I live in the community and we have amazing students, families, staff and stakeholders---like each of you.

I have spent 14 years building relationships, partnerships and friendships in Minnesota. All of my children were born here, so my love for this community runs deep. So does my care and concern for each of you, and the challenging work that is ahead of you in the coming days, weeks and months. 

Though the events of this historic January 6 are still unfolding, I want to take this time to say that I am proud of you for your service and dedication to our state and to the United States of America. As the late Congressman John Lewis said during his lifetime, we have to make “good trouble, necessary trouble.” I’m going to add “peaceful trouble.” Our future depends on it.

As leaders, we have the responsibility and must maintain the courage to stand firm to do what’s right on behalf of our families, our communities and our state. We have to do what’s right today and for the next generation. We have to be courageous. 

Sincerely,

Dr. Stephanie Burrage