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A JK THROUGH 12 INDEPENDENT SCHOOL IN CHARLOTTE, NC

1941


Dear Country Day Parents, Faculty, Staff, and Alumni, 

These past months have been unlike any we have experienced together in so many ways. Most recently, as a community and country, we are grappling with the devastating impact of several unjustifiable deaths.

Today, I am writing to you as both an African American male and the head of our school. Professionally, I have dedicated my life to instilling in youth the core values of kindness, moral courage, understanding, acceptance, and respect for all humanity. Personally, as an African American man, I have my own lived experiences that deeply affect my view. And, understandably, this is a time when both my personal and professional lives intertwine.

From both perspectives, these past weeks have been extremely difficult. I feel confident in saying that we at the school are deeply saddened by the unjust deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and, in fact, all losses due to acts of violence and racism. Clearly, there are deep wounds among us, and we need to address them. When I agreed to come to Charlotte and lead our school, I proudly did so knowing I was joining a forward-thinking institution committed to improvement in all regards. As I have said many times, the Affirmation of Community was one of the key components that attracted me to the school. This school stands for inclusion and respect for everyone. Charlotte Country Day School stands against racism and any form of oppression.

Sadly, we are not immune to these challenges within our own community. When it happens, it's disturbing, upsetting, and unacceptable. We do not tolerate it. Unfortunately, we recently had an employee post an inappropriate message on their social media account. As soon as we became aware of the situation, and after an investigation, it was determined that the post clearly did not represent the school's Affirmation of Community and culture of the school. That person is no longer employed by Charlotte Country Day School, and the individual's action in no way represents the school or its culture in any way. Any form of social injustice runs counter to our Affirmation of Community, which we are guided by and believe in deeply.  

We know our students are listening and watching how the adults in their lives navigate this difficult time and model humanity toward others. I am sharing resources that are intended to support you in having these conversations. Our Affirmation of Community was designed to help students respect the dignity and worth of every individual. As a school community, we are constantly working to improve all aspects of our school. As the Affirmation states, we hold an "awareness that living in community and embracing diversity are an active process, a continual journey which engages us in personal and institutional self-assessment, reflections, and openness to growth and change."

This work is no different in our pursuit of continuous improvement. We will always have work ahead to shape the future and to shape students who will lead with their heads and hearts and bring others along with them. I am proud and grateful for the many student and alumni voices I’ve heard over the past few days. They signal that our past work has been effective in creating caring young alumni who will make an impact. Together, we can support each other and be a stronger and better community for our students today and in the future. Your thoughtful and respectful expressions are part of that process.  

Although there is much sadness in the world today, I remain an optimist when it comes to the promise of students changing the future in positive ways. I believe in our faculty and staff who do the necessary work to continue to broaden our students' ability to lead in a fast-changing, culturally diverse world. I believe in our students to come to school ready to embrace new challenges and act on their passions. I believe in our parents and the broader community to continue to partner with us to give our students the skills to truly make a difference in the world.  

In the troubling days ahead, I trust that you will continue to consider the affirmation and support those of us in our community who are deeply wounded by the injustices that have taken place in recent months. This community stands willing to support all who are hurting. As the school moves forward and continues to define how to best serve our mission, we are confident that creating a better understanding and respect for everyone is vital to achieving our mission.  

Sincerely,   

Mark Reed
Head of School