Reflections on Democracy and Our Community
The following letter from our Head of School, Bob Carignan was sent to all members of the ISDenver community on Thursday, January 7, following the events in Washington D.C. on January 6.
Watching an angry mob loot and ransack our Capitol, the people’s building, yesterday was appalling. It will surely prove to be a low point in American history and a moment that will have repercussions long into the future. The only thing in my lifetime that I can equate it to was watching terrorists destroy the World Trade Center.
In these times, it is difficult to stay focused on the great and thoughtful process that we adhere to in our country, as laid out in our constitution. Ultimately the voice of democracy, responsibility, and freedom shone through, and violence was again seen as an ugly alternative. In classroom discussions today we will be focusing on the themes of common ground, communication, thoughtful debate, facts, listening, and civic responsibility. We ask for you to share your thoughts on these ideas with your students at home.
It is all our responsibility at home, school and within the community to ensure our Democratic Republic endures and continues to meet the needs of its citizens. We the people are responsible to each other and our country, and we must make sure that our students know this. This is far from political “side taking.” It is forming opinions and ideas that are actively challenged and it is the work of great schools. This is our job above anything else that we do; to lay the seeds for our students to vote thoughtfully in the future and to understand it is their responsibility to do so.
In the year of his passing, the words of John Lewis ring out more importantly than ever: “The vote is precious. It is the most powerful non-violent tool we have in a democratic society, and we must use it. And so you must go out all across America and tell young people, and people not so young, tell all of us: Vote. The vote is powerful.”
And finally, at a moment like this, after what has passed over the last year, our children need to see optimism more than ever. I am a firm believer that optimism and realism are not mutually exclusive, and I also ask you to support that notion for the health and wellness of our students.
Head of School
Isabelle Valot, now age 17, who grew up in Denver before moving to France with her family, started school here at ISDenver in the French program when she was four years old. Her first teacher was current K3 French teacher Dominique Shortridge, who is still very close to the family.
ISDenver's virtual after-school Mentor Club is thriving and providing many benefits for all its members - including language immersion to students who are staying home from school and doing long-term Livestream Learning.
We the people are responsible to each other and our country, and we must make sure that our students know this. This is far from political “side taking.” It is forming opinions and ideas that are actively challenged and it is the work of great schools.