South San Francisco Unified School District (SSFUSD) Superintendent Dr. Shawnterra Moore delivered an impassioned welcome back address to teachers and staff on August 11, exhorting educators to find their inner super hero and to do their best for students during a time in which concerns about the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and police brutality and racism were at the forefront of everyone's mind.
"We are all super heroes," Dr. Moore said. "Yes, we are in the middle of a global pandemic, but we are also in the midst of a social justice crisis as well."
She urged her audience to rededicate themselves to the cause of educational equity.
"It's time that we work together to disrupt the predictability of which students will perform well on assessments and which students won't," said Dr. Moore. "It is time for us to disrupt the predictability of which students will be offered and placed in advanced courses and which ones will be noticeably absent. It is time for us to disrupt the predictability of of failure rates and inconsistent grading practices across our district that our inequitable for some of our kiddos."
By likening every teacher and staff member to super heroes, Dr. Moore also drew a connection between the power of each individual and the responsibility to wield that influence in service to children and one another.
"It may be a demonstration of kindness or compassion or a positive and productive attitude," said Dr. Moore. "Some of you might be the bearer of emotional strength and calmness for your colleagues or your department, or your super power might be to unify and inspire people toward a common goal or collective action."
Finally, she asked the audience to remember why they became educators in the first place and to imagine their own children, grandchildren, nieces, and nephews as part of the district.
"Remember, as super hero educators, we work in deference to children. We got into this position to serve others."
Watch the full speech here.