Jess Borjon

Community conversations for change

Roseville, CA- If the year 2020 has taught us anything, it is the value of human connection, of genuine care for others and, perhaps most important, it is about having tough conversations so that we can improve the lives of our families and our communities. While these conversations are vital, it’s the actions of our district that help us walk the walk. Since 2015, RJUHSD has been working to face huge challenges in regards to systemic racism and institutional biases. Long overdue, our district embarked on a journey to better understand our approach to equity, access and transformation, beginning to lay the foundation to grow as a district.

The challenges of distance learning and school closures have helped us identify the areas in education where we can do better and be better. Our biggest takeaway from our initial steps forward is that these issues are complex, unique to each family and have a depth and breadth that requires great care in our approach. This leads us to our plan going forward. RJUHSD is committed to educate, engage and act.

The key aspect of our work must be to reach a level of transformational action. We must reimagine a better world for all, removing barriers and uplifting everyone in our communities. For example, all RJUHSD students deserve access to reliable technology to participate in their classes from home and access to challenging courses. Through a partnership with Equal Opportunity Schools, we are working to increase access to all students who have historically been denied access to high level courses in our district. Although we’ve made some gains, opportunity gaps remain.

To continue filling these opportunity gaps, we need the input and collaboration of our families and community members. In the coming weeks and months, RJUHSD will be hosting town hall meetings throughout the district and at our school sites to encourage robust conversations that help provide us with action items moving forward. We are also continuing a partnership with the National Equity Project, an organization that has been helping to educate more than 60 staff members (and growing!) since 2018. The National Equity Project is a great match for our district, our times and our students. We share the same aspirations for ourselves and each other.

The kind of change we’re seeking is not in a plan or in a textbook. It is in you and me. It is how we behave every single day. It is what we do to intentionally reach out and engage, to respect each other, to act on the injustices we see. All this is to say that RJUHSD recognizes the inequity that exists and in our desire and responsibility to be the change we wish to see in the world. I invite you to join us on our journey, to have tough conversations and inspire one another to do more for your neighbors and your community. Let’s redefine 2020 together.

Jess Borjon
RJUHSD Superintendent