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A Message from the Wauwatosa School District Superintendent

January 7, 2021


To our Wauwatosa learning community, 


2020 was certainly an unpredictable year, and in our first few days of 2021, we continue to face challenges unlike any other. The events of this week have surely stirred many emotions, fears and feelings that require our attention, time and partnership with everyone in our community. From yesterday’s attacks on our nation’s capitol to the recent developments in Kenosha and the continued struggle to navigate our way out of this pandemic, these challenges undoubtedly impact each of us in a variety of ways, and that cannot be dismissed. 


No matter our political affiliations, views and feelings on these developments, it is imperative that we work collectively to uphold the better spirits and values of our community. We are all learners. We are all neighbors. We are all human. And it is dignity and care for one another that serves as the common human thread that ties us all together. 


Now more than ever, it is imperative that we continue to ensure that our community is one that fights for equity and creates a safe and productive learning environment for each and every child.  Our students are encouraged to seek the counsel of the trusted adults in our buildings in order to process their emotions.  Our dedicated staff remains committed to providing safe spaces and resources for our learning community.


The District has previously shared many resources, but we would also like to provide the following resources that families and caregivers may find helpful as they process these most recent events with their students.  


  • Heart Art - a great activity to support the events unfolding across our nation, but also to help process our thoughts and feelings with our elementary students’ transition to 5-day-per-week instruction.
  • Grounding Activities - 10 great grounding activities shared in a counselor’s blog.
  • Facilitating Difficult Discussions about Race - tips for navigating conversations.
  • Coping with Pandemic Stress - resource generated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for helping children cope with stress induced by the pandemic.


These are undoubtedly trying times, and our young people need us to be better than the world they see, hear and experience. Many hard truths have surfaced in the last 12 months, but the silver lining has consistently resided with the hopes and dreams of our most treasured gifts--our children. They continue to shine a light brighter than the darkness of yesterday. And it is that very light that we need to protect and foster for all of our students.


We thank you for the trust you have placed in us and your continued partnership in raising our next generation of leaders. 


Phil Ertl, Superintendent