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The Life School for VELA, Atlanta, GA, December, 2020. Photography by Chris Aluka Berry/AlukaStorytellingPhotography.com

Dear Partners in Education: Thank You

November 30, 2021
At a time of upheaval and ongoing uncertainty, we are grateful for the students, parents, educators and communities that remain resilient

As this year draws to a close, I find myself processing a mix of emotions — and looking forward with hope.

I’m worried for the many families and children overburdened by the challenges of COVID-19, but inspired daily by their inexhaustible creativity, commitment and passion they have shown in response to the crisis.

I’m hopeful that the social justice movements underway will result in real and meaningful change, but also heartbroken by the realities that make them necessary.

And like so many I yearn for both a return to normal and a new normal at the same time.

Many of you probably share these feelings – including that the prospect of more uncertainty feels daunting.

But hopefully, like our team, you are ending 2021 with your eyes on the horizon, inspired by those around you.

Even as we encounter more challenges and obstacles, and we will, I hope we can remain as optimistic and energized as the young people we serve.

Inspired by problem-solvers like Lakisha Young and Ze Min Xiao, who are bringing their communities together and serving families.

Inspired by school visionaries like Mikala Streeter and Khabral Muhammad, who invented new learning spaces for children in the face of uncertainty.

Inspired by researchers and entrepreneurs like Emily Oster and Tony Weaver, who tirelessly study and observe the challenges at hand and bring new ideas to the table that will change the future of education.

What this second year of the pandemic deeply affirmed is that we need education systems and approaches that are more nimble, creative and quick to respond to the unique and evolving needs of students.

Thanks to your work, we are on our way toward reimagining schooling so it works better for all children – toward creating new education solutions that are imagined by and co-designed with communities and families.

Even as we encounter more challenges and obstacles, and we will, I hope we can remain as optimistic and energized as the young people we serve.

It takes big ideas to take big steps forward. Let’s celebrate the big steps coming in the year ahead together.

At the Walton Family Foundation, we are grateful for our grantees and leaders determined to improve lives and create opportunity.
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