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WPS Addresses Criticism over Welcome Back Letter

11 August 2017 News

On August 8, 2017, the Todd Starnes Show on Fox News Radio ran a news story with the headline, “School: Honors Classes Will be Decided By Skin Color.” This headline and subsequent dialogue was taken out of context. Winchester Public Schools responded saying ” Winchester Public Schools does not employ quotas in any way; we do not discriminate; and we remain committed to equal educational opportunity.”

On July 24, 2017, all John Handley High School (JHHS) families were sent a Welcome Back letter from their principal, Mr. Michael Dufrene. In addition to the letter, an insert was included that outlined division and JHHS initiatives for 2017-2018 that are a byproduct of the Winchester Public Schools’ Strategic Plan. The intent of the insert was to communicate various initiatives to the JHHS community, such as project based learning and professional learning communities. Each initiative included the “Why,” “How,” and “Vision” of the work being done.

Through our collective work, advanced classes such as AP and Honors will have proportional representation. Proportional representation is 40% White, 35% Hispanic, 12% African American, and 10% mixed race.

WPS said, the language used above under the “Vision” heading was not intended to imply or infer that Winchester Public Schools would utilize race to place students into advanced coursework. We sincerely regret that these two sentences were significantly misinterpreted, and that we were not given the opportunity to respond to the concerns at the local level. To the best of our knowledge, prior to this story reaching the national level, the Winchester School Board nor any Winchester Public Schools’ employees had received any concerns related to the insert that was sent home.

For more information visit Winchester Public School’s website.

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