MVSD Logo and text that reads "Superintendent Update"

Dear Mount Vernon Community,

As I reflect on yesterday's events, I am deeply disturbed and saddened to see the violence that took place in our nation's capital. These actions have affected each of us in different ways and for different reasons. As a community, we must not only make sense of this for ourselves, but also for our students as this event can be used as a teachable moment. It is important we convey to our students that what occurred yesterday is neither a demonstration of leadership nor freedom of expression. We must help them recognize that leadership is about listening to understand and learning from views different from ours. We can and should disagree without disliking, disrespecting, dismissing or harming others. That is a hallmark of our democracy. 

Our school community, as our country, maintains different political beliefs held by students, families, staff and community. We anticipate those differences may be more apparent in the coming days and as the upcoming Presidential Inauguration is shared and dissected by the media. 

In our era of social media, there is significant concern about the role it plays in promoting perceptions or misperceptions in communications. These technologies are widely used, and information flowing across them has a high profile, yet often it’s difficult to clearly communicate what we are trying to express. I encourage us all to be sensitive to our peers, students, and community members when expressing our thoughts, opinions, and ideas through this medium.  Please consider focusing on the values of inclusion and bridge building in a way that includes peaceful exchanges and understanding of differences in ideas and opinions. As I have learned, It is the way difficult things are said that determines if they are heard. 

We each have a role in the outcomes of our children as they grow to be leaders in our greater community. What do we want the future of our community to look like? We, as educators and adults, have the power to influence that. 

Consistent with our Racial Equity Policy No. 1081, Mount Vernon School District (MVSD) seeks to graduate inspired critical thinkers who honor diversity and are committed to the betterment of their own lives and the lives of others. When coupled with our strategic goal of 100% of our students graduating with the knowledge and skills necessary to be successful in post‐ secondary education, careers and life, we become accountable for the achievement of each student’s fullest potential. 

I encourage you to check in with your students. In these uncertain times, one of the best things you can offer right now is an opportunity for your students to express their concerns to you as a trusted adult. 

We have encountered so many unprecedented challenges over the past year, and I know it is exhausting. Together we will get through this as well. This I know, because of the collective strength of our Mount Vernon community. Please stay strong and continue to care for yourselves and each other. 



Ismael Vivanco




Talking to Children About Violence: Tips for Parents and Teachers / español 

Equity Matters: MCPS Guide to Facilitating Conversations About Race & Other  Challenging Issues  

Supporting Marginalized Students in the Context of The 2020 Election 

Responding to Children's Emotional Needs During Times of Crisis  




Estimada comunidad de Mount Vernon,

Al reflexionar sobre las acciones de ayer, me siento profundamente perturbado y entristecido al ver la violencia que tuvo lugar en la capital de nuest