Equity & Inclusion Newsletter

A Monthly Communication: September 2020

The roots of this work

Teacher in Residence for Diversity and Cultural Competency: Introduction

  • Hello! My name is Dr. Erin Birden and I come to this position with a ton of passion for this work. I strive to be an anti-bias and anti-racist educator, and also understand that this requires true, lifelong commitment.
  • I recognize the magnitude of the profession of education, and believe wholeheartedly that we teach humanity first and foremost.
  • Prior to this role, I served as a Grade 2 classroom teacher at Long Meadow Elementary School and have spent the last five years in a doctoral program for Instructional Leadership. There, my research focused on the nature of courage in classrooms.
  • It is with joy, humility and honor that I serve our district in furthering our commitment to equity, inclusion, diversity, and cultural competency.

Each edition will offer up some curated resources. Enjoy the following:

And each edition, you'll find a carefully selected read aloud.

This month features Intersection Allies: We Make Room for All by Chelsea Johnson, LaToya Council, and Carolyn Choi (2019). It was selected as the read aloud for this introductory issue because we felt it captures the essence of equity, inclusion, and the 4 domains of social justice: identity, diversity, justice, and action.

It was also selected because it thoughtfully acknowledges many aspects of diversity: race, ethnicity, religion, language, gender, socioeconomic class, ability, body size, family structures, immigration, sexual orientation, etc. The truth is, we come to school as whole people - carrying multifaceted identities with us all the time. Our work as a school system is to be impactfully welcoming and inclusive to all.

Discussion questions will always be included to facilitate conversation. Use them by pausing the video to engage in dialogue. No matter your age, we hope you find both the read aloud videos and discussion opportunities to be valuable. The intention of the monthly read aloud is that we are building collective, common experiences across the district amongst students, families, and staff members - one read at a time.

Intersection Allies: We Make Room for All Read Aloud

Want to talk more about R15's focus on equity and inclusion?

Instagram: r15equity_inclusion

The importance of listening to your lived experiences, insights, ideas, and perspectives cannot be overstated. Please feel free to reach out! We'd love to connect.

*Note: Quotation (c) 2019 CLC Collective and Dottir Press

Let's Talk Panel Series

One way that we would like to create opportunities this year for students, families, staff, and community members to engage in ongoing learning and thinking related to equity, inclusion, and diversity is through a series we are calling Let's Talk. We will invite panelists to provide insight on their experiences and respond to questions from the community. These recorded panel discussions will be shared with all Region 15 stakeholders after filming.

The first conversation will focus on race and racism. This session will include some background information related to race, racism, ongoing protests and the Black Lives Matter movement, as well as time for question and answer. Questions will be submitted in advance for panelists to have time to review and prepare.

Please submit discussion questions for the panel to consider! Please do so by emailing equity_inclusion@region15.org with LET'S TALK Q&A as your subject line by Wednesday, September 23, 2020. Questions are welcome from all - students, families, staff, and community members.