Equity and Family Empowerment

Winchester Public Schools - March 2022

Big picture
A special "Thank You" is being extended to the Handley Black Student Union for allowing me to be a part of their Black History Month Assembly on February 24, 2022. It was an honor to serve as a panelist with my fellow panel members...an experience that I will treasure.

Every aspect of the assembly was impactful. Well done, BSU! Well done!

Big picture

Dr. Jason Van Heukelum and I attended a Bright Futures Advisory Board Meeting on February 10, 2022, for which I will be serving as the WPS liaison. Bright Futures is a collaboration between Winchester Public Schools (WPS) and Frederick County Public Schools (FCPS), VA designed to provide food, clothing, and other supplies to students and families within the respective school divisions.

Bright Futures hosted an open-house during February 14-17, 2022, allowing the 176 attendees to take as many supplies as needed for their classrooms or offices. It was a great opportunity to see how the many donations received from our generous community support our students.

A saying encourages educators to Maslow before we Bloom, meaning to ensure students' basic needs of "safety and belonging" are met in order to strengthen their ability to focus academically. Kudos to the countless employees across the division who do just that...who establish clothing closets, organize food drives, advocate for donations, access Bright Futures, and SO MUCH MORE. The work that you do is invaluable to our students.

Rita Pierson: Every kid needs a champion | TED

National Women's History Month

Big picture

National Women’s History Month: Honors women as significant agents of historical change. The 2022 theme of “Providing Healing, Promoting Health” is “both a tribute to the ceaseless work of caregivers and frontline workers during this ongoing pandemic and also a recognition of the thousands of ways that women of all cultures have provided both healing and hope throughout history." –National Women’s History Alliance, 2022

Resources for Women’s History Month

Big picture

  • March 8: International Women’s Day: Celebration of the economic, political, cultural and social achievements of women worldwide.
  • March 17: St. Patrick’s Day: Feast day of the patron saint of Ireland. In the U.S., a secular version is celebrated by people of all faiths through appreciation of all things Irish.
  • March 20: Vernal Equinox. Marks the first day of the season of spring. The sun shines nearly equally on both hemispheres when it’s spring in the Northern Hemisphere and simultaneously fall in the Southern Hemisphere.
  • March 21: International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination: Call to action to eliminate all forms of racial discrimination worldwide.
  • March 31: Cesar Chavez Day: Honors Mexican American farm worker, labor leader and activist Cesar Chavez (1927–1993) who was a nationally respected voice for social justice.

Religious Observances:

  1. March 1: Shrove Tuesday (Western Christian): A day of penitence as well as the last chance to feast before Lent begins. Also known as Mardi Gras, Fat Tuesday and Carnival Day as this day is observed in many ways worldwide.
  2. March 2: Ash Wednesday (Western Christian): The first day of Lent for Western Christian churches, a 40-day period of spiritual preparation for Easter, not counting Sundays.
  3. March 7: Clean Monday (Eastern Christian): The beginning of Great Lent for Eastern Christian churches, which starts 40 days before Orthodox Easter (Pascha), counting Sundays.
  4. March 17: Purim (Jewish): The “Feast of Lots” marks the salvation of the Jews of ancient Persia from extermination.
  5. March 18: Holi (Hindu): Also called Holaka or Phagwa, this festival celebrates spring and commemorates various events in Hindu mythology.
  6. March 19: Holla Mohalla (Sikh): An annual event which is a martial arts parade historically coinciding with Holi, the Hindu festival of colors. Celebrations related to Holla Mohalla may be held in various locations over several weekends preceding the actual date of the holiday.
  7. March 21: NOWRÚZ (Zoroastrian): A traditional ancient Iranian festival celebrating the first day of Spring and the Iranian New Year. Also celebrated as New Year’s Day in Baha’i tradition (Naw-Ruz). (This date may vary based on region or sect.).
  8. March 26: Khordad Sal (Zoroastrian): The Zoroastrian celebration of the birth of Zoroaster, the founder of the Zoroastrianism religion. The holiday is specifically celebrated in India and Iran, immediately following the Persian new year, Nowrúz.

Note: Observances are provided as cited on the ADL Calendar of Observances. Additional information is available on the Equity and Family Empowerment’s Calendar of Observances and Religious Observances.
Big picture
Registrations are being accepted for Cohort 3 of the Culturally Responsive and Inclusive Educator Practices professional learning opportunity sponsored by the Virginia Department of Education, Radford University, and Virginia Commonwealth University.

I participated in the 1st Cohort and found the information to be thought-provoking and useful. It was especially impactful to me to examine aspects of US and Virginia History and how such relates to cultural responsiveness today.

If interested, then click here to register.

The explanation of the professional learning opportunity is as follows:

"Culture strongly influences the attitudes, values, and behaviors that students and teachers bring to the instructional process, making culturally responsive educators necessary for the equitable achievement of today’s increasingly diverse student population. Culturally responsive educators see the diversity in their classrooms as an asset and use their knowledge on students’ backgrounds to enrich educational experiences. This professional learning opportunity will help you form a thorough understanding of the specific cultures of the students you teach, how culture affects student learning behaviors, and how you can change classroom interactions and instruction to embrace the cultural differences and transform your students' experience." -Radford/VCU

Big picture