Equity & Inclusion Newsletter

March 2021, STAFF Edition 7

World Down Syndrome Awareness Day Read Aloud

March 21 is World Down Syndrome Day, which is a day devoted to advocating for the inclusion, wellbeing, and rights of people with Down syndrome in our community and around the world. Did you know that the date 3/21 was selected for World Down Syndrome Day to signify the uniqueness of the triplication, or trisomy, of the 21st chromosome, which leads to Down syndrome? World Down Syndrome Awareness Day has been officially observed as a global awareness day by the United Nations since 2012.

Something we want to communicate to you in this video - and every read aloud video - is that while diversity is a fact, inclusion is an action. This is a really important idea, belief, and way of being. It means that it is up to each of us do, say, and think things that are inclusive. If we each feel responsible for that, then we each will be able to feel a strong sense of belonging, which really matters a lot.

Our guest readers in this video include a 1st grade student from MES, Mrs. Moreira, Speech and Language Pathologist, and Mrs. Kimble-Cusano, PreK Teacher! You will hear them share a bit more about what the book Eli, Included by Michelle Sullivan, illustrated by Brit Scott, and World Down Syndrome day, means to them.

This read aloud is being shared with permission from Michelle Sullivan.
Eli, Included

Women's History Month Read Aloud Video

Similar to each monthlong celebration we highlight in newsletters, we balance the need to honor the month's focus with the insistence that women's history belongs in each month! Yet, we do want to acknowledge the opportunity to lift up the importance of focusing on women's contributions to the world around us. Women's History Month began in 1981 when Congress passed legislation that established Women's History Week, and then in 1987 was legislated to be a monthlong celebration, which you can read more about here. The book selected to share in the video below is one of countless inspiring texts that focus on women. It lives at the intersection of gender and race, and is part of a series on the lives of amazing scientists.

In this video, three students who recently selected Dr. Patricia Bath to research and share about during their Mathematicians Project lessons were invited as guest readers to share The Doctor With An Eye For Eyes: The Story of Dr. Patricia Bath, by Julia Finley Mosca, illustrated by Daniel Rieley.

This read aloud is being shared with permissions of Innovation Press.
The Doctor With An Eye For Eyes: The Story of Dr Patricia Bath

Upcoming Free Professional Opportunities:

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Tribury Reads Together: Vote on the First Book for this New Community Initiative for Adult & Young Adult Readers

Tribury Reads Together was created by a group of community volunteers to bring together the communities of Middlebury, Southbury, and Woodbury to read a book and learn about the different aspects of the American experience. For our first theme, we have chosen the experience of being Black, and TRT plans to organize biannual reads that explore other themes such as the experiences of white people, Asian/Pacific Islanders, LatinX people, indigenous peoples, LGBTQ+ people, women, people with disabilities, religious minorities and other strands of the diverse American population,

TRT has proposed 5 pairs of books (one for adults and one for youth) for the community to consider. To watch the book trailers and vote on which selection we should read together, click here. Vote by March 10. For more info, read this article which appeared in the Voices newspaper on 2/24.

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See flyer below for information about four Region 15 parents who have generously been planning this event for some time now for all interested Region 15 students, families, and Southbury/Middlebury community members. R15 student Ava Sedensky and R15 alum/E&I Council member Scott Grant will moderate the panel. I also want to acknowledge planning team members Dr. Dorcas Eshun (R15 parent) and Francesca Sergi (R15 E&I Council member).

Free Art Class Opportunity for Students Ages 12-17

Click here to access the registration link, which closes March 8, for Beyond Face Value: Art, Race and Empathy. The description is below:

With the guidance of teaching artist (and Region 15 alum!) Sarah Zahran, students are invited to dive into the rewarding and therapeutic art making process, creating portraits, exploring what it means to be "seen."

Using collage to tell the layered stories of their personal backgrounds, students will work in two phases, making both literal and figurative "backgrounds" with patterned paper, then overlaying drawn portraits using chalk pastels, learning techniques for drawing skin tones. Through the lens of contemporary Black artists and activists, students will create and reflect on their own life experience.

This will be a safe space to express and explore identity and belonging on a personal level. Upon completion, student work will be showcased in an online space. This course would make a powerful statement on a resume or college application! Customized kits will provide all required materials for this class. Beyond Face Value is offered free of charge thanks to the support of the Litchfield Education Foundation.

To Close: Amanda Gorman's Poem, Talking Gets Us There

A gem in closing, because whether it is Women's History Month...Black History Month...any month...can't get enough of this extraordinary human.
🇺🇸 Inaugural Poet Amanda Gorman reads "Talking Gets Us There" | PBS KIDS Talk About | PBS KIDS

Contact & Social Media

Instagram: @r15equity_inclusion

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