Educating for Equity

March 2021, Vol. 1. No. 2

Talking about Race in the Classroom

The members of Educating for Equity are excited to share our second newsletter with you! One of the questions we've been asking ourselves is how to talk about race and other potentially sensitive issues in the classroom. In this issue, we've included resources, such as Liz Kleinrock's Ted Talk "How to Teach Kids to Talk About Taboo Topics," which is posted below, as well as information about the logo art contest for high school students, E4E members at your school, our upcoming book study of Ibram X. Kendi's #1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER How to be an Antiracist, and much more.
How to teach kids to talk about taboo topics | Liz Kleinrock
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Who We Are

Educating for Equity (E4E) is a team of BTCS employees committed to creating a culture of equality, inclusion, and belonging across the district. The E4E team is working to dismantle discrimination and inequities that exist in education by researching and raising awareness about equity issues in our district and community. We seek to provide educational opportunities for all staff to learn and grow in their knowledge of issues surrounding diversity in order to transform our culture and instructional practices to be more responsive to injustices. We are dedicated to creating an environment that is welcoming, accessible, and affirming of all identities and experiences where all students can succeed.

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E4E Book Study

The E4E Committee will be working together to read How to Be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi. Our goal is to read this #1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER by the end of the school year. We plan to discuss the book both online and in-person. To learn more about How to Be an Antiracist, see the blurb below:

"Antiracism is a transformative concept that reorients and reenergizes the conversation about racism—and, even more fundamentally, points us toward liberating new ways of thinking about ourselves and each other. At its core, racism is a powerful system that creates false hierarchies of human value; its warped logic extends beyond race, from the way we regard people of different ethnicities or skin colors to the way we treat people of different sexes, gender identities, and body types. Racism intersects with class and culture and geography and even changes the way we see and value ourselves. In How to Be an Antiracist, Kendi takes readers through a widening circle of antiracist ideas—from the most basic concepts to visionary possibilities—that will help readers see all forms of racism clearly, understand their poisonous consequences, and work to oppose them in our systems and in ourselves.

Kendi weaves an electrifying combination of ethics, history, law, and science with his own personal story of awakening to antiracism. This is an essential work for anyone who wants to go beyond the awareness of racism to the next step: contributing to the formation of a just and equitable society."



Students Place in This Year's MLK Art Show

Annually, Bristol celebrates MLK, Jr. throughout the month of January, which normally would include a live art show. Unsurprisingly, this year's events were celebrated virtually, including the 2021 art show. Students from THS & Virginia High submitted art that exemplified the theme of MLK's last transcript: Where Do We Go from Here: Chaos or Community? See the flipbook below to view this year's entries. These works will also be displayed in the windows of various downtown businesses. Congratulations to all our winners!

Congratulations to the winners of this year’s Martin Luther King, Jr. Art Show. Honorable mentions went to Triston Haskins, Morgan Garrett, Isabella Stiltner, and Mattie Tipton. Julia Slagle placed 3rd and took home a $25 prize. Stephanie Vencill placed 2nd and received a $50 prize. Sophia Detrick placed 1st and took home the $75 prize.

To see a Flipbook of the artwork submitted, please click the link below!

“Why Empathy Is The Most Important Factor In Race Discussions”

Excerpt from “Why Empathy Is The Most Important Factor In Race Discussions” by Gordon D’Mello

…But why are race conversations so difficult? They are challenging discussions for many because it often threatens your own belief system, values and ideologies — much like my former media colleague noted. No one likes the accusation of being called a racist, let alone accepting that you might have unconscious — or not so unconscious — traits of ingrained racism flowing through your mind.

But rather than feel threatened by ideas and concepts that might challenge our internal monologues, how can we be constructive? How can we collect ourselves, take a step back and let go of an outdated ideology or thought process that might not be entirely accurate?

Personally, I find that empathy is key to a lot of genuine conversations we need to have around marginalized communities. Whether it be the treatment of LGBTQI people, feminist discussions, victims of domestic violence — the list is vast. We need to lower our voice to listen to these depreciated stories, at the absolute minimum.

You may not always initially agree with certain people, or even understand why their pain exists. But by showing compassion from the start, you again allow them to tell their story without the fear of being brought down. This sense of understanding, to me, allows a space for the conversations we need to be having right now. Ones that are rationale, respectful — and ultimately, insightful.

To read the entire article, visit


Coming soon to Tennessee High School...

Beginning in the Fall of 2021, Tennessee High School will be offering African-American History. This course offering is the beginning of what could be expanded curricular offerings down the road!
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Megyn Deel, music teacher at Haynesfield Elementary, shares ways that she represents diverse voices in her curriculum:

"In my elementary general music class, I like to amplify the voices of artists that are underrepresented and/or under-appreciated. In February, we celebrated Black Music History month. We learned more about some of our favorite black artists such as Dizzy Gillespie, Ella Fitzgerald, Trombone Shorty, and Louis Armstrong. We also did a musical lesson on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. where we listened to emotional music from movies such as Selma and Hairspray."

"This month we are focused on Women’s Music History Month. So far, the most memorable ones are Big Mama Thornton, the original singer of the well-known Elvis tune “Hound Dog,” and the wartime sweethearts the Andrews Sisters who sang “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy.” Try saying that five times fast!"

"I want my students to be exposed to all different kinds of music, but more importantly, I want them to take the lessons found from these rich stories and apply them to their everyday lives. For example, as a closer for Women’s Music History Month we have been writing thank letters to the strong women in our lives and I had a first grade student write a letter that said, 'Dear Kamala Harris, You really inspired me to fight for women’s rights. I like that you never gave up. Thank you.'"

"My students really inspire me, and I know we are doing the right thing by teaching them to treat everyone with kindness and equity."