Equity & Inclusion Newsletter
March 2022, Staff Edition
Enjoy Our Black History Month Video Project 2022
We had the idea of creating a video with clips from the lived experiences, knowledge, and richness within our community to celebrate Black History Month, a federally recognized annual celebration, as one way we could honor our community's families & Black History Month on a local level.
Over the course of the month of February, three PHS student leaders, senior Chris-Ann Bennett, junior Lauren Grant, and junior Maille Kimble, collaborated on a project compiling video clips that documented various Region 15 community members' insights and perspectives around honoring the richness within African American and Black cultures, histories, heritages, stories, and legacies.
Share this video any time, as Black history is American history all year round.
Teaching & Learning Resources
Here's another resource: 5 Powerful Women in Science (PBS)
(Source: Learning for Justice)
A must check out! Unladylike2020 is an award-winning series of 26 short films on diverse and little-known women who changed America. The series links history to contemporary contexts, too.
(Source: PBS Unladylike 2020: Photo: Zitkála-Šá)
Also, for Down Syndrome Awareness - don't forget about this film, shared last year Just Like You: Down Syndrome (Source: Just Like You Films)
To our students! As we are all well aware, there continues to be an incredible amount of contemporary issues in the world around us. Here is a template from Pear Deck, transferable to any subject, that may be a useful tool in discussing complex topics.
(Photo source: Pear Deck)
Recent Work Spotlight
Collaborative Art at LMES
The background of this month's newsletter comes from a collaborative art piece created by Grade 4 students at LMES with Mrs. Clough, inspired by the work of Alma Woodsey Thomas! Thomas was an African American woman, artist and teacher who lived and worked in Washington, D.C. She is a major American painter of the 20th century. Alma Thomas is best known for the colorful, abstract paintings that she created after her retirement from a 35-year career teaching. She was the first graduate of Howard University's Art department. Thomas's reputation has continued to grow since her death. Her paintings are displayed in famous museums and collections.
(Photo Source: LMES Grade 4 Students, Mrs. Clough)
BHM and Art at GES
Students across grades at GES recently studied and created art inspired by Horace Pippin, Clementine Hunter, Ashley Bryan, Faith Ringgold, William H. Johnson, Alma Woodsey Thomas, Aaron Douglas, and Reggie Laurent with Mrs. Saginario! The piece you see above is inspired by Reggie Laurent, who is from Chicago and has been painting since 1986. He is best known for his vibrant abstract paintings. Everything Reggie touches seems to glow with color, even everyday objects. His artwork isn't limited to just paint on canvas - he also paints everything from wooden bowls to rolling pins.
(Photo Source: Student Work, Lacey, Grade 5 GES)
French Class & Poetry
(Photo Source: Mme Ganti)
Remember these district-created read alouds to make use of with your classes
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 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.
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 selected Dr. Patricia Bath to research and share about during lessons on a Mathematicians Project 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.
Calendar of Religious Observances: March 2022
Why is this information important?
The towns of Middlebury and Southbury are made up of families representing many different religious and cultural identities.
The information below is offered as a resource to increase awareness of & respect for religious observations and ethnic and cultural festivities. These observances may affect students, colleagues and neighbors in our community.
What are some ways this information can be used?
Calendar planning by for use in scheduling and planning details, for example:
school activities and exams
- 3/1: Maha Shivaratri: (Hindu) Alaso called Shiva Ratri, the Great Night of Shiva, is a festival in reverence of the god Shiva. The festival is celebrated at the 13th night or 14th day of the waning moon in the Hindu calendar (month of February or March of the English calendar)
- 3/1: 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.
- 3/2: 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.
- 3/7: Clean Monday: (Eastern Christian) The beginning of Great Lent for Eastern Christian churches, which starts 40 days before Orthodox Easter (Pascha), counting Sundays.
- 3/17: Purim: (Jewish) The “Feast of Lots” marks the salvation of the Jews of ancient Persia from extermination
- 3/17: St. Patrick’s Day: (Christian) 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.
- 3/18: Holi: (Hindu) A spring festival in India and Nepal, known as the festival of colors
- 3/19: Hola 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.