Equity and Diversity Newsletter

Elementary Edition June 2020

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Top Ways Teachers Can Rock Summer Break

With summer vacation upon us, it's the time to make sure those sunny school-free days don't pass us by in spite of staying close to home due to COVID-19. Millions of Americans have postponed or entirely canceled their vacation plans for the current year. But what about a staycation? Now is a good time to explore what is right here in Springfield Missouri.

Step 1: Set aside a day or two with your family or friends to dedicate to your hometown adventure!

Step 2: Choose your destination.

  • Do you want to go hiking? Check out our national parks or other local landmarks for a day trip.
Do you want to explore local history? Try the History Museum on the Square and other historical sites that are within driving distance.

Step 3: Have a blast!

Keep Learning Alive

Create fun learning opportunities for the kids in your life. These hot days of summer are perfect for lemonade stands, family book club or field trips to aquariums, or local nature preserves.

Plan Lunches with Your 9-5 Friends

Take advantage of your weekday freedom to have lunch with a few friends, remember social distancing.

Enjoy the Outdoors and All It Does For You

  • Go outside and enjoy the beautiful sunshine! Most teachers don’t get nearly enough sunlight, fresh air, or exercise.
  • More sunlight benefits you physically and helps ward off depression.
  • More importantly, getting outside gives you a great opportunity to get some exercise and play with your family and friends, the benefits of which are immeasurable.

Get Back into an Exercise Routine

Summer is a great time to get back into walking, biking, jogging, or just playing outside with your kids. When the summer hits the heatwave season, it’s all about swimming, boating, and any activities you can do in the water. Don’t forget a Rockin playlist for that workout.

Take Advantage of Free Festivities Put together a calendar of all the fun, free events around town so there’s always an option when you find some glorious free time.

Read Yes, Read Your Way Through Book Shelf Backup. Reading is such a relaxing yet guilt-free way to unwind.

Make Progress in Professional Development

Figure out what continuing education you need for your credential/license and take care of a few hours when you’re not so busy with school work.

Spruce Up Your Happy Home

Make your home or yard even more amazing than it already is. Tackle a small project of two while you’ve got the time.

Don't be afraid to use your teacher's status to get a discount. Home Depot and Lowes all have some kind of discount in place for educators.

Get a Head Start on the School Year

Taking a few hours, a week to think about the school year, plan your classroom setup, or prepare the first few units will make the transition in August that much easier.

Now that you have a few ideas for your staycation have a wonderful summer break and I will look forward to sending your SMORE in August.


Whats In Your Tool Box?


Zaretta Hammond is a teacher educator, researcher, and consultant committed to supporting leaders, coaches, and teachers in integrating neuroscience with instruction, equity, and literacy. Her work is informed by her classroom experience, her time in organizations such as the National Equity Project, and her own research about how neuroscience and culture impact learning. In her ongoing work with teachers, she has successfully supported educators throughout the country and beyond to develop culturally responsive habits of mind and instructional practices that support underprepared diverse students to lead their own learning.

In her book Culturally Responsive Teaching and the Brain (Corwin, 2015), she introduces the “Ready for Rigor” approach to culturally responsive teaching. Zaretta Hammond feels that the beauty of culturally responsive teaching is that it doesn’t require any special equipment. Any teacher who desires to improve the learning capacity of students can begin by assessing current practices in the four areas of the Ready for Rigor framework, determining what’s missing, and using collaborative inquiry to make changes.

Hammond, Zaretta. “Culturally Responsive Teaching Puts Rigor at the Center .” The Learning Professional, Oct. 2018, pp. 40–43.

Ready For Rigor A Framework For Culturally Responsive Teaching Model:

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Library Corner

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28 Days: Moments in Black History that Changed the World

By Charles R. Smith Jr., Shane W. Evans (Illustrations)

During this time of protest and unrest in America and in other parts of the world relating to the death of George Floyd, it is important to remember that Black Lives Have Always Mattered. Charles R. Smith Jr author of 28 Days uses narrative styles to suit his subjects and eloquent proses to eulogize Harriet Tubman and businesswoman and philanthropist Madam C.J. Walker. He uses rhythmic free verses to celebrates singer Marian Anderson. He also uses energetic poems to commemorate such athletes as Wilma Rudolph, Hank Aaron, and Arthur Ashe. Smith provides relevant primary source material, which includes excerpts from the Dred Scott decision, Plessy v. Ferguson, and Brown v. Board of Education to expressively evoke a range of time periods and personalities.

With powerful illustrations by Shane Evans, this is a completely unique look at the importance and influence of African Americans on the history of this country.

28 Days: Moments in Black History that Changed the World Video

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You Are The Best!

Springfield Public Schools Staff you are the BEST! Whether you are in the classroom or making the best of the abrupt end of the school year due to Covid-19 or planning parades for the end of the school year or supporting the peaceful rallies for George Floyd to show your students that you hear them and understand. Thank you for showing them how to remain strong in the midst of adversity. Thank you for all you do and have a summer vacation or staycation filled with relaxing moments and fun, fun, fun!