Equity & Access Newsletter

Secondary Edition

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Yes it's Black History Month: Who do you know?

Black History Month is a time to heighten the level of awareness of African American people and the contributions they've made to our country and communities (not that we only should talk about them during this time). Most of you know about MLK, Fredrick Douglas, and Rosa Parks. Who else do we know of that we can share with students? Here's a list of Influential African American Leaders you can share with your students.
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50th Anniversary of MLK's Life Ending

This year is the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.'s assassination (April 4, 1968). Several organizations will be finding ways to honor and celebrate Dr. King's legacy. The National Civil Rights Museum has numerous events/activities planned to celebrate the civil rights leader. The Springfield community will participate as well; we will share those opportunities to engage in the coming months.

Students from Hillcrest High School created a video honoring Dr. King's life and legacy. Feel free to share with your colleagues or students.


National Civil Rights Museum

MLK Day & Multicultural Festival Experience: Shared by a Champion

Teresa Young, the Equity Champion at Westport Middle School decided to bring students to the Multicultural Festival at Juanita K. Hall of Performing Arts on MLK Day. Teresa shares her experience and the impact of exposing students to various cultures, even on their so-called day off! Multicultural Experience for Westport Students.

What's In Your Toolbox?

Easy Ways to Connect With Your Students

All the things that educators are responsible for, goes far beyond common core and teaching standards. The pressures of getting test scores up, MAP testing, closing achievement gaps, and meeting state standards can feel like a monstrous task. As initiatives get added, our plates become more full. How do we find time to connect with students, increase performance, and have work-life balance?

Learning more about students gives us better insight into their motivations, aspirations, and personality. We also know that students in general, are more engaged in their learning when we can make learning personal, relevant and engaging. Here are several easy ways that can help you connect with students.

  • Share your story with students. Even though you are the authority and the professional, letting your students know that you still have growth (personally and professionally) is essential. Showing some vulnerability will help students understand that even adults still have areas of improvement. Share your stories when it's appropriate, timely, brief, and relevant.

  • Attend extracurricular activities. When a student sees their teacher at an event outside of the traditional classroom; it lets them know that you care about them beyond their academics.

  • Encourage classroom discussion where student interests are the focus. Take the first five minutes to have a discussion or check-in with students to see what's on their minds. Use classroom norms to establish respect and civility with your classroom. Students may also share more about themselves that may give you insight into their thoughts, feelings, and experiences.

  • Give assignments that allow students to share their experiences and interests. When work reflects student experiences/interests; they become personal and relevant - with the hope of increasing engagement.

  • Interview your students. We can spend a great deal of time talking about students with colleagues and other support staff. How much time do we spend talking with them? Taking the time to interview a student (3-5 minutes) can give you a better understanding of the student's background, experiences, and likes/dislikes.

  • Visit a site in your student's community. Spending time in a student's community allows you more of an opportunity of gaining a better understanding of what may be going on with them outside of school. Those experiences may also give you the chance to empathize what's happening with your students.

We do all of these things to build relationships, but we also want students to take some ownership of their learning. When it comes time to push that student academically, we can use that strong relationship to leverage the academic expectation we have for them.

“Five Easy Ways to Connect with Students.” Harvard Graduate School of Education, hepg.org/hel-home/issues/27_1/helarticle/five-easy-ways-to-connect-with-students_492.

“The Power of Sharing Your Story With Students.” Edutopia, www.edutopia.org/article/power-sharing-your-story-students.

Springfield's Ninth Annual African American Read-In

Everyone is welcome to attend the Ninth Annual African American Read-In, a national event created in 1990 by Dr. Jerrie Cobb Scott of the Black Caucus of the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE). The African American Read-In promotes diversity in children’s literature, encourages young people to read, and shines a spotlight on African American authors. The Springfield-area event is the only one listed with the NCTE in Missouri that is not located in either St. Louis or Kansas City.

The organizers of this collaborative evening of uplifting performances are Missouri State University Libraries, Springfield Public Schools, the Springfield-Greene County Library District, Drury University, the Ozark Literacy Council, and the Springfield chapter of the NAACP. Come and enjoy an evening of entertainment with Reed Academy Choir, an original and timely play Why I Kneel written by Keisha McMillen, a Drury University Theatre and Arts Administration Major and many other participants.

Upcoming Events

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Second Annual Black History Month Sankofa Banquet @ MSU

The 2nd Annual Black History Month Sankofa Banquet is on Sunday, February 25th @ 5 pm in the Missouri State University Plaster Student Union Grand Ballroom on the 3rd floor.

Sankofa will provide a full Soul Food dinner and program focused on celebrating Black history and culture. Guests will enjoy a night of performances, history and a fashion show depicting globalized Black culture.

Below is the RSVP link: https://dosaforms.missouristate.edu/view.php?id=75717

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