Equity & Access Newsletter

Secondary Edition

Learning from the old; so we can start anew

As we start a new year, we sometimes make New Year's resolutions. As I reflect on 2017, it's been a tumultuous year when we look at our level civility. Here's a snapshot of several incidents: Charlottesville, the NFL, and players kneeling during the national anthem, sexual harassment/misconduct (#MeToo), the travel ban, mass shootings in Vegas and a Texas church, and the congressional baseball shooting.

For 2018, it's important to think about how we can treat people more civilly, respectfully, and equitably. How can we find ways to speak up for others without being hateful and demeaning? As adults and role models it's crucial for us to model the behaviors we want young people to portray. Making sure we have a holistic understanding of our history can help keep us from repeating the same mistakes in the present and future. With our monthly newsletters; Equity & Access will work to give you the tools and strategies we all need to make 2018 more civil and equitable.

Equity & Access Canvas Page


The Equal Justice Initiative and its connection to Springfield

The Equal Justice Initiative will open the first national memorial to victims of lynchings and a new museum dedicated to slavery in Montgomery, Alabama on April 26, 2018. This memorial project relating to America's history of racial terror and lynching will have over four thousand names inscribed at the National Memorial for Peace and Justice. Among these names will be Fred Coker, Horace Duncan, and William Allen, three men lynched in 1906 on the square in Springfield, Missouri. The Equal Justice Initiative feels this is a path to reconciliation and healing for our nation.

We realize that the details of the lynchings can be intense for some students, but this is also a part of Springfield's history which is important for all of us to know. If you would like to learn more about the lynching at the square, check out the Canvas lesson created by students from Reed Academy We've Always Been Here; Springfield's Darkest Day. Hear the perspective of two Springfieldians what they learned from their families of what happened that day.

Equal Justice Initiative website

Newsleader article

What's In your Toolbox?

Strategies to Help Students Develop a Growth Mindset in the Classroom

I was working with a group of middle school males, and I was having a conversation with them about their future after they graduate high school. One student spoke up even before I could offer some suggestions and said, "I'm not gonna graduate high school." The statement threw me off kilter because he said it with such confidence and certainty. He didn't think he was smart enough and would get kicked out for fighting too often. The comment disturbed me since the student couldn't see himself graduating in five and half years.

We know that growth mindset is an attitude and perspective that goes beyond intellect and given abilities. How do we help students grow their perspectives that they may not be able to do something "yet?" Here are four ways to help your students develop a growth mindset:

  1. Create small achievable goals. Small wins over a given time can help increase a student's confidence and reinforces the importance of the amount of effort that it takes to witness progress.
  2. When students succeed, praise them for their effort and strategies as opposed to their intelligence. Lots of people perceive intelligence as a fixed trait; we don't want to undermine the importance of the learning process.
  3. Help students focus on the value of the process of learning. Even though grades are important, the emphasis on learning is the priority.
  4. Design classroom activities that incorporate cooperative learning. Research suggests that students are motivated and successful when working with groups. Students also have a sense of responsibility to do their best for the group which may promote a growth mindset.

Continue to encourage them to persist and put forth the effort. What other strategies can you use to help develop a growth mindset for your students?

4 Ways to Encourage A Growth Mindset in the Classroom (article).

Finley, Katie. “4 Ways to Encourage a Growth Mindset in the Classroom - EdSurge News.” EdSurge, EdSurge, 25 July 2017, www.edsurge.com/news/2014-10-24-4-ways-to-encourage-a-growth-mindset-in-the-classroom

MLK Day Festivities: Are you Ready?

Students know various things about the great leader Martin Luther King Jr and his famous I Have a Dream speech. They appreciate the fact that they have another day off in the middle of January. MLK Day became a national holiday to give us the opportunity to celebrate Dr. King's vision of a better more inclusive society for all people. This day has also evolved into a day of service and finding ways to engage in your community. MLK said, “Everybody can be great...because anybody can serve."

Encourage your students to look at this day as more than a day off. The Springfield community will have several events that the entire family can participate. The local Chapter of the NAACP will host a March and a program (check details at www.naacpspringfieldmo.org). There will also be a Multicultural Festival (springfieldmulticulturalfestival.com) where various cultural groups are performing and numerous community organizations highlighting their mission. SPS will have a booth; visit and say hello!

If you do attend any of the events, share your thoughts at #MLKDaySPS.

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