March Newsletter

Francis Scott Key School

Dear Parents and Families,

Please see below for school updates, pictures of virtual learning, and community resources. As always, remember to check ClassDojo for the latest updates.
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SCENES OF VIRTUAL LEARNING

Center for Literacy Distributes Books

Mary Wilson and Deicy Perez from Center for Literacy distributed bags of books and materials to Key families enrolled in CFL's Virtual Family Literacy Program, which offers free classes to immigrant families. They enjoyed getting to safely meet everyone in-person.
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Read Across America Week

Volunteers from the community, including SEAMAAC, The Free Library, retired teachers, and family members, visited virtual classrooms to read stories centered around our theme: Celebrating Joy and Diversity at Key School. Thank you to all our guest readers who made this week a success!

4th Grade Environmental Justice Art Project

Key recently won the Picasso Art Project Grant. Each week, teaching artist Ms. Linda joins our 4th graders to discuss the impact of nature on art and then students create their own pictures of animals and their environment. Students will eventually design a mural at the school.

Ms. B's Gym Classes

This month in gym, students bowled, played horseshoes, and celebrated diversity and joy at Key School and America.

BLM Week of Action in Schools FAQs for Parents

Our students have been participating in many different kinds of activities for Black Lives Matter. Key School colleagues Erica Darken, Delilah Baines Washington, Lorenea Meskill, and Lisa Yau created the BLM Week of Action in Schools FAQs for parents, using the FAQ’s for BLMPHLed Week of Action as reference, with guidance from the Racial Justice Organizing Committee.


1. What is the Black Lives Matter Week of Action in Schools?

Black Lives Matter Week of Action at Schools is a nation-wide group of people organizing for racial justice in education.


2. What is the connection between the Black Lives Matter Week of Action in Schools and the Black Lives Matter movement?

In 2016 The Black Lives Matter Global Network developed 13 guiding principles, which are now the framework for Black Lives Matter at School.


3. Who started the Black Lives Matter movement and why?

Black Lives Matter was founded in 2013 in response to the acquittal of Trayvon Martin’s murderer by Patrisse Cullers, Opal Tometi, and Alicia Garza. Its mission is to eradicate white supremacy and build local power to intervene in violence inflicted on Black communities.


4. What will my child be learning?

Students will be learning about the thirteen guiding principles of the Black Lives Matter Movement.


5. What are the thirteen principles?

Unapologetically Black, Diversity, Empathy, Loving Engagement, Restorative Justice, Black Families, Intergenerational, Black Villages, Black Women, Queer Affirming, Transgender Affirming, Globalism, Collective Value


6. How do these thirteen principles apply to my life? How do they apply to all students?

The thirteen principles provide the framebook for a more fair society. They can create the conditions for improving relationships between people of different races.


7. Does the School District of Philadelphia support Black Live Matter Week of Action in Schools?

Yes, and so do both national teacher unions. Also, the School District of Philadelphia now has an Equity Commission. Philadelphia City Council wrote and passed the Black Lives Matter Week of Action resolution in 2019 and 2020


8. Is this age-appropriate for elementary students?

Yes. Issues of equity and fairness are important in all aspects of each of our lives, and in each of our classrooms. Teachers make sure that lessons and materials are appropriate for each grade.


9. Why is this even important right now?

Black Lives Matter is currently in the news. It is an important current events topic. When we talk about issues of racial justice and fairness, we affirm the identities of all our students. Also, it is important to encourage engagement with the world, regardless of our perspectives on the issues.


10. Isn’t it enough to tell children to be kind to everyone? Don’t All Lives Matter?

Every human being is important. However, Black Lives Matter Week of Action at School is not only about respect and kindness. This is about studying issues of privilege with students, which will help them understand their own identities and how that shapes our society. Relying on colorblind rhetoric around kindness and tolerance only perpetuates the issues at hand and does nothing to challenge structural racism and white supremacy.


11. What is the problem with White Supremacy, and what does it even mean?

White supremacy is the belief that white people are superior and should dominate other racial and ethnic groups. White supremacy is upheld in economic, legal, and educational systems and disadvantages people of color. Fighting against white supremacy is essential for creating a fair society.


12. My family came to this country and experienced prejudice. Shouldn’t my children learn about our home country and people?

The Racial Justice Organizing Committee advocates for Ethnic, Indigenous, and Black studies courses at every grade level.


13. Isn’t Black Lives Matter racist against white people?

Black Lives Matter helps us to study the quality of life for marginalized groups in our society--who happen to make up the majority of our Philadelphia students. These conversations strengthen our community.


14. Isn’t Black History Month enough?

It is not enough to isolate and restrict discussion of the history and contributions of African Americans to one school month. Additionally, the traditional approach of learning about African American heroes does not do enough to address issues of justice or the complexity of Black communities.


15. Where can I find our more?

You can always talk to your child’s teacher. Also, the Racial Justice Organizing Committee is a founding organizer of Black Lives Matter Week of Action in School and has compiled information for families, educators, and community members:

https://sites.google.com/view/racialjusticeorganizing/blm-week-of-action-in-schools/demands?authuser=0

COMMUNITY RESOURCES

FOOD

1) Grab & Go Student Meals

What: 7 day student meal box, includes fresh fruit

When: Fridays 9am-2pm

Where: Click HERE for list of over 100 locations. There are 3 sites in 19148 zip code:


1. South Philadelphia High - 2101 S. Broad St

2. Furness High - 1900 S 3rd St.

3. D Newlin Fell School - 900 W Oregon Ave



2) SEAMAAC Prepared Meals

What: Hot prepared meals

When: Monday-Friday 11:30am-1pm

Where: Key Schoolyard



3) Christ Church South Philadelphia

What: Boxes of food containing milk, produce, meat, & cheese

When: Thursdays 11am

Where: 229 Moore Street



4) Meaningful Meals @ Southwark School

What: Boxes of 10 pounds of produce, 5 pounds of meat, & 5 pounds of dairy

When: 2nd & 4th Mondays 3:30-4:30pm Click HERE for full list of dates.

Where: 9th St. & Mifflin St.

COVID-19 TESTING @ MIFFLIN SQUARE PARK

What: Walk up only

When: Thursdays 11am-1pm

Where: 600 Wolf St.

Free Virtual Classes & Case Management

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