Equity & Inclusion Newsletter

December 2021: Staff Edition

As we welcome the winter season...

The first day of winter is coming! December 21 marks the first day of the season. As the winter solstice approaches, consider cozying up with the read aloud video included below of the picture book Snow Globe Wishes by Erin Dealey, Illustrated by Claire Shorrock. The story follows a family during the biggest winter storm of the year, and the wish on a snow globe that the daughter in the family makes for everyone to go out in the snow together. This is a story of peace and community. In sharing it together, perhaps you might discuss:

  • In what ways do you connect with this story, with which characters?
  • What messages does this story have to offer us?
Snow Globe Winter

Calendar of Religious Observances: December 2021

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:

  • workplace festivities

  • community events

  • school activities and exams

Nov. 28 - Dec. 24 Advent: (Christian) a season of spiritual preparation in observance of the birth of Jesus. In Western Christianity, it starts on the fourth Sunday before Christmas. In Eastern Christianity, the season is longer and begins in the middle of November.

Nov. 29 - Dec. 6 Chanukah: (Jewish) Eight-day “Festival of Lights”, also known as Hanukkah, celebrating the rededication of the Temple to the service of God in 164 BCE. Commemorates the victory of the Maccabees over the Greek King, Antiochus, who sought to suppress freedom of worship. Happy Hanukkah!

Dec. 8 Bodhi Day: (Buddhist) Also known as Rohatsu, commemorates the day that the Buddha, Siddharta Gautama, experienced enlightenment or spiritual awakening (bodhi). Celebrated on the eighth day either of December or the 12th month of the lunar calendar. Happy Bodhi Day!

Dec. 12 Our Lady of Guadalupe: (Christian) Celebrates the apparition of the Blessed Virgin Mary (by her title, Our Lady of Guadalupe, the Patroness of Mexico and the Americas) before Juan Diego, an indigenous convert to Roman Catholicism, on the Mexican hill of Tepeyac in 1531.

Dec. 24 Christmas Eve: (Christian) Celebration of the arrival of Mary and Joseph in Bethlehem for the birth of Jesus.

Dec. 25 Christmas: (Christian) Commemorates the birth of Jesus. Merry Christmas!

Dec. 21-25 Pancha Ganapati: (Hindu) five-day festival in honor of Lord Ganesha, Patron of Arts and Guardian of Culture. Happy Pancha Ganapati!

Dec. 26-Jan. 1 Kwanzaa: (Pan-African in US) A seven-day celebration honoring African American heritage and its continued vitality. “Kwanzaa” means “first fruits (of the harvest)” in Swahili. Sending warm wishes for a joyful Kwanzaa!

(Source: ADL)

Because our intention in sharing this information is to increase awareness of and respect for religious observations and ethnic and cultural festivities that may affect students, colleagues and neighbors in our community, your input is important. Please email equity_inclusion@region15.org if there is something we missed!

Ensuring students feel included in your classroom all year long...

Secondary Spotlight:

Surcari (a combination of two words: Suramérica and Caribbean) is an award-winning performance group originally from Chile, Venezuela, and Puerto Rico who recently visited Memorial Middle School for a joyful interactive musical performance! Musical styles and traditions from South and Central America, the Andes, the Spanish Caribbean, Spain and Mexico were shared as students clapped, danced, and participated in playing hand percussion instruments while learning about different Spanish-speaking music styles and cultures. See below for some brief video clips!

Communities that learn together grow together!

Here are some upcoming, free events that students, families, staff members, and other stakeholders may be interested in:

Tribury Reads Together: Upcoming book club opportunity! Look for press release in The Voices this coming week!

Stay Updated


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The importance of listening to your lived experiences, insights, ideas, and perspectives cannot be overstated. Please feel free to reach out! We'd love to connect.

*Note: Quotation (c) 2019 CLC Collective and Dottir Press