Equity & Inclusion Newsletter
Edition 3: November 2020
Enjoy Our November Read Aloud!
The intention of the monthly read aloud is to offer collective opportunities for learning, discussion, and literary experiences across the district amongst students, families, and staff members - one read at a time.
Click here for the Anti-Defamation League's (ADL) guide on the "December Dilemma," or "acknowledging the various religious and secular holiday traditions celebrated during [this] time of year." In our Region 15 community, it is important to us that all educators and families work with students to promote deeper understandings and inclusivity of traditions while also taking care to adhere to requirements of the First Amendment at school.
Lifekit for Parents: Sesame Workshop is a podcast featuring all sorts of important topics for families talking to children about difficult topics, from divorce to scary information on the news, and much more. This particular episode is about Talking Race with Young Children. Starting with our youngest children and on, please join us in the explicit work of fostering awareness, love, and honoring of all skin tones. Not only this, but talking about race effectively and building healthy racial identity with children is a practice.
Examples of Recent Work: Secondary Spotlight
- Grade 6 Global Communications B: In this course on broadening understanding of global awareness, perspectives, communication, and citizenship, students have recently worked to examine stereotypes, and on the importance of relating to people as individuals and not as representatives of groups. For example, students collaboratively defined stereotypes, and viewed and held discussion around Adichie's "The Danger of a Single Story." Students read and created "Just Because" poems, which address stereotypes that may not be true based on aspects of a person's social identities and then recorded these personal expressions in both written and spoken poem form.
- Grade 7 English Language Arts, Historical Fiction Reading Unit: Our students are learning about the importance of giving voice to missing perspectives in their reading in order to deepen their understanding of a text. They are also focusing on the important work of exercising their capacity for empathy and extending that to the perspectives of multiple characters. With this understanding, students are discovering, through their historical fiction novels, that history is not a collection of old facts to be memorized, but full of hard truths about the world and compelling stories that help us understand our present, and perhaps what we need to do to shape a better future.
- PHS Contemporary Issues Course: After spending the first quarter exploring race through first hand accounts, students in Contemporary Issues are concluding the unit with a project that requires them to find a new voice (through an essay, Ted talk, or song) or new information (by conducting research) about race and present it to the class.
- PHS Human Rights Course: Students just finished up a unit focused human trafficking. For a final project, students taught an authentic audience about the realities of human trafficking, as well as about what they can do to protect themselves, and how to be wise consumers. Students chose their project format and their audience while adhering to Covid-19 guidelines. Some students created lessons to present to their advisories. One student wrote a letter to the Board of Education and is meeting virtually with Dr. Chiappetta to discuss his ideas. Another wrote to Congresswoman Jahana Hayes and still others created posters.
- PHS Conversations on Race: Students recently began a unit on awareness. In doing so, students have been introduced to and are practicing the Courageous Conversations About Race protocol. They have been reflecting on the four quadrants of the Courageous Conversation compass (believing, feeling, thinking, acting) to locate where they are entering conversations about race as well as where they are throughout the course of conversations, in addition to practicing the four agreements of the protocol. Students have been exploring how this protocol intersects with their work on race and privilege.
Thanksgiving: Centering Native Perspectives
Here is a short list of curated selections that focus on centering Native perspectives to reach more complete narratives around thinking and talking about the history of Thanksgiving. November is also National American Indian Heritage Month.
- Harvest Ceremony: Beyond the Thanksgiving Myth
- The Wampanoag Side of the First Thanksgiving Story
- Rethinking Thanksgiving Celebrations: Native Perspectives
- Looking to have conversations with your children? Native Knowledge 360 from the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian is a great site to explore together.
- The American Indian in Children's Literature blog is a fabulous resource to vet children's titles to be sure we are choosing books that are accurate and socially responsible to read with children.