Spring DEI Newsletter
Welcome to the First Edition of our Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Newsletter!
Message from the Assistant Superintendent
On behalf of the HPS Equity and Inclusion Working Group, welcome to the district's inaugural newsletter! The purpose of this newsletter is to provide information and resources relative to the district's ongoing work to ensure that all students find belonging, academic and social-emotional success, and develop the skills necessary to engage in a thriving global community.
This has been a busy year for our school community. In September 2021 the district launched the first year of our Equity and Inclusion Plan and welcomed Dr. Darnisa Amante-Jackson as our Convocation keynote speaker. Dr. Amante-Jackson has been the district's equity coach since 2019 and has worked to support the district through our improvement efforts. If you'd like to watch Dr. Amante-Jackson's keynote, please click here: Zoom Link (passcode: ?qEEFR=8).
As this is our inaugural edition, feedback is welcome! As we prepare materials and highlights for our June issue, please let us know how we can improve or if there are any information/resources you'd like to see highlighted.
Dr. James M. LaBillois
Assistant Superintendent of Schools
Hingham Public Schools
In this, and each subsequent edition, we will be introducing you to the members of the district's Equity and Inclusion Working Group. Our Spring highlight is of Ms. Kara Roth, Hingham High School English Teacher and a founding member of the district's Equity & Inclusion Working Group.
Ms. Kara Roth
"As an English teacher, stories have always been at the heart of what I do. The stories we tell ourselves, the stories we pass on as a society, the stories that shape our understanding of the world have tremendous cumulative power. It is important to me that students see themselves reflected and respected in the stories we read and in how we talk about those stories. Being on the Equity and Inclusion Working Group is important to me because one of our aims is to further discussions and self-reflection across our district about how we can better listen to everyone’s story and build spaces where everyone can be themselves in a supportive and affirming way. I look forward to continuing professional development that will enable me to create a more inclusive classroom and be an educator who leaves her students feeling seen and affirmed. That inclusivity and affirmation is so crucial to setting our students on a path to health, wellness, and continued growth."
One of the initiatives implemented this year was a series of professional development offerings to allow our faculty opportunities to begin to engage in topics relative to equity and inclusion in topics that are of most interest to them and their teaching. In addition to our already robust offerings, this year the district has partnered with IDEAS: Initiatives for Developing Equity & Achievement for Students, to provide our educators with engaging and thought provoking sessions designed to develop awareness, engage in self-reflection, and equip them with the tools necessary to provide more students access to our engaging and rigorous curriculum.
Nearly half of our teaching faculty participated in one of our equity sessions offered during our three-part professional development series (release days in November, January, and March). Some of the offerings included:
- Anti-racism: an Indigenous Perspective
- Becoming a Culturally Responsible Teacher
- Bootcamp for White People: Strategies and Actions
- Examining the Image and Impact of Difficult Literature
- Race, Racism, and the Arts
- Teaching about Native Americans, and others
All offered also carried waitlists for participation. We look forward to expanding our offerings during the 2021-2022 school year and are already planning additional courses to ensure we meet the high demand!
Hingham Public Schools has partnered with the Center for Restorative Justice at Suffolk University to train the school and district administrators on the implementation of Restorative Practices within all district schools. The district has determined the use of Restorative Practices to be essential to the ongoing work of combating issues of bias and discrimination within our school community.
Currently, our Central Office and Building Administration (including our principals and assistant principals) have completed 2 of the 3 restorative justice trainings. Part Three of the training series will wrap up this week, at which point the district will begin the work to incorporate Restorative Practices into our student-parent handbooks and discipline procedures. The district looks forward to our launch of implementation during the 2022-2023 school year. Be on the lookout for training opportunities to learn more about this approach to developing accountability and responsibility in all members of our school community.
What is Restorative Justice?
Restorative justice is a broad term encompassing a growing social movement to institutionalize peaceful approaches to harm, problem-solving, and violations of legal and human rights. Restorative approaches seek to balance the needs of the victim, wrongdoer, and community through processes that preserve the safety and dignity of all.
- Suffolk University Center for Restorative Justice, https://www.suffolk.edu/cas/centers-institutes/center-for-restorative-justice/what-is-restorative-justice
Gender, Sexuality, & Allies (GSA) - High School and Middle School
The Gender, Sexuality, & Allies Club (GSA) at Hingham High School aims to create a more positive and inclusive atmosphere for the LGBTQ+ members of our school community. Club meetings are primarily student-led and serve to provide a safe space for LGBTQ+ students and allies where they can connect socially, be young activists, and advocate for social justice. As a club we host events, facilitate dialogue about the climate at HHS, and bring awareness to LGBTQ+-related issues and initiatives that will help inform and inspire the broader Hingham community to support its marginalized queer youth.
At the Middle School, the purpose of GSA is to provide an inclusive atmosphere for the LGBTQ+ members of our school community. Students are working towards identifying their peer leaders who will lead their after school time with support from the advisors. Games, conversation, music, and activities are used as opportunities for students to engage with each other.
People of Color & Allies (POCA) - High School
The POCA Club at Hingham High School is led by and dedicated to the minorities of the school’s student body. We want to provide a welcoming and inclusive environment for people of color and their allies to not only learn about various cultures and holidays but also discuss issues afflicting our world and school environment. The main focal point of the club is to understand how people of color feel in a community with low diversity and collaborate on ways to educate the school. We hope to create a better environment for existing students of color and also a safe space for them.
Kindness Club - Foster
Foster's First Grade Kindness Club gives our students the opportunity to spread kindness in our community. The club meets monthly to work on projects that bring joy to others. Each month since the club started in October 2018, we have been assisted by our high school role model buddies/members of the Hingham High School Spreading Acts of Kindness Club. Some past projects include decorating paper lunch bags for the Soupman, an organization that feeds the homeless, making cards for the residents of Harbor House, a nursing home in the Foster neighborhood, making no-sew blankets for Annie’s Kindness Blankets, and creating coloring/activity books for children in the hospital.
Each quarterly newsletter we will share different books and resources that offer unique perspectives that will continue to help support and engage families and students. Why? Because representation matters!
Women's History Month
Ages Pre-K - Gr. 3
Gr. 3 - 7
Gr. 5 - 12
Pre-K - Gr. 3
Gr. 4 - 6
Black Joy & Triumph and Anti-Racism
Pre-K - Gr. 3
Gr. 4 - 6
Gr. 7 - 12
Resources & Trainings
Spring 2022 Highlighted Resource: Anti-Racism for Kids 101: Starting to Talk About Race
Free Online Training
"Right to Be" offers a series of free online trainings to support and provide strategies to community members to stop harassment and discrimination in all of its forms. To learn more about the resources they offer, or to sign-up for a training, please visit their website.
Resources from the Hingham Unity Council