Equity & Inclusion Newsletter
March 2021, Edition 7
World Down Syndrome Awareness Day Read Aloud
March 21 is World Down Syndrome Day, which is a day devoted to advocating for the inclusion, wellbeing, and rights of people with Down syndrome in our community and around the world. Did you know that the date 3/21 was selected for World Down Syndrome Day to signify the uniqueness of the triplication, or trisomy, of the 21st chromosome, which leads to Down syndrome? World Down Syndrome Awareness Day has been officially observed as a global awareness day by the United Nations since 2012.
Something we want to communicate to you in this video - and every read aloud video - is that while diversity is a fact, inclusion is an action. This is a really important idea, belief, and way of being. It means that it is up to each of us do, say, and think things that are inclusive. If we each feel responsible for that, then we each will be able to feel a strong sense of belonging, which really matters a lot.
Our guest readers in this video include a 1st grade student from MES, Mrs. Moreira, Speech and Language Pathologist, and Mrs. Kimble-Cusano, PreK Teacher! You will hear them share a bit more about what the book Eli, Included by Michelle Sullivan, illustrated by Brit Scott, and World Down Syndrome day, means to them.
This read aloud is being shared with permission from Michelle Sullivan.
Women's History Month Read Aloud Video
Similar to each monthlong celebration we highlight in newsletters, we balance the need to honor the month's focus with the insistence that women's history belongs in each month! Yet, we do want to acknowledge the opportunity to lift up the importance of focusing on women's contributions to the world around us. Women's History Month began in 1981 when Congress passed legislation that established Women's History Week, and then in 1987 was legislated to be a monthlong celebration, which you can read more about here. The book selected to share in the video below is one of countless inspiring texts that focus on women. It lives at the intersection of gender and race, and is part of a series on the lives of amazing scientists.
In this video, three students who recently selected Dr. Patricia Bath to research and share about during their Mathematicians Project lessons were invited as guest readers to share The Doctor With An Eye For Eyes: The Story of Dr. Patricia Bath, by Julia Finley Mosca, illustrated by Daniel Rieley.
This read aloud is being shared with permissions of Innovation Press.
Just Like You: Down Syndrome: "explores the life, hopes, challenges and dreams of three kids living with Down syndrome. Elyssa, Rachel and Sam share personal stories to help viewers better understand their condition and why they wish to be treated just like you. Each of our stars has their own talents, characteristics, strengths and challenges. Down syndrome is just one part of who they are and this film identifies how to handle and accommodate differences while celebrating the many similarities our friends with Down syndrome have with their peers." (Source: Just Like You Films)
Tribury Reads Together: Vote on the First Book for this New Community Initiative for Adult & Young Adult Readers
TRT has proposed 5 pairs of books (one for adults and one for youth) for the community to consider. To watch the book trailers and vote on which selection we should read together, click here. Vote by March 10. For more info, read this article which appeared in the Voices newspaper on 2/24.
Free Art Class Opportunity for Students Ages 12-17
With the guidance of teaching artist (and Region 15 alum!) Sarah Zahran, students are invited to dive into the rewarding and therapeutic art making process, creating portraits, exploring what it means to be "seen."
Using collage to tell the layered stories of their personal backgrounds, students will work in two phases, making both literal and figurative "backgrounds" with patterned paper, then overlaying drawn portraits using chalk pastels, learning techniques for drawing skin tones. Through the lens of contemporary Black artists and activists, students will create and reflect on their own life experience.
This will be a safe space to express and explore identity and belonging on a personal level. Upon completion, student work will be showcased in an online space. This course would make a powerful statement on a resume or college application! Customized kits will provide all required materials for this class. Beyond Face Value is offered free of charge thanks to the support of the Litchfield Education Foundation.
Recent Work: Secondary Spotlight
Abolitionist Profiles: 6&7 Gr. RMS Library Media
6th and 7th grade students at RMS recently completed Abolitionist Profiles as a context for applying skills in the research and technology competencies. The picture above is a google slide image from 7th grade student, Serena Bacetti's, thorough profile of Frances Ellen Watkins Harper, who was not only an abolitionist, but also a suffragist, poet, author, and lecturer. This student project shared an abundance of information that was illustrative of Harper's significant contributions in the 19th century. You can read more about this influential woman here. (Photo source: RMS Media Center)
Power & Perspectives: Grade 8 English Language Arts
8th grade students have been working within an English Language Arts unit designed to strengthen their abilities to formidably take on a stance of reading critically and writing analytically. Instruction is centered around ways readers consider the roles of power, perspective, and positioning--and the relationship between these--in a text; analyze perspective and its relationship to the distribution of power; and critically read through lenses that foster independent paths toward higher proficiency. (Photo source: Ms. Zamary's Class at MMS)
WWII: Americans Mobilizing & Social Impact: Honors US History, PHS
Students enrolled in Mrs. Clark's Honors US History have been purposeful in studying the accomplishments and contributions of all Americans during WWII, including studying the Tuskegee Airmen, female pilots, Navajo Code Talkers, how the American public was asked to support the war effort, and more. Students also examined the extent to which the United States lived up to its founding ideals of opportunity, liberty, democracy, equality, and rights, during this time period. (Photo source: Navajo-Hopi Observer)