Summer DEI Newsletter
Dear Hingham School Community,
This year, the Hingham School community focused on how we provide classroom and school environments that highlighted a sense of belonging for our students, families, and staff. In a year, with many challenges, we are grateful for the efforts of our communities in building connections and relationships with each other. As we move into the summer, continue to seek out how we can provide acceptance, understanding, and empathy in our community. In this short video, The Present, there's a strong message of acceptance to enjoy and share.
Members of the Hingham Equity and Inclusion Working Group
In June, Hingham Public Schools celebrated Pride Month
The HHS Gender, Sexuality, and Allies Club Hosted the First Ever South Shore Queer Prom!
The High School Gender, Sexuality, and Allies Club worked hard this pride month to fundraise and organize the 1st annual South Shore Queer Prom held on June 11th, 2022. This Queer Prom brought together LGBTQ+ youth and allies across the South Shore for an unforgettable night.
To Learn More:
Many people are adding their pronouns to their email signatures. Are you curious why and how this shows support to the LGBTQ+ community? Check out this article for more info. Ready to talk about pronouns with your students. This video by Woke Kindergarten or this video from The Gender Wheel can help! Check out the read aloud of They, She, He, Me, Free to be Me or They, He, She, Easy as ABC. Wondering where to begin with asking your students, colleagues, and families? Check out this Pronoun Protocol.
Feeling like you might encounter questions that you won’t have the answers to? This might happen. Check out this resource for some ideas on how you might respond to those questions.
Understanding gender expression is very important to many in the LGBTQ+ community. This Katie Couric interview is very helpful in explaining the many forms of gender and its distinct difference from sexual orientation. You may also want to check out the Genderbread site.
Student Learning Resources:
- See this this virtual library for you, your students, and families! Also, check the school and public libraries.
Have you heard of the comic series Lumberjanes? These comics follow five friends (one being transgender and two of the others being in a same-sex relationship) on many different adventures and would be great for 4th and 5th-grade students. Look here for a GetEpic collection!
The Welcoming Schools site is great for finding resources and lesson inspiration. It is also exceptional for finding resources to support language shifts and how to begin when creating inclusive spaces. Here are some of our favorite lessons/resources from the site for Pride month:
Family Learning Resources:
Juneteenth, June 19th, is a state and federal holiday. Juneteenth commemorates the day in 1865 that federal troops arrived in Galveston, Texas to announce the emancipation of enslaved people and the end of the Civil War. Teaching and learning about Juneteenth is an important way to deepen our understanding of slavery’s legacy, and the importance of speaking out for freedom.
Share some of these resources as a family to learn more about the holiday:
Alpharockers Video - We love the Alpharockers! In this video, they share the complex history of Juneteenth using music.
Read one of these stories with your class to help in providing both the history and joy of why we honor and celebrate Juneteenth:
This newsletter, we’d like to highlight our Unified Sports program. Special Olympics Unified Sports brings together athletes with and without intellectual disabilities to train and compete on the same team. Unified Sports allows all students, regardless of their athletic abilities, to experience being on a team, hang out with their friends outside of school, and gain a boost of confidence they might not always feel in the classroom.
At HPS, we have two teams, Unified Track, and Unified Basketball. Our players compete, have fun, but also create strong friendships. “Both Unified teams on basketball and track are extremely close. Some sit together at lunch and get together outside of school. During track season teammates got together for a pasta party and a pool party. Seeing these friendships grow has been the most rewarding for me. We now have an established group of dedicated Booster Group who keep us well fed for away games and support us in all we do. The beautiful smiling faces in every Unified Sports picture says it all. Nobody has more fun than we do! Come to one of our games, you won’t be disappointed!”
-Joyce Eby, Unified Sports Coach and Special Education Paraeducator.
This spring, our Unified Track team earned silver at Regionals, made it to States, and placed 6th overall in Division 2. 30 towns were represented in Division 2 and 45 overall.
“This has been my first year involved with the Unified Track team. Watching athletes and participants come together, have fun, and make connections has been one of the highlights of my year! Unified Sports gives students a unique opportunity to really build community with classmates they might not get to know otherwise.”
-Elizabeth Boback - Unified Track Coach & Special Education Teacher
Our Unified Basketball had the opportunity to play at TD Garden last winter as part of the Andrew James Lawson Foundation Invitational. Something that few will do in their lifetime!
“My favorite part about Unified Sports is that it allows people to recognize and see students with disabilities in a new light. Everyone on the team feels as though they are succeeding (and they are!), and can be recognized for their achievements. Seeing the smiles and excitement on everyone's faces truly brightens my day.”
-Alexis Bays, Unified Sports Coach & Special Education Teacher.
The World Language Department has worked this year to teach students about the use of nonbinary pronouns in their target languages. Teachers have discussed with students the grassroots appearance of the pronoun elle in Spanish, iel in French, and x也 or TA in Mandarin to replace the traditional pronouns he and she. By encouraging students to use nonbinary pronouns as appropriate, and educating students on how they are used in the target culture, teachers hope to make their classrooms inclusive, welcoming, and supportive.
People of Color & Allies Club (POCA) held its final meeting for this school year in June. The focus was a discussion of curriculum development and decisions with the directors of the English and History departments. Students asked questions about how curricular content and scope are shaped as well as instructional and hiring practices related to the representation of people of color. Thanks to Mrs. Andrews and Mr. Hoey for their participation and insight. POCA looks forward to more meetings and activities next year!
The Middle School Gender, Sexuality, and Allies Club had its final meeting on Tuesday, June 7th. GSA then celebrated the end of the year with a party. We had a large gathering of students in the LGBTQ+ community along with their allies in addition to many HMS staff members. In honor of Pride Month, students in GSA made and handed out ally ribbons for any student who took the HMS Student Ally Pledge. “How do YOU show your HMS pride” posters prompted a display to be set up in the windows above the main entrance. Students hung pictures to illustrate their personality, ethnicity, sexuality, fashion, and hobbies. To help their classmates learn more about pride month, students in GSA bought rainbow colored eggs, filled them with peanut-free candy, added a pride fact, and hid them around the school each Wednesday. In addition, students volunteered to read a pride fact-of-the-day over the morning announcements throughout the month. We wish our 8th grade GSA members all the best as they head up to the high school. We look forward to seeing our 6th and 7th grade students in September.
Thanks to the Hingham Pride Project, additional staff members now have a progress flag hanging in their classroom/office!
#CountMeIn - Hingham Middle School School Wide Theme 2022-2023
The 2022 One Book, One School selection for Hingham Middle School is the transformative middle grade novel, Count Me In, by Varsha Bajaj. The two main characters, Karina and Chris, narrate their story of friendship, cultural diversity, family, and grassroots activism. Karina and Chris witness a crime against someone whom they love dearly, Karina’s grandfather. This heartbreaking incident causes them to take a stand against hatred in their community. The topic, #CountMeIn is created by the character, Karina, as she uses social media to spread her message of tolerance and diversity. This book will be read this summer by students, their teachers, and all staff at Hingham Middle School. The 2022-2023 school year’s school-wide theme will be “#CountMeIn.” Thanks to the Hingham Education Foundation for their support, the OBOS Committee is able to plan some exciting events to celebrate this book and its themes, including a visit by the author herself in November and a World Cultures Night in the spring.
Ms. Jenna Nelson
Throughout my twelve years in Hingham, my teaching practice has been guided by the idea that students can learn if they are safe, are encouraged, and are provided with the tools that they need. I consider myself to be a lifelong learner in order to stay true to this since the field of education is constantly evolving as best practices are paired with science.
Being a member of the Equity and Inclusion Working Group is important to me because it is aligned with my values as an educator. To quote the beloved Maya Angelou, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” For this reason, I was compelled to create the middle school’s Gender, Sexuality, and Allies Club with Lindsey Troy, our inclusion facilitator. Together, we have created a safe space for our growing population of LGBTQ+ students and their allies. Our middle school students feel further supported and now have a safe and affirming space to build community and to navigate life as a middle schooler who is simultaneously determining who they are as an individual as it relates to their gender identity/gender expression and sexual orientation. I am already looking forward to how the students will shape GSA over the next year.