100 great days (ways) to bring Black History into the elementary schools

100 days with a spin!

I am all for celebrating math in school. I am all for celebrating school. I am just even more for finding ways to celebrate Black History today, and everyday.  So when Sam’s teacher sent home a blank piece of poster board with the instructions to create your own way to celebrate the #100 in honor of the approaching 100th day of school I realized we had hit the jackpot! I asked Sam who his favorite brown skinned athlete was–because he had already decided he wanted to do something about sports: Jackie Robinson! Continue reading “100 great days (ways) to bring Black History into the elementary schools”

Update: Transitions and beyond

This morning I reviewed and revamped the post I wrote too soon after a decision was put in place to move Sam to a new school in the new year. I was writing from a place that was not infused with the light and strength that this move and moment deserves on so many fronts. So, I have invoked the blogger’s prerogative and reset history. It is the Solstice Eve after all: a return to light. The new tilt, the hopeful and honoring version appears here.

Sam had a half day at the new school yesterday. His name was on his locker and desk when he arrived. His desk was placed right next to J’s desk, a strong and vibrant girl he spent his kindergarten year with.  A chocolately brown girl, one of six in his class, who said she’d look after him here. He reported that the teacher discovered what a great reader he was, and that he already was allowed to use the smart board (computerized white board essentially), and the document reader. His art teacher put him right to work on a new project. The calendar announcing who would share on what day for the month of January included his name twice, next to a new “almost best friend named…” The “firsties” newsletter announcing learning targets, and how to support the students in their math, and reading  over the winter break with long and short vowels, and other suggestions made this public school mama’s heart sing with anticipation of things to come. Sammy pleaded to go back the next day, and was more than a little crushed to learn he had to wait until January to start full time.

As we walked out of the building he asked if he could skip to the car. And, just before he launched into the air he turned to me and said; “You’re right you know. This school is as big as me.”

Believing in You (Mom Congress Parenting Magazine Post)

When I look at your portrait-I know that your teacher has done right by you. You know that a self portrait is indeed supposed to look like you. You have many different color brown crayons to choose from to make your skin and hair just right. You have books to read, and read to you  every day with characters that look like you. Characters that allow you to picture yourself in any role you may choose to assume in your grown up form.  You my love are brown and beautiful and brilliant. You can be the president, a baseball player, an engineer, or my secret dream-a teacher-one day.

I am committed to making sure your teachers, your administrators, your bus drivers, and everyone who has the honor to know you as one of their students see you in all of your radiant glory. I have been invited to facilitate a conversation with new teachers in our district on inclusive curriculum design, and identifying our own bias in the process. I am committed to making sure in the years to come, that all our teachers have the resources they need to know how to design meaningful curriculum for all students- and not just the ones that share their own cultural, racial, or ethnic background. I believe in this school district and the highly qualified and committed educators who make it the remarkable place that it is to work and learn.

I can see you at your graduation already babe, waiting for your last day portrait standing tall and proud. You will tower above any limitations, and be beyond radiant in your knowledge of all the places you can and will go. You will know what it means to be seen.  You will look out on the faces of all your teachers past and present with the recognition that they did right by you, as a dynamic learner, leader, and young man of color.

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