Checking In: Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Sharon's Elementary School Curriculum
In last week’s blog post we highlighted some of the ways in which Sharon Elementary Schools have made a concerted effort to include more lessons around diversity, equity, and inclusion into the curriculum. Karen Woods, the K-5 Social Studies and Science Curriculum Coordinator for the Sharon Public Schools, continues this conversation below.
Books to be used in the curriculum during the upcoming school year (pictured below)
I have purchased the books pictured below to be used in social studies units. These lessons are being developed as we align to the new standards. Myself, the ELA coordinator, and the librarians continue to keep diversity and representation in the forefront of our minds as we purchase new books.
Lessons about identity incorporated into the social studies curriculum at all grade levels
Over the last couple of years, teachers at the elementary level have used the book: Being the Change, by Sara K. Ahmed, as a guide to developing lessons on identity, and facilitating difficult conversations. The district purchased a book for every teacher in the district. This book, and the lessons within, have been used for discussions at staff meetings and are incorporated into many social studies, ELA, and SEL lessons. Examples of some of the lessons include: creating an identity web, writing “Where I am from” poems, learning about bias and microaggressions, and a routine called “What’s my news?” which we are using at the fifth grade level for students to explore “news” they are interested in and inviting them to think about how to learn more about this topic and possibly take action.
Here’s an example from a lesson about identifying yourself and pushing back against how other people might try to identify you:
Professional Development in May from Primary Source Focused on Teaching Hard History and Difficult Conversations
Staff for grades K-5 will be participating in a PD (professional development) with trainers from Primary Source later in May. This PD will involve learning more about the “Teaching Hard History Framework” from Learning for Justice. Staff who primarily teach grades K-2 will focus on how to use literacy to have honest conversations with kids about race and justice. Staff who work with grades 3-5 students will work on how to have difficult conversations and how to proactively set up a culture of belonging and a safe space to have these discussions throughout the year.
While all of this work is exciting, we are certainly not done. This work is ongoing. As the current K-5 Social Studies Curriculum Coordinator, I will support teachers in examining the 2018 MA History and Social Science Framework to see where the overlap between the standards and DEI work lies. As a staff we will continue to analyze our curriculum to ensure that content includes many perspectives, especially from historically underrepresented groups in history. Finally, we will purchase resources that represent our community, as well as utilize community partnerships to bring the knowledge and experiences of our community members into the classroom.
If you would like to get more involved with DEI initiatives in the schools, you may consider joining the K-12 Education subcommittee within SREA. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in joining the next meeting.