Week of September 5, 2016

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One of our School Improvement Plan (SIP) goals is to bring an understanding of perspectives and diversity to our community.  I loved this middle school activity where students were asked to write 6 word memoirs titled “Put Yourself In Their Shoes.”  Please stop by the 6th grade team’s bulletin board to read their responses.

As we all know, having friendships with people from diverse backgrounds can have social, emotional, and academic benefits for children.  A study was conducted and it found that “students who perceived their teachers as warm and respectful were more likely to maintain cross-race friendships instead of gravitating only towards students of their own race.” (Educational Leadership, September 2016, vl 74, 8)  We should feel proud that our school community has a staff that establishes supportive, trusting classroom climates that nurture meaningful friendships for all students no matter what the race, religion, etc.

If you would like to read the abstract about this research study titled, ” The Hidden Role of Teachers: Child and Classroom Predictors of Change in Interracial Relationships” please click on the link below:


The Week At A Glance:

Monday, September 5th:
No School!  Labor Day!
Tuesday, September 6th:
ASE Classes begin
Wednesday, September 7th:
Yearbook pics
Thursday, September 8th:
Yearbook pics (Grades 6/7 through PE class)
Friday, September 9th:
Yearbook pics

Upcoming Dates:
Sept 13th – Ident-A-Kid
Sept 15th – Discount Cards $ (or cards) due
Sept 21st – K-7 Flu Clinic
Sept 23rd – 6th Grade Ropes Course Field Trip (1/2 grade level)
Sept 28-30 – 5th Grade Barrier Island Ropes Course
Sept 30th – 6th Grade Ropes Course Field Trip (1/2 grade level)
Oct 3rd – NO SCHOOL – Holiday
Oct 4th – Parent Advisory 7:30 p.m. at HS
Oct 7th – Elementary Spirit Friday/Kindergarten Teddy Bear Parade
Oct 7th – HS Homecoming
Oct 11th – CSD Kickball Tournament and Family Festival
Oct 12th – No School; Teacher Workday
Oct 28th – Parade of Fiction
Oct 31st – No School; Teacher Workday
Nov 1st – No School; Teacher Workday
Nov 3rd – Elementary Day of Dead Celebration (Spanish)
Nov 4th – Elementary Spirit Day
Nov 8th – Parent Advisory 8:30 a.m. at HS
Nov 14h – 7th Grade Africa Day
Nov 11th – NO SCHOOL – Veteran’s Day Holiday


CSD 1st Annual Kickball Tournament and Family Festival – KICKBALL REGISTRATION IS NOW OPEN… register on the festival website.  There is a elem staff team, MS staff team, and HS staff team.  It is going to be a wonderful evening of community and school spirit.  Scholarships are available for staff, please let Joyce know if you are interested in a scholarship.

Please note the dates for our Staff Meeting. We have specifically highlighted our Love and Logic ® sessions. We will be learning the 9 Essential Skills for the Love and Logic Classroom: Low Stress Strategies for Highly Successful Educators ®throughout this year.  Please make sure you bring something to take notes.  We will meet in the Elementary Gym.

Please pay special attention to our Mandatory EOG Training on May 10 not May 3.

Teaching Tips with Marianne

Joy shared this article with us from the New York Times and I thought it was a good read in keeping with our talks about perspectives.  We did order copies of Kwame Alexander’s books and plan to do some book talks in your classrooms.

Kwame Alexander on Children’s Books and the Color of Characters

Author’s Note

At a book signing for “Surf’s Up,” my newest picture book about two frogs searching for the perfect book, a librarian approached me. “I have African-American kids and white kids in my library,” she began, “and in order to know which group to read it to, I need to know what color are the frogs?” I had to laugh to keep from crying.

It was a question I was becoming accustomed to hearing. The first time I encountered it was a few months after my novel “The Crossover” was published. A very enthusiastic Texas teacher told me she was planning to read the book to her upper‑­elementary-school students. She praised its rhythm, rhyme and relationships and thanked me for writing a story that would engage her students, especially the boys. Then she asked me, “What color are the main characters, Josh and JB?” There was an awkward pause. She continued: “I need to know their race, because I know my students will ask.” I told her to email me after she finished reading the book to her class and, if indeed they were curious, I would answer her question. When she did contact me again, it was to say: “You were right; they didn’t ask.”

Without a doubt, the public- and private-school students in Dallas and Pasadena and Aurora, Ill., who read “The Crossover” know the race of the main characters — as do the students I’ve worked with in Singapore and Ghana. But it doesn’t matter to any of them. They all believe I am writing about them. Why is this so much harder for the grown-ups? Is race the only lens through which we can read the world?

When we segregate literature, we focus only on mirrors. Certainly, seeing yourself in books is necessary and crucial to the development of identity — my sisters and I proudly found ourselves between the pages of Nikki Giovanni’s “Spin a Soft Black Song” and Lucille Clifton’s “Everett Anderson” series — but not allowing those same books to serve as windows into the lives of others will most certainly limit imagination and possibility.

When Claudia Rankine writes, “Because white men can’t / police their imagination / black men are dying,” she is identifying a direct correlation between a young reader’s exposure to other communities and cultures and that same young reader’s ability, as an adult, to imagine a world outside of their vision — a world where black boys in hoodies are just boys in hoodies who breathe, talk, dance, eat, laugh, love and smile just like the rest of us. Is it a leap to wonder if a white police officer might think twice before pulling the trigger on an unarmed black man if his bedtime stories as a child included “Each Kindness,” by Jacqueline Woodson, or Naomi Shihab Nye’s “Come With Me”? Or any book by Ashley Bryan, Niki Daly, Eric Carle, Lesa Cline-­Ransome and all the other authors who honestly and beautifully reflect the kind of world we claim we want for our children?

The mind of an adult begins in the imagination of a child.

If we don’t give children books that are literary mirrors as well as windows to the whole world of possibility, if these books don’t give them the opportunity to see outside themselves, then how can we expect them to grow into adults who connect in meaningful ways to a global community, to people who might look or live differently than they. You cannot.

Am I saying that poetry and literature are the answer to Baton Rouge and Dallas and Orlando and Charleston? No. But their capacity to entertain, enlighten and empower — all at the same time — is an answer, and without them, we most certainly obstruct our children’s vision. And, as Christopher Myers wrote in these pages, we fail to provide a more expansive landscape upon which children can dream. You can’t know what you don’t know, my father always says.

To construct a truly American imagination, children’s book creators must accept the responsibility of planting seeds of diversity and equity. Of empathy and unity. Book publishers must provide the vast fields of hope for us to do our work. And librarians and teachers must continue to water them, nurture them, grow them.

There is a seismic shift of tolerance and understanding happening in our country in general, and in children’s literature in particular. Authors are calling on publishers to introduce more diverse books and writers into the marketplace, with themes and characters that truly reflect and represent the variegated world we live in.

We are at a crossroads, trying to figure out what’s next, and in order to get to the other side, we have to wade in the water. Perhaps, this is us reckoning with our muddy past, crossing over the River Jordan. Even some of the antiquated questions being asked, some of the objectionable books that are being published, might, oddly, be necessary blunders that bring us closer to becoming more human. Like our students.

I go to read “Surf’s Up” to my daughter’s second-grade class. After the presentation, I look out into the sea of brown and peach and tan and olive-faced students and, with the sternest conviction I can muster, ask, “So, students, what color are the frogs?” Their response is swift and loud, and a matter of fact: “GREEN, SILLY!”

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