Interested parents are invited to attend STRIDE meetings. We meet one Wednesday each month at 8:10 AM in room 305. The next meeting will be February 13, 2019. Please come and join us and hear what’s going at school with regards to diversity. At the end of every meeting there will be an opportunity for parents to speak about issues they feel are important and contribute to this very important work.
STRIDE, the PS 58 Diversity Committee, is a working group primarily comprised of teachers, administration and staff working to promote a culturally responsive curriculum within our school and adapt both curricular and extracurricular programs to be more representative of the diversity within our Brooklyn community and society at large. Although the group initially grew out of the diversity initiatives on the School Leadership team (SLT), we are now an independent group that has been working since last school year to assess diversity related programs that already exist at PS 58 and find out where we can improve as a school. Since our initial work as part of the SLT, the District 15 Elementary and Middle School Superintendent Anita Skop has mandated that all D15 schools have a diversity committee, adding additional importance to our work and to the potential interest of parents in what we are doing as a school to address these issues.
Katie Dello Stritto, Annique Leman and Stephen Cedermark are working on a school-wide vertical diversity curriculum inventory. Each grade team of teachers at PS 58 has taken an inventory of the different ways that our curriculum addresses diversity. Using this information we have created a school-wide resource list within each grade. This list is a living document that is used and amended to enhance student awareness of different populations in our community and the world at large. This document also aids in coordinating efforts across classes, sharing best practices, and identifying areas where diversity initiatives could be enhanced. Additionally as a group we are working on opportunities for teacher and staff professional development that address issues relating to diversity and bias. In fact the focus of staff development meetings for the entire 2018-19 school year is diversity.
Katie Lapham and Susan Voelker comprise the Diversity Resource Inventory team. We are currently creating lists of diversity-minded books; one for teachers and students in grades 3-5 and the other for grades K-2. Our intention is to select books that are culturally responsive, multicultural and address race and gender issues. The lists will indicate where in the building the books are located throughout the school so that teachers can easily access them.
See the current book lists.
Lara Lai and Joan Bredthauer are working to improve parent communications on diversity-related happenings at PS 58. Toward this end, they've added this page to the PS58 website, and will be sending out updates periodically via Konstella.
The China Institute visited classrooms in mid-January. In this interactive workshop children learned about the largest wooden architectural structure and largest enclosed palace in the world: the Forbidden City in Beijing, China. Through additional games, movement activities, discussion, and an animated video, children will learn not only how nature influenced and inspires Chinese culture and the building of the Forbidden City, but also how nature can inspire and nurture us in our daily lives.
-Trip to Jin Fong Restaurant for Dim Sum coming up in February!
Celebrating Black History Month gives us a chance to not only celebrate and recognize the contributions of well known civil rights activists such as MLK Jr. and Rosa Parks, but to go beyond and expose our students to African American musicians, poets, dancers, actors, authors, etc. so that every child can connect to and learn from the amazing contributions of the African American community. For example, we are implementing diverse books in our library and read alouds, playing music (i.e.jazz, hip hop), reading poetry by African American authors, and continuing to find ideas to revise our practice for equity and diversity.
In 2nd grade, we have been looking at history through a social justice lens. As we study how New York City has changed over time, we have been looking at multiple perspectives of what life was like long ago and how those perspectives have created our rich and diverse communities of today. To support this, we have included field trips such as the Tenement Museum and Weeksville Heritage Center as a way to introduce our students to multiple narratives of the New York experience. Our read alouds also tell stories from different communities and time periods in New York City, including a look at Chinatown, Harlem, the Lower East Side.
During the Black Lives Matter Week of Action, third graders will be exploring readings featuring important figures in history that have helped fight for freedom and equality of African Americans, such as Nelson Mandala, Ruby Bridges, Harriet Tubman, and Martin Luther King Jr. Students will then work with each other to connect these readings to the Black Lives Matter principles, such as empathy, restorative justice, diversity, etc.
The third grade curriculum complements these principles directly through our Social Studies work. Throughout the school year, students study the culture and geography of different countries around world. Highlighting different religions, traditions and holidays gives students the chance to see the world through a new lens. This is especially thanks to in-class programming and field trips, which brings the learning to life and allows third graders to experience food and traditions of other cultures first hand.
Additionally, in Writing Workshop, third graders are currently writing their own fairy tale adaptations to breathe new life into traditional tales. Students first studied the traditional European tales and noticed stereotypes that exist within the texts, including gender roles and the general lack of diversity depicted through the characters. Next, students read and studied a few authentic fairy tales and folktales from other continents which truly brought many of these stereotypes to light. Students are encouraged to not only keep these lessons in mind and to push back against these stereotypes as they adapt a tale of their own, but also as they move forward into their everyday lives.
During the month of February, fourth grade studies the achievements and tribulations of Colonial America. As a grade, we spend a great amount of time teaching and exposing students to colonization- what it is and the effects of it on existing lands and people. We have class discussions and pose essential questions that challenge students to think critically and analytically about power.
This year, we invited our fourth-grade students to challenge the master narrative often found in curriculums that teach the history of white colonists only. We are exposing children to and celebrating the tremendous efforts in the role of Africans in the establishments of the British colonies (later, America). We are using this social studies unit as a way to build the reading and writing work of students too.
In Reading Workshop, students are reading historical fiction books as book clubs. Students have a chance to research a time period (Ex: Aa Civil Rights - 1920s-1960s) as they read a shared text in a small group. Clubs come prepared to read and discuss, growing new insights about the characters and the world around them. In writing, fourth graders are writing historical fiction journals where they take on a character who lives in a time period that relates to the time period their book club is reading about. Students are challenging themselves as critical thinkers as they write stories as an individual from the past whose voice/story has not been shared or heard fairly. Some ideas include writing as an African slave working in Jamestown, VA and an African American student who is part of a school integration in Little Rock, Arkansas.
We are excited to dive into this work with our students and show them the importance of some key Black Lives Matter principles: globalism, intergenerational and collective value.
To strengthen student connections with Black History and the Black Lives Matter movement, fifth grade will use comprehensive, relevant read alouds and articles to spark discussions during Black History month and the BLM week of action. We will highlight important, contemporary Black artists, mathematicians and activists with the intention of helping the students think more critically about history. Additionally, students will work to create connections between current events and history during our weekly residency with the Anne Frank Center for Mutual Tolerance and Respect. We aim to foster student thinking about the role privilege plays in society, and help our school community evaluate how we can have an impact as allies, upstanders or bystanders in our daily lives.
Specialty teachers foster empathy and appreciation of other cultures and peoples. We incorporate diversity and equity through discussion, music, read aloud, posters and videos.
Sophia Yarosh has organized a Lunch Club program for students. Sophia, along with Samra Cekic, Louise Connolly, Courtney Kiernan, and Lori Mendez are coordinating these lunch clubs which are led by PS 58 staff and cover various topics around diversity. These topics among many include gender identity, managing stress, bullying & gender, standing up for justice, non-traditional families, understanding stereotypes, middle school admissions-- what’s fair? Children are free to sign up for the lunch clubs offered during their lunch period. The lunch clubs will meet over several sessions, giving children a safe space to discuss and reflect upon issues that matter to them.
|Teaching for Black Lives||Edited By Rethinking Schools: Dyan Watson, Jesse Hagopian, Wayne Au|
|Us and Them: Understanding Your Tribal Mind||David Berreby|
|White Fragility: Why It's So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism||Robin DiAngelo, Michael Eric Dyson|
|Pushout: The Criminalization of Black Girls in School||Monique Morris and Mankaprr Conteh|
|When they Call You a Terrorist: A Black Lives Matter Memoir||Patrisse Khan-Cullors and Asha Bandele|
|Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America||Ibram X. Kendi|
|The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America||Richard Rothstein|
|The Radical King||Martin Luther King and Cornel West - editor|
|The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Color Blindness||Michelle Alexander and Cornel West|
|Race: How Blacks and Whites Think and Feel about the American Obsession||Studs Terkel|
|We Were Eight Years in Power||Ta-nahisi Coates|
Katie Dello Stritto, Annique Leman, Stephen Cedermark, Sophia Yarosh, Samra Cekic, Louise Connolly, Courtney Kiernan, Lori Mendez, Katie Lapham, Susan Voelker, Jana Trenk, Cynthia Blackwell, Shenandoah Ferreira, Lara Lai, Joan Bredthauer