Dear Local Educators,
This week the Saratoga Springs City School District’s Board of Education had a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion workshop run by Superintendent Mike Patton, Assistant Superintendent Lisa Cutting, and DEI consultant Anna Muñoz. During the workshop, Cutting provided board members with information about the ongoing disparities in the district and some of the initiatives to curtail them. Muñoz then led the board members through exercises to help draw out biases that might hinder culturally-responsive and sustaining education. Muñoz highlighted how cultural knowledge is a scaffold for learning that embraces the unique identity of each and every student, and helps teachers and administrators to engage in self reflection.
As the district continues its training, we are here to provide resources and insights on the day-to-day work. It also serves as a reminder that it’s important to acknowledge and even embrace the discomfort that comes along with being part of a system that encompasses bias. We encourage you to reach out to colleagues to talk about this discomfort and to continue to support each other in the work of becoming more culturally responsive.
This month, we are highlighting the Transgender Day of Remembrance, which falls yearly on November 20, by sharing some resources about the day itself and for supporting transgender and gender-queer students in general. November also marks the celebration of Native American Heritage Month, and our resources will serve to help you recognize Thanksgiving in an honest and complete fashion.
Beginning this month, we will include an upcoming Events and Opportunities section at the end of every email, so make sure to scroll all the way through and check it out!
Transgender Day of Remembrance
- Teaching and Supporting Transgender Students. Black Lives Matter at School put together this compilation of general and age-specific resources. We invite you to peruse, learn, and use these great resources!
- Poetry Celebrating Trans Resilience. Curated by Forward Together’s Trans Day of Resilience art project, We Have Never Asked Permission to Sing is a collection featuring a variety of poetry and mini-biographies of the poets.
- A Guide to Being an Ally to Transgender and Nonbinary Youth. This guide is an introductory educational resource from The Trevor Project that covers topics and best practices on how to support transgender and nonbinary young people.
Native American Heritage Month and Thanksgiving
- Teaching Thanksgiving in a Socially Responsible Way. This article from Learning for Justice not only outlines the reasons for moving beyond tradition and myth but also provides many resources for educators.
- Decolonizing Thanksgiving Is An Oxymoron – Kids Books Dismantling The Myth of a ‘First Thanksgiving’. This article opens, “We want Thanksgiving to be a celebration of gratitude and generosity, a holiday celebrating diversity and togetherness. But can we honestly do that if we’re celebrating the tragedy and despair of people we continue to harm?” The author continues with a straightforward discussion and provides lists of a wide variety of books that both uplift Indigenous culture, celebrate diversity, and discuss the impact of colonization.
- Thanksgiving Mourning. In this lesson plan for secondary students from Learning for Justice, students will explore the perspectives of two Native American authors about the meaning of the Thanksgiving holiday and then write journal entries.
- Five Ideas to Change Teaching about Thanksgiving, in Classrooms and at Home. From the Smithsonian Magazine and The National Museum of the American Indian, a museum curator’s reflections and resources.
Events and Opportunities
- SEEN would love to invite you to the second session in our Critical Conversations series, on November 30, where the panel will discuss the interplay between Critical Race Theory and P-12 education. We will focus on what anti-racist education looks like, as well as how to counter the myths that Critical Race Theory is being taught in our schools and is synonymous with DEI work. Stay tuned to SaratogaEEN.com and SEENCares for more details.
- Learning for Justice is offering 90-minute professional development workshops for $15 on topics like “Teaching Hard History” and “Unpacking the Social Justice Standards.” Check them out and consider registering!
- All of the back issues of “The Scene with SEEN” can now be found on our website!
- Help spread the word to other educators by sending out our signup form!