Connecting with Mrs. Cohen
Last week included a day off of school to celebrate the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Was your family able to do something to honor his work and legacy? I was able to virtually attend the St. Louis Art Museum's annual event, which I am including the link for in this message.
Something I have been pondering ever since is what would Dr. King think of where we are 53 years after his death? What have we accomplished, and, how am I contributing?
This past Tuesday I continued to think about this when I listened to our Kirkwood Educational Equity Speaker Series: BIPOC: What does it mean? This included a panel discussion with people that identify as Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) and how BIPOC leaders are seeking to leverage their own identities as well as resources, tools, and networks to advance anti-racist change.
This summer a very large group of Kirkwood School District staff (including myself) read the book How to be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi. Our weekly discussions were powerful. Staff, from all different levels of teaching, backgrounds, and beliefs, shared what the ideas in book around race and identity meant to them personally and for our students.
There is a version of Mr. Kendi's work called Stamped From the Beginning. This book is thought to be most appropriate for ages 12 and up. Because of this, there are other books to teach our Robinson children about racism listed below. There is also an amazing website from the Smithsonian's National Museum of African American History and Culture to help.
The Kirkwood School District has an Equity Task Force and there are guiding themes or objectives under which the action steps(65!) fall. Included is this one: We will engage our community to build shared ownership and responsibility for the success of all. I think this objective is one that drives some of my sharing here. These conversations can be difficult for us as parents and educators, but they are so necessary for our children to develop a healthy racial identity and to be a change maker.
Our kids --at any age-- can be a part of the change needed against racial inequities.
Also included this week is a free one-hour summit about mental health & the Corona virus and an article How to Overcome the Pressure to Always do More. The article is one that speaks to the pressure to overwork and over-commit that many of us are guilty of-- myself included!
Please reach out to our team if we can be helpful. Our counseling team's information is listed at the end of this message. Usually, the first place to start is with Ms. Harris or I-- as your student's school counselors--and we can direct you to someone else, if needed.
Take care and be well,
To read the rest of the Counselor's Newsletter, click here.