In the Little Reds…
·In the second week of December, Members of the Black Student Union (Gabi Dorsey, Tavianne Maultsby, Logan Void, Nettsaanett Gray, and Brylen Hatcher) came to talk with the 2s and 4s about Kwanzaa- they read books, sang songs, and did arts and crafts. They’ll come and talk to the 3-year-olds next week!
 In the Lower School…
·         On Dec. 6, Lower school teachers had their 3rd professional development session of the year in which they were provided a binder of resources to get the conversation going about diversity and inclusion related topics with students! Take a look at those resources here. They also set goals about practices they’d like to implement in their classrooms, and got a copy of the book “Blindspot” to read and reflect about the biases that we all hold.
·         4th grade has an awesome board about the different parts of themselves that they like- including different eye and hair types! They also wrote descriptions about what they love about themselves.
·         Do you still have questions about the lower school affinity group for girls of color called “Brown Girls Rock”? If so, Akailah M. will be at the 8 AM Lower School Parent Network meeting on January 17th to
answer any questions that you may have.
We will also discuss strategies for explaining the group to your children, and hear from students in upper school about why the group would have been meaningful for them at that age.
·         In Ms. McAsian’s first grade art class, students have begun their self-portrait unit! They learn how to draw curly, straight, and braided hair, as well as how to represent texture visually. They discuss the differences in eye, skin, and hair color and read the book “Shades of People”.




In the Middle School…
·On Dec. 11, Akailah M. came to talk with Ellen Krich’s 6th grade English students about Jim Crow laws in conjunction with their reading of “Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry”. They looked at examples of household items from the Jim Crow Era in order to grapple with the idea of how such practices became normal. They asked great questions and had wonderful ideas!
·On Dec. 7, Middle School GSA met with Upper School GSA in order to talk through ways that they can continue to work together. One specific initiative that the group continues to push forward on is a gender-neutral bathroom at RPCS. The initiative has been approved and a sign will be placed on the bathroom near the Sinex that states “All Genders”.
·On Dec. 4, Middle School Diversity Club played a great interactive game about different hair types created by 8th grader Erin Hoskins! There were conversations about products and tools used for different hair types, and discussions about what hair has looked like through different eras.
·On Dec. 10, middle School faculty members had their 2nd professional development session with Akailah M. on Monday, Dec 10. The session was on “Teaching Black Girls”, and faculty was presented with data about Black students in particular and discussed practices that we can all use to be more inclusive. They also all got a copy of the book “Blindspot” to read and reflect about the biases that we all hold.
·Mrs. Allen’s 6th grade French students recently completed a study of Francophone countries and regions around the world. Francophone countries are countries where French is the official language of the country. These countries represent people from a variety of backgrounds, complexions, etc.
· In Ancient History, Mrs. Hoffman’s 8th graders recently completed a unit on Judaism and the Israelites.  The essential question for this unit was “How did early Jews develop and maintain a distinct cultural identity?”.  Students discussed the monotheistic nature of Judaism versus the polytheistic religions of Egyptians and Mesopotamians.  Over the course of the unit, students learned about the unique beginnings of Judaism and the early hardships they faced that shaped their course in history.  In conjunction with this unit, we assigned an article of the week entitled, “The word Jew was not a common insult when I was in school…it is now.” 
In the Upper School…
  • On Dec 7, Middle School GSA met with Upper School GSA in order to talk through ways that they can continue to work together. One specific initiative that the group continues to push forward on is a gender-neutral bathroom at RPCS. The initiative has been approved and a sign will be placed on the bathroom near the Sinex that states “All Genders”.
  • In the second week of December, Members of the Black Student Union (Gabi Dorsey, Tavianne Maultsby, Logan Void, Nettsaanett Gray, and Brylen Hatcher) came to talk with the 2s and 4s about Kwanzaa- they read books, sang songs, and did arts and crafts. They’ll come and talk to the 3-year-olds next week!
  • On Dec. 5, Upper school teachers had a DEI-related PD session led by Carolyn Parker (Director of Counseling), Robin Prescott (math teacher), and Akailah M. about the importance of building relationships with students. Surveys were given to students prior to the session so that teachers were able to consider their opinions about how to best build relationships with them.
  • Students in Ms. Rivkin’s ceramics class are creating a range of diverse pieces, including Greek amphorae, Native American wedding vases, and Chinese agateware.
  • On Dec 6, students who attended the Student Diversity Leadership Conference in Nashville (Olamide Oyenusi, Logan Void, Amy Eisenberg & Caroline Kleis) presented to upper school students about what they learned. They led them through a series of activities to get them thinking critically about their identities, including a staring exercise, mapping out their own social identifiers and how they feel about them (gender, socioeconomic status, family structure, age, race, etc.) and practicing speaking from the “I” perspective.