Culturally Responsive Sustainable Education

“To love all children, we must struggle together to create the schools that we are taught to believe are impossible: schools built on intersectional justice, anti-racism, love, healing, and joy.” – Dr. Bettina Love

P.S. 31 Celebrates Diversity and Strives to Build the Impossible.
The P.S. 31 PTA takes the pledge to support Black lives in our community all year long.

P.S. 31 Culturally Responsive Team is composed of administration, staff and parents. The CRE Team meets monthly (on the first Friday of every month) to discuss inclusion, diversity and equity awareness and how to support teachers and parents in culturally responsive activities and education. The CRE recognizes and celebrates individuality and diversity with monthly community Padlets and A Book of the Month.

CRSE’s November Work

November’s Book of the Month: Alexandra Penfold’s All Are Welcome

As we celebrate Thanksgiving this month, P.S. 31 is taking a careful look at how we discuss and celebrate the holiday with students. We are working together to honor a more accurate portrayal of this historical event and focus on the Native American narrative that is less stereotypical and more diverse by studying Native American lifestyles and traditions.
               This is just a small step in a long journey to foster a Culturally Responsive Environment.

Focus: What are you thankful for?
To continue the conversation at home, here are a few resources and links that have been shared with our staff that would also be helpful to parents.

  1. How to Honor the Real Story of Thanksgiving with Kids. 
  2.  Debunking Thanksgiving Myths with PBS
  3. Teaching Thanksgiving in a Socially Responsible Way.
  4. Check out this Conscious Kid Post about that connect the past to the present. Indigenous centered children’s books
  5. Thanksgiving Interactive: You are the Historian Game

CRSE’s December Work:

December’s Book of the Month: Let’s Celebrate! Special Days Around the World by Kate DePalma

Let’s not only represent a variety of holidays in our school but also celebrate unique traditions within the same holidays.

Focus: What traditions make your family special?

Check Out: Celebrating the Holiday Season in a Culturally Responsive Way.

CRSE’s January Work:

January’s Book of the Month: Love is Powerful by Heather Dean Brewer

How can we create a meaningful Black Lives Matter in School Week of Action in person and virtually? (Begins February 1st)

Empowering Educators: A Guidebook on Race and Racism

Focus: What are your 2021 goals?

CRSE’s February Work:

February’s Book” Speak Up by Miranda Paul

Lunar New Year begins on February 12 this year!

Why does it matter that we call it Lunar New Year and not just Chinese New Year?

Because many communities in Asia and in the Asian diaspora around the world celebrate this significant holiday! By calling it Chinese New Year, multiple groups who celebrate it too are excluded. Already, the Asian community experiences so much erasure and over-generalization. Let’s not perpetuate that. Language matters and impact matters. […] Being Asian is not a monolith. Do not over-simplify or over-generalize our identity. In the past several weeks, I’ve seen Lunar New Year book posts shared with books with just any Asian character. Not all Asians celebrate Lunar New Year, and not all books with Asian characters or Asian food is a Lunar New Year book. And YES, we need A LOT more cultural representation in books about LNY. Lunar New Year usually falls on the second new moon after the winter solstice, and occurs sometime between mid-January to mid-February. It is a time of amazing food, family togetherness and newness.

Windows and Mirrors: A mirror is a story that reflects your own culture and helps you build your identity. A window is a resource that offers you a view into someone else’s experience.

Applying Black Lives Matter in School principles into our everyday lives, celebrate our differences and work together to ensure that everyone is treated fairly and with respect.

Representing what makes each of us special, spreading positivity and kindness and reaching out to a classmate or friend that may look sad. It can be as simple as saying “Hello”! Respect for all Week.

Focus: Who is someone that inspires you?

CRSE’S March Work

March’s Book of the Month: Fearless Flights of Hazel Ying Lee by Julie Leung.

Resources to Celebrate Women’s History Month!

Planning a CRE workshop for parents and teachers.

Supporting and Empowering our teachers with facts and resources.

Simple strategies to ensure culturally responsive classrooms.

Why we say Black and not African American.

It’s time to talk about Dr. Seuss.

Focus: If you could spend the day with a woman you admire, who would it be and what would you do?

CRSE May Work:

CRE June Work:

Book of the Month: Just Ask by Sonia Sotomayor

June is Pride Month

  • “The slogan and artwork below—created in 2018 by a New York City high school student, Jillian Roed, for the 2018 School Wellness Campaign Contest—represent a creed that is foundational to our work to build healthy schools, students, and communities that respect diversity, equity, and inclusion. This month we unite as a resilient community to highlight the people and organizations who continue to speak out publicly against LGBTQ+ injustice today. To those who continue to struggle in silence: We hear you, we see you, we love you.” – The NYC DOE Family and Community Empowerment (FACE)

Additional Resources to Extend Culturally Responsive Education at Home

Speak openly. When we are honest with children about our country’s history of bigotry, sexism and stereotypes, we help prepare them to challenge these issues when they arise. A child who knows the racial history of the Confederate flag, for example, is less likely to brandish that symbol out of ignorance.
Model equity. As parents, we are our kids’ first teachers. When it comes to teaching tolerance, actions speak louder than words. When you say that boys and girls are equal but refuse to buy your son an Easy Bake Oven because it’s a “girls’ toy,” what message do you send?
Do something. Take a stand when you witness injustice. Challenge racism, bigotry and stereotypes, and encourage your child to take action, too. Silence and inaction in the face of bigotry condone it. With regard to offensive mascots, for example, hold a petition drive, write an editorial in the school paper, organize a boycott of the school supply store — do something to make a difference.” – From Dana Williams’ Teaching Tolerance: Beyond the Golden Rule.

Dana Williams has tips for every age child as well as checking our own biases.

READ Together

Children need books that allow them to see themselves and their own experiences, allow them to see the world of others, and allow them to enter other worlds.
Here are our P.S. 31 PTA Book Suggestions: *We always recommend you preview content prior to introducing it to your child.

Books Celebrating Differences:

We’re Different, We’re the Same by Bobbi Kates (Story Read by Sesame Street’s Gordon).
I’m Like You, You’re Like Me by Cindy Gainer, A PK-110 Pick
The Day You Begin by Jacqueline Woodson.
Intersection Allies: We Make Room for All by Chelsea Johnson.
Sulwe by Lupita Nyong’O.
Looking Like Me by Walter Dean Myers (Virtual Read Aloud Here).
Love by Matt de la Pena.
You Matter by Christian Robinson (Virtual Read Aloud by Christian Robinson Here).
Lovely by Jess Hong (Virtual Bilingual Read Aloud Here).
Different is Awesome (Living One Handed) by Ryan Haack.
The Smallest Girl, In the Smallest Grade by Justin Roberts.
I Promise by Lebron James (debuts on August 11th).

Books that give us a glimpse into another person’s world:

Last Stop on Market Street by Matt de la Peña (Virtual Read Aloud Here).
The Barefoot Book of Children by Kate DePalma and Tessa Strickland.
Mommy’s Khimar by Jamilah Tompkins-Bigelow.
A Bike Like Sergio’s by Maribeth Boelts.
Jabari Jumps by Gaia Cornwall.
Young Pele by Lesa Cline-Ransome.
Wings by Christopher Myers (Virtual Read Aloud Here).

Holidays and Traditions:

Seven Spools of Thread: A Kwanzaa Story

Walk This World at Christmastime by Debbie Powell

Daddy Christmas & Hanukkah Mama by Selina Alko

A World of Cookies for Santa by M.E. Furman

A Christmas Cookie Exchange by Sheri Wall

Tree of Cranes by Allen Say

The Broken Ornament by Tony DiTerlizzi

The Christmas Coat by Trace Wilkins Francis

All-of-a-Kind Family Hanukkah by Emily Jenkins

Books to Begin Conversations About Kindness, Empathy, Compassion and Acceptance:

Sparkle Boy by Lesléa Newman (Virtual Read Aloud Here).
Come With Me by Milly M. McGhee.
We’re All Wonders by R.J. Palacio.
A Chair for My Mother by Vera B. Williams (Virtual Read Aloud Here).
I Walk with Vanessa: A Story About a Simple Act of Kindness by Kerascoët.
Those Shoes by Maribeth Boelts and Noah Z. Jones.
When Charley Met Emma by Amy Webb
The Name Jar by Yangsook Choi.
Say Something by Peter H. Reynolds
Strictly No Elephants by Lisa Mantchev.
I am Jazz by Jessica Herthel.
Listening with My Heart: A Story of Kindness and Self-Compassion by Gabi Garcia.
Maybe Something Beautiful by Isabel Campoy and Theresa Howel.

Books Addressing Black History and Racism:

A Kids Book About Racism by Jelani Memory.
Ron’s Big Mission by Rose Blue and Corinne Naden.

Freedom on the Menu: The Greensboro Sit-Ins by Carole Boston Weatherford.
Sewing Stories by Barbara Herker.
Let’s Talk About Race by Julius LesterSeparate is Never Equal: Sylvia Mendez & Her Family Fight for Desegregation by Duncan Tonatiuh (Virtual Read Aloud Here).
Malcolm Little by Ilyasah Shabazz.
Beautiful Blackbird by Ashley Bryan (Virtual PBS Read Aloud Here).
Standing On Her Shoulders: A Celebration of Women by Monica Clark-Robinson.
Lizzie Demands a Seat!: Elizabeth Jennings Fights for Streetcar Rights by Beth Anderson.
Let the Children March by Monica Clark-Robinson.
Not My Idea by Anastasia Higginbotham.

Black Lives Matter At School NYC
Revolutionary Love in the Classroom

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Buy BLM T-shirts and stickers:
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