Dear Hillcrest Community,
Welcome back to this unique school year! My hope is that we are all finding ways to manage the multiple competing priorities and stressors we are experiencing during this challenging time. I wanted to communicate that part of my role this year will be to lead class groups with each grade, concentrating on both social emotional learning, and anti-racism curriculum that I have developed over the past year. This curriculum will be influenced by sources such as Black Lives Matter, Teaching Tolerance, Toolbox and Restorative Justice.
Our middle school students will continue to be offered their weekly group this year, as part of their regular schedule. However, I have added to our group content more discussion related to the events of this past summer pertaining to police violence against Black people and people of color, and exploring racial bias, prejudice and discrimination. These groups are process groups aimed at deepening connection with one another, practicing social skills such as listening and reflecting empathy, and increasing awareness and appreciation for differences in identity, lifestyle, and culture. Fourth and fifth grade students will partake in bi-monthly groups that also have content heavily focused on anti-racism, connection, and a deeper appreciation for the diversity of every person and family in our community.
And lastly, our K-3 students will be engaging in bi-monthly groups that teach primarily through diverse literature recommended by the OUSD Office of Equity, and discussion prompts that involve both learning words associated with developing a lens of anti-racism (such as prejudice, diversity and discrimination),and helping to become connected through appreciation of differences and diversity within our community.
An example of a prompt that might be discussed in 4th-8th grade groups is the following:
- On a scale of 1-10, how much do you think your race shapes who you are/your life experience this far?
- Why did you answer this way?
- Can you share a specific memory of a time that someone made a judgment about you because you were Black, white, Latino, African, Nepali, gender non-conforming, etc.? (This could be about skin color, race, religion, gender identity.)
- What are you thinking or feeling after hearing each other's stories?
- Do you think this is something we should keep talking about, or learning about? Why or why not?
An example of a book we will read and discuss in our K-3 groups is the following:
My Hair Is A Garden by Cozbi A. Cabrera
Each grade’s curriculum has been developed at an age appropriate level given my clinical experience with child development and clinical work with kids. However, I acknowledge that each child is different, and the range of development is variable. Should you have any questions or concerns, you may always feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. It is an honor and privilege to continue my work with your children, and the community as a whole this year.