November 29, 2017
Dear Hoover Families,
As fall winds into winter, many cultural celebrations have begun and there are many to look forward to among our beautifully diverse community at Hoover. As our access to the global community increases, it is more important than ever to understand and build awareness around the many rich cultural traditions and beliefs in our world and in our school community.
Building cultural awareness also builds empathy and when we understand and value the different strengths and perspectives that each culture brings to our community, it increases our ability to collaborate, which in turn increases learning and achievement. Recent research points out that cognitive function increases proportionately with the amount of diversity among a group. This is true for adults as well as children. Some of the ways we celebrate our diversity and uniqueness are through events such as Unity Day, Inclusion Week, buddy activities, school-wide picnics, staff appreciation events, our ABC reading program, and of course our culminating community event that happens in spring- The International Festival.
I am excited to introduce an additional way that we can share information about the cultures that enrich our experience at Hoover throughout the year in a fun and educational way for our students! We are calling it the Cultural Information Station project and parents and their children will be able to host them during the lunch recess between 12:00-12:40. ALL cultures are welcome!
Information stations are meant to be simple and easy for students to learn from. All you need to do is be willing and interested in bringing cultural artifacts, clothing samples, books, informational poster boards, posters, maps, language information, pictures of food/buildings/scenes, textiles, etc… to set up on tables in front of the ABC bulletin board. We will also be happy to set up the big speakers so that you can share cultural music for students to hear. Live music can also be played as long as it is by Hoover family members. You are welcome to design a simple art activity or share a cultural dance or games with students as well. Food, prizes, and treats will not be part of the station activities, which will keep the focus on building curiosity for the sake of learning.
We are working on a signup form that will be available through Konstella, so when you sign up others who share your cultural background can then join you. If you do not have access to the internet, please contact the front office at 650-320-8106, to let us know about your interest, or drop by the office to sign up on Konstella. Volunteers from all cultural backgrounds who are interested in supporting stations will be available as needed - just ask if you need help!
The week before an information station activity is scheduled, I will announce it during the Monday Message and encourage all students who identify with that particular culture to wear any traditional clothing they may have on that day in celebration. Students who are not from a particular culture but who have clothing from that culture that they would like to wear in support are welcome! It will also be published in the weekly Hotline section of the eNews.
A set of detailed guidelines is available below and will be sent home in Friday folders. The goal of this activity is to support our students in learning about the different cultural traditions and beliefs that enrich our community. Students may learn about religious traditions as well. The purpose of this is to develop understanding and compassion, not to indoctrinate or compare. It is beautiful to see students who do not celebrate a particular event wish those who do a happy celebration! If you are interested in hosting an information station, but cannot get to school during the noon recess, please make your interest known! You can contribute artifacts/music and coordinate with other volunteers to help! Alternately, you can schedule your station well in advance throughout the year, so that you can plan to take time to be at school.
I would like to thank the coordinators of the Diwali and Lunar New Year staff appreciation luncheons and our PTA president, Charu Gupta, for their thoughtful and caring collaboration in creating this opportunity for our families! At Hoover, we are continually searching for ways to strengthen our community, and as a result of this collaboration, we not only created the Cultural Information Station project, but we also designed an inclusive way to celebrate our hardworking staff! We will be asking PTA to fund four staff appreciation celebrations per year: The Back to School Night dinner, currently sponsored by PATS, two luncheons throughout the year, and staff appreciation week food and activities in May. We will rotate through different cultural cuisines with the help of PATS and volunteer coordinators. These are burgeoning ideas around which we are still working out the details, so if you are interested in helping, or have ideas/feedback to share about staff appreciation, please contact Amanda Steil at email@example.com.
I hope you will join in these exciting new activities! Please let me know if you would like to get involved or have any questions/ideas/feedback to share.
With deep gratitude,
Hoover Cultural Information Station Guidelines
Thank you for hosting an information station for our students! Please observe the following guidelines as you plan:
- Schedule the station in advance on Konstella. If you do not have access to Konstella, drop by the office to sign up or call the office for help: 650-320-8106.
- Ask other families you know to participate with you! If you need extra volunteers to help and you are not sure who to ask, say so on Konstella and volunteers will sign up to help.
- Arrive in plenty of time to set up your station. Anytime between 11:00-11:45, will work depending on how much time you think you will need to be set up by 12:00.
- We have a staggered lunch at Hoover. 1st and 2nd grade students eat first and remain at their benches from 12:00-12:10, while students in 3rd-5th grades can eat whenever they choose, but must be seated between 12:30-12:40 to either eat or get ready to transition back to the classroom. Please be prepared to host your station between 12:00-12:40.
- If you have a lot of volunteers, you may want to coordinate with the Kindergarten teachers to set up a mini-station in the kinder yard between 12:10-12:30 on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays (kinders are dismissed at 12:00 on Wednesdays).
- Put early requests into the office if you need to borrow speakers or an iPad to share pictures, etc...
- You are welcome to bring any of the following items:
- Home designed information boards
- Books/maps/language samples/posters/paper media
- iPads to share movies or pictures - if you do not have one, you may borrow one from the office - this must be prearranged
- Cultural artifacts - art/sculptures/unique cooking items/toys/dolls/clothing/utensils/historical artifacts, etc...as long as they are age-appropriate and are not weapons
- Music on phones or iPads to be put through a speaker system - If you need to borrow school speakers let us know early as they need to be set up.
- Wear traditional clothing if applicable and encourage your kids to as well.
- Simple art activities that can be done in a short period of time with the support of parent volunteers. All materials must come from station host.
- Equipment/materials to play simple cultural games
- Dance/music demonstrations - from Hoover family members
- Dance lesson/activity
- Simple activities - arranged by Hoover families that will be safe for 1st-5th-grade students.
- The following are not permitted in order to foster student safety and curiosity for the sake of learning, and to provide equity in station offerings:
- Food or treats of any description
- Prizes of any description
- Professionally hired performers/presenters/teachers/musicians
- Professionally hired games/effects
Please let Ms. Bimpson know if you have any questions about any artifact or activity before planning the details, or if you have an idea that is not included in these guidelines.