4/15/19 Spotlight on Learning: Preventing Discrimination @ RHS
Mon, Apr 15 5:47pm
Redwood Heights Elementary

Available now! Our 2019-2020 OUSD Calendar: https://www.ousd.org/districtcalendar


Hello Redwood Heights Parents,

There have been a series of recent incidents at our school involving students’ use of racial slurs.  As principal I take these matters very seriously, and so does our RHS staff.  We had a staff meeting to discuss and explore how to support students when they experience discrimination based on their race, gender identity, disability, or expression by students in our community. I want you to know that ALL the staff agreed to commit to doing everything in their power to end discrimination based on race, gender identity, disability, or expression at Redwood Heights School.

Parents, I need a commitment from all of you all to do everything in your power AND to work with us as a unified RHS community to end all discrimination based on race, gender identity or expression, and disabilities.

Next Steps for RHS: Focus On Racism

  1. Ongoing Professional Development and Staff Reflection

We have begun to initiate actions to address this matter. As a staff community, we had a training on implicit bias and are starting the process of engaging in conversations about racism at RHS.

At our next teacher professional development we will be discussing and choosing lesson plans about derogatory language based on race which will be taught the week of April 15 and 22. We will also begin searching for best curricula/tools for teaching about/exploring bias in the classroom and on the play yard. This work is also reflected in our Redwood Heights School Site Council (SSC). We are in the midst of creating a RHS Equity Collective and will undergo a process to create a RHS equity mission statement.

  1. Parent Discussion Circles and Education Nights

For the remainder of the year, parent discussion circles and education nights will be scheduled. These will be opportunities for parents to meet at the school and discuss issues related to race and equity. A professional facilitator will hold a Restorative Practice called a Discussion Circle with the theme of talking about racism at RHS. During the discussion circle, parents will have the opportunity to discuss their experiences and hear from other parents. We are also planning a parent ed night on focused on how to talk to your child about race. Look on Konstella in the upcoming weeks for dates and information.

If you need resources, below is a bibliography and list of information from our HUGS Counselor, Ms. Jennifer Willson.

As principal, I am deeply committed to working with each of you to create a safe and supportive environment for all students.  Addressing unconscious bias and structural racism requires courage and commitment from each of us. I thank you for being on this journey with all of us. I welcome your participation in this ongoing process of self-reflection, community dialogue and action.  Please feel free to reach out to discuss your questions and concerns.

With gratitude,

Cynthia Bagby-Ellison, Principal.


Resources for educators and parents:

  • Raising Race Conscious Children

            Blog for parents and educators about raising kids to think critically about race


  • Re-Thinking Schools

            Great books for kids and adults centering marginalized voices Rethinldngschools.org

  • Race, the Power of an Illusion

            Interactive site and videos about the construct of race


  • Do Something-ideas for actions for older kids Dosomething.org
  • Conversations about Police Violence


Resources about Whiteness and Anti-Racism:

  • Implicit Association Test implicit.harvard.edu/implicit/takeatest.html


Additional Training Resources:


  • Ta-Nehisi Coates
  • Debbie Irving
  • Allan Johnson
  • Mab Segrest
  • James Baldwin
  • Tim Wise
  • Robin DiAngelo

Books for Kids

Books for grownups

  • Waking Up White - Debbie Irving
  • Between the World and Me - Ta-Nehisi Coates
  • The New Jim Crow - Michelle Alexander
  • Dog Whistle Politics - Ian Haney Lopez
  • Born to Belonging - Mab Segrest
  • Privilege, Power, and Difference - Allan Johnson
  • Understanding White Privilege: Creating Pathways Authentic Relationships Across Race - Francis E.              Kendall
  • The Hidden Wound-Wendell Berry
  • What Does It Mean to Be White in America? Breaking the White Code of Silence: A Collection of   Personal Narratives - Gabrielle David and Sean Frederick Forbes (Ed)



  • Eula Biss  “Let’s talk about Whiteness” on The On Being Project

Other Websites

            Quiz: www.newsreel.org/guides/race/quiz.htm