Meeting #3 - April 16, 2019
How do we help our students see themselves within stories they encounter in school?
Windows, Mirrors, and More
Individually reflect on how you have seen yourself (or not seen yourself) in stories
In triads, take 10 minutes to discuss how you have seen yourself (or not seen yourself) in stories. Further, discuss WHY it’s important to see self and others in the stories? Why might an individual from an underserved, oppressed group need a story to be a blanket or an escape hatch?
INDIVIDUAL/WHOLE GROUP ACTIVITY
Use a post-it to capture a word to illustrate your feelings about seeing or not seeing self in stories.
Use a post-it to capture a word to illustrate seeing other or not seeing others on in stories.
LGBTQ+ Youth - Definitions, Statistics
WHOLE GROUP ACTIVITY-gallery walk
Take a moment to see what others thought. Do a Gallery Walk where you go and look at the post-it notes on display.
Presented and discussed SAS’s position on why it can be important for the District to allow ALL children to see themselves within stories that are read / told
It’s important that we are able to talk to our community about our commitment to support the use of stories as a means of allowing ALL students to see themselves in “mirrors” as part of the District’s curriculum.
In addition, it is important for students to learn through “windows” in order to empathize with other people in the world who are not like them.
Further, this “windows” and “mirrors” concept supports the Non-Discrimination resolution as stated by the Michigan Civil Rights Commission (MCRC) .
Also, Saline Area Schools is committed to our student attributes within and the mission of the Saline Area Schools Compass, including the "Ethical and Responsible Citizen".
In consultation with Mary Beno (Regional School Health Coordinator - Livingston - ESA) and Laurie Bechofer (MDE Sexual Health Consultant), the District has analyzed the issue of transgender students in trade books. We are recognizing that it is very important to support our students as it relates to language within the MCRC. This language addresses the notion that students, including those who are transgender, cannot be discriminated against on the basis of sex. And, it is the District’s interpretation that if transgender students are not allowed to be included in the stories that our students are reading, this will be a direct violation of that language.
Parents and/or Guardians have an option to opt out of any curricular activity (see 2240:Controversial Issues). However, it is NOT the District’s position to send some sort of “opt-out” form for any perceived controversial book.
- Many of you on the DEI Committee have had a chance to read or review the George text ahead of this meeting.
- This is a book that tells the story of a transgender student that 6th graders on the Summit team (approximately 120 students) had the option to read. The ELA teacher sent home information about the text to parents ahead of time. Many students (parents) chose to read George while others chose to read an alternate text.
- George is an example of this windows and mirrors concept. It is important for transgender students to see themselves (in mirrors) as part of the curriculum in our school district. It is also important for other students to develop an understanding (in windows) of other kids that are different from them.
Reviewed Board Policy: 2240 - CONTROVERSIAL ISSUES
The Board of Education believes that the consideration of controversial issues has a legitimate place in the instructional program of the schools.
Properly introduced and conducted, the consideration of such issues can help students learn to identify important issues, explore fully and fairly all sides of an issue, weigh carefully the values and factors involved, and develop techniques for formulating and evaluating positions.
For purposes of this policy, a controversial issue is a topic likely to arouse both support and opposition in the community.
The Board will permit the introduction and proper educational use of controversial issues provided that their use in the instructional program:
A. is related to the instructional goals of the course of study and level of maturity of the students;
B. does not tend to indoctrinate or persuade students to a particular point of view;
C. encourages open-mindedness and is conducted in a spirit of scholarly inquiry.
The Board recognizes that a course of study or certain instructional materials may contain content and/or activities that some parents find objectionable. If after careful, personal review of the program lessons and/or materials, a parent indicates to the school that either content or activities conflicts with his/her religious beliefs or value system, the school will honor a written request for his/her child to be excused from particular classes for specified reasons. The student, however, will not be excused from participating in the course or activities mandated by the State and will be provided alternative learning activities during times of parent requested absences.
The Superintendent shall develop Administrative Guidelines for dealing with controversial issues.
In a whole group setting, discuss these “bulleted” points under
Questions for Future Consideration
Consider making sure that teachers present the “known” tradebooks (in a large group setting) that are part of their curriculum at the beginning of the year so parents can research content and decide if they want to exercise 2240 in any capacity. If a teacher becomes aware of tradebooks that they will be using to instruct in a whole group setting, they will make parents aware.
In the future, should 2240 be communicated to parents by way of the Acceptable Use Policy (AUP) or student handbooks?
* Discussed the need to continue with our definitions for diversity, equity and inclusion AND discussed the need to further define and establish the mission of this Committee. This will be the focus of the next meeting on May 8th.