We're getting close to the end of the school year for some of you, and for others, you still have a couple of weeks. It's been quite a year. But starting Memorial Day weekend, which is next weekend, it feels like the school year is winding to a close.
This week was fun as I watched my daughter do what she loves the most. Her school had its annual track and field day. Watch out for Summer 2032, Brisbane, Australia! I'm hoping that I will have a future Olympic star at home.
I'm wrestling with just one thing this week. No matter what we say, what language we use…last weekend was one of the deadliest in the U.S., and I've seen very little news coverage.
Did you know that 65 people were shot last weekend? And 17 people were killed. People who lived in a community, neighbors, parents, grandparents, and people going about their lives.
Where did these incidents take place? Just everyday places, such as a grocery store, a flea market, a church, an after-hours pub, and a park. The incidents occurred everywhere, from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Buffalo, New York, Chicago, Illinois, Laguna Woods, California, Winston Salem, North Carolina, Amarillo, Texas, Dallas, Texas, and Houston, Texas.
The U.S. has also lost 1,000,000 people to death from COVID. And yes, some of them may have been unvaccinated, and some may have had comorbidities, but some were perfectly healthy.
Some of our students may have lost family members. Some of their family members may have lost jobs. Our students may have moved due to job changes or family circumstances, including death or divorce. If we value our students, we can't just push through and imagine everything is okay.
Because COVID is only 2 ½ years old, we've not grappled with the long-term impacts of Long Covid, but studies are showing that some people are affected beyond the time that they were ill. It's not back to normal for those students. We can't treat things as usual because the pandemic is still with us.
If we value our students, we need to center them and put them first - and part of that includes finding out what their needs are and doing our best to meet those needs. We absolutely need more counselors in our schools and our communities.
My guest on the Art of Advocacy Livestream this week was Popsy Kanagaratnam. She's an ABD doctoral candidate researching the experience of international teachers working in the U.S. K- 12 system and a content creator here at the Leading Equity Center. I met Popsy when she took my Teaching Through A Culturally Diverse Lens course in the summer of 2019.
Popsy Kanagaratnam came to care about equity issues from watching the unequal treatment of students at schools where she taught. She listened to the language used by teachers to describe their students and wondered about the impact this had on the teacher and the student. Here are some highlights of our wide-ranging conversation.
We talked about framing how we view our students and the importance of centering our students. We also spoke about the alphabet soup of acronyms. Kanagratnam suggested doing the work but not calling it a label. She shared an example of a group with whom she did an Action Learning project which demonstrated that students developed SEL skills through Action Learning. And we discussed the uneven impact of standardized testing, especially on students who are new to the country.
I don't say this often enough, but if you are a current teacher or you will become a teacher, you deserve a shout-out for making things better. I appreciate you, and I value you.
You might want to watch the Livestream for yourself if you get a chance.
I'm enjoying these Livestreams, and I hope you are too. As always, I value your feedback and would love to hear your thoughts.
P.S. Are you an educator in Illinois? I'm coming to you! Check out this upcoming training happening in August!
Every Friday you can expect a small and informative message from the Leading Equity Center. The Weekend Voice is meant to challenge your thoughts of education today and to provoke you to take action in your schools.