Callenges of the week 2008 - 2009

Equity Challenge for Two Weeks
(5/18/09– 6/5/09)
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Personal & Institutional:
Work together to eliminate race, class, and disability as predictors of student success in the Ithaca City School District:
  • Make a list of all the effective practices you have been using to close the education gap in your classroom or office, on your bus, or in another educational setting.
  • Add to this list any effective practices your school, department, or other organization unit has been using to push this work forward.
  • Share your list at a grade-level meeting, team-meeting, and/or staff meeting, and ask others to add to the list.
  • Brainstorm ways you can help each other in these efforts, individually and as a department, team, grade-level, or building.
  • Send me an e-mail and tell me how I might be able to give you support: bderfel@icsd.k12.ny.us >
*Don’t skip the e-mailing step! I want to collect all of this information (data) to help me get better at my job and to help each of us see a district-wide perspective on all the work that has been done. *



Equity Challenge for Two Weeks
(4/20/09 – 5/1/09)
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Personal:
Send home a note to families asking them to write a short answer to the following prompt:
  • What are your hopes and dreams for your child’s last two months of school? How can I help make these happen?
Make an extra effort to collect these from all of your students. If you work with middle school or high school students, you might have each student complete this, too:
  • What are your hopes and dreams for the last two months of school? How can I help make these happen?

Institutional:
Get everyone on your team, department, grade-level, or other organizational unit to send this out. Bus drivers might send them home with children on their routes. Cafeteria staff could hand them out in the lunch line. After two weeks, meet to share what you learned about your students and their families.

Send me an e-mail and tell me how this works out:
bderfel@icsd.k12.ny.us


Equity Challenge for Three Weeks
(3/23/09 – 4/10/09)
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Personal:
Read through the “Acts of Kindness and Justice” brochure that staff developers and ESP’s created a few weeks ago. Choose three ideas to share with your students, and choose one idea to do on your own. Whether you work with students in the cafeteria, on the bus, in an office, or in the classroom, you should be able to find acts of kindness and justice that fit your role as an educator.

Institutional:
As a team, department, grade-level, or other organizational unit, read through the “Acts of Kindness and Justice” brochure together. Choose three ideas to work on together as a group, both with students and with colleagues. At the end of two weeks, get back together and talk about the results of your efforts.

Click here for brochure

Send me an e-mail and tell me how this works out:
bderfel@icsd.k12.ny.us


Equity Challenge for Two Weeks
(2/23/09 – 3/13/09)
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Personal:
Take 10 minutes this week to engage students in talking about disability. Elementary educators could do this during morning meeting, instead of reading aloud one day, or when you find yourself finishing one activity but not really having enough time to do another complete lesson. Secondary educators could do this during home-base or family group, in just one class, or even during cafeteria duty. Bus drivers might do this with the students sitting in the front seat before everyone else has boarded, and secretaries might do this when students are waiting in the office to be picked up. Find your growing edge, the place where you just begin to step out of your comfort zone when talking with students about disability, and think about what it is that makes you feel uncomfortable.

Institutional:
Take 10 minutes this week to engage some of your colleagues in talking about disability. This might be done in the staff room, during a grade-level or team meeting, with the other people in your office, etc. Find your growing edge, the place where you just begin to step out of your comfort zone when talking with colleagues about disability, and think about what it is that makes you feel uncomfortable.
Send me an e-mail and tell me how this works out:
bderfel@icsd.k12.ny.us


Equity Challenge for Two Weeks
(2/2/09 – 2/13/09)
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Personal:
Think about the five students in your class, or classes, who are the least successful. What are their particular learning styles? What are each of their unique interests and experiences? In the next two weeks, intentionally use teaching strategies and methods that you think will address these different students’ learning styles, interests, and experiences. At the end of two weeks, look at the work they turned in and reflect on what you notice. Were these students more successful than usual? Did your teaching strategies and methods have a positive impact on any of the other students in your class or classes? If you are a bus driver, secretary, cafeteria worker, or other staff member who does not work in the classroom, think about 5 students whom you don't really know very well. Try out some new approaches to get to know them a little bit better.

Institutional:
Get everyone on your team, department, or grade-level to do this. Discuss the teaching strategies and other methods you used that were different than usual. Discuss the impact this had on the particular students you were focused on, as well as on the other students you work with.

Send me an e-mail and tell me how this works out:
bderfel@icsd.k12.ny.us



Equity Challenge for Two Weeks
(1/20/09 – 1/30/09)
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Personal:
King (1967) writes, "In a real sense, all life is interrelated. The agony of the poor impoverishes the rich; the betterment of the poor enriches the rich. We are inevitably our brother's keeper because we are our brother's brother. Whatever affects one directly affects all indirectly.” (pg. 181)
  • If he were alive today, how do you think Dr. King might re-word this quote so that it would no longer be sexist?
  • How does this quote relate to Ithaca in 2008?
  • What do you think Dr. King would want us to do about poverty in Ithaca?

Share this quote and the three questions with the students you work with. Teachers of very young children may need to change some of the words (see example below). If you are a bus driver, secretary, or other staff member who doesn’t work directly with students in a classroom, you might post this in your workspace and encourage students to share their thoughts with you.

Institutional:
Talk about this quote with your colleagues.

Send me an e-mail and tell me how this works out:
bderfel@icsd.k12.ny.us

Quote taken from: King, M.L. (1967). Where Do We Go From Here: Chaos or Community? Beacon Press: Boston, MA.

For younger students:
In 1967 Dr. King wrote that “all of us are connected. Poverty hurts everyone, even people who are rich.”
  • What do you think Dr. King meant by this?
  • What do you think Dr. King would want us to do about poverty?



Equity Challenge for Two Weeks
(1/5/09 – 1/16/09)
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Personal:
Take time to explicitly communicate high expectations to the students you work with, and to communicate your belief in their ability to successfully meet these high expectations. Consider both academic and behavioral expectations. All of us who come into contact with students can find ways to communicate these beliefs.

Institutional:
Take 10 minutes this week to engage some of your colleagues in talking about high expectations for all students. This could be done in the staff room, during a grade-level or team meeting, with the other people in your office, or even during something like bus-duty. Find the places where you share common beliefs and explore some of the places where you have differing expectations.

Send me an e-mail and tell me how this works out:
bderfel@icsd.k12.ny.us




Equity Challenge for 11/24/08 - 12/12/08
Click Here



Equity Challenge for Two Weeks
(11/10/08– 11/21/08)
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(This challenge requires access to a computer and the internet. If the school district has not assigned one to you, all of our school libraries and the Tompkins County Public Library have free access.)

Personal:
Find out about the “Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Build,” to see if you are interested in joining this effort. Go to the following wiki site: http://mlkcommunitybuild.wikispaces.com/
Once you are there, be sure to check out the “curricular content” page.

Institutional:
Get everyone on your team, in your department, in your office, or in your work space to do this challenge.

Send me an e-mail and tell me how this works out:
bderfel@icsd.k12.ny.us



Equity Challenge of the Week
(10/21/08 – 10/31/08)
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Personal:
Take time this week to engage students in talking about race. If you are an elementary school teacher, you could do this during morning meeting, instead of reading aloud one day, or during one of those times when you find yourself finishing one activity but not really having enough time to do another complete lesson. In secondary schools, this could be during home-base or family group, in just one of your classes, or even during cafeteria duty. Secretaries, bus drivers, aides and assistants could try this during any of those times when you find yourselves talking to a small group of students. Find your growing edge, the place where you just begin to step out of your comfort zone when talking with students about race, and think about what it is that makes you feel uncomfortable.

Institutional:
Take 10 minutes this week to engage some of your colleagues in talking about race. This could be done in your office or break room, the staff room, during a grade-level or team meeting, on bus-duty, etc. Find your growing edge, the place where you just begin to step out of your comfort zone when talking with colleagues about race, and think about what it is that makes you feel uncomfortable.
Send me an e-mail and tell me how this works out:
bderfel@icsd.k12.ny.us



Equity Challenge for Two Weeks
(10/6/08– 10/17/08)
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Personal:
Now that school has been in session for a month, think about 3 – 5 students that you don’t feel like you know very well. These can be students in your classroom, on your bus, students who you see in your office, etc. Write their names down in your daily planner or on a sheet of paper in your work space. Each day, make sure to have a brief conversation with each of these children, and put a check mark by each name on your list.

Institutional:
Get everyone on your team, in your department, in your office, or in your work space to do this challenge.

Send me an e-mail and tell me how this works out:
bderfel@icsd.k12.ny.us



Equity Challenge for Two Weeks
(9/22/08– 10/3/08)
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Personal:
When speaking with students (whether on the bus, in the lunch line, in your office, or in the classroom) use inclusive language that affirms different kinds of families and different kinds of homes:
  • “Since some of you live in more than one house, apartment, or trailer, tell me if you need two copies of this note to bring to your families.”
  • “I know some of you live with a grandparent, or two moms or dads, or a foster family, or a mom and a dad, so please give this sheet to the adult or adults who care for you.”
  • “If your family needs to get in touch with me and they don’t have access to a phone or e-mail, ask them to send me in a note and I’ll be sure to write one back.”

Institutional:
Get everyone on your team, in your department, in your office, or in your work space to do this challenge. Make a list of additional phrases that are inclusive and post them in your office, classroom, or bus as a reminder. Send these lists to Barry and he’ll post them on the ICSD Equity Webpage.

Send me an e-mail and tell me how this works out:
bderfel@icsd.k12.ny.us


Equity Challenge of the Week
(9/9/08– 9/19/08)
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Personal:

In one of your home-school communications this week, include the following information:

"I know that it is often difficult to make ends meet with the weekly family budget. Often two jobs don't quite pay enough and sometimes unanticipated expenses, like a broken washing machine or car, add to this difficulty. For any school-related trips or supplies that cost money, please let me know if you would like our school to take care of this for you. I will respect your privacy and won't ask any questions. Of course, you are welcome to share any information with me that you would like me to know about. You can send me in a note, give me a phone call, or even stop by in person. What's most important is that your child be successful in my class."


Institutional:
Get everyone on your team, in your department, in your office, or in your work space to do this challenge.
Send me an e-mail and tell me how this works out:
bderfel@icsd.k12.ny.us