By Christina Rios, Director of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion
From September 15th to October 15th, we celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month to recognize the contributions and influence of Hispanic Americans to the history, culture, and achievements of the United States.
As part of our school-wide DEI read alouds, 3rd through 6th grade students read the story Areli is a Dreamer, written by Areli Morales, who is a DACA recipient, and illustrated by Luisa Uribe, who lives in Bogotá, Colombia. This is Areli’s immigration story about being a child of two worlds – a Mexican citizen by birth, but raised as an American who is now living her American dream. The 3rd through 5th grade classes engaged in conversation with Mr. Espino, and 6th graders engaged in conversation with Mrs. Rios and Dr. K about DACA, immigration, and citizenship.
Students shared their knowledge of these topics and made personal connections with family experiences of applying for a visa or being born in another country. They also sympathized with Areli’s experiences in traveling to a new country and not speaking English at her new school in New York. We also guided discussions with students to help them reflect on events they are seeing in the world and in the news and how those compare to Areli’s experiences in the book. Several children commented on current events related to migrants trying to enter the U.S. and the Supreme Court’s ruling on DACA.
We will also observe Hispanic Heritage Month in all classrooms through various stories, lessons, and discussions. As part of 1st grade’s “Person of the Day” study, teachers are highlighting Latinx and Hispanic individuals including Roberto Clemente, Frida Kahlo, Salvador Dalí, Selena, and Sonia Sotomayor. Morning Meeting discussions are also focusing on various aspects of Hispanic heritage, and read alouds will include My Papi Has a Motorcycle, by Isabel Quintero, and Where Are You From?, by Yamile Saied Méndez.
In 5th grade, students will research Latinx and Hispanic countries and create a presentation to share what they have learned with their class. Some of the areas the students will focus on are the country’s history, its land and climate, the people and population, its culture, the economy and government, and influential people.
Stay tuned for more information about how we will celebrate Dia de los Muertos!