Interaction with learners

How a School District Developed Educational Resources for Hispanic Heritage Month and More

When Creighton School District teachers prepare lessons and student learning activities during National Hispanic Heritage Monththey access high-quality resources through their digital curriculum dashboard.

“We know representation is important, and if we can have a team working to create strong materials that represent our children, their families, and their heritage, our teachers will be able to put together meaningful lessons that connect with children,” said Dr. Eric Dueppenacademic director for the 138-year-old school district that serves approximately 5,400 students in kindergarten through eighth grade in the heart of downtown Phoenix

These educational resources, which are a work in progress, are developed as a result of a working group focused on access, diversity, equity and inclusion.

“Through the work of this group, it became very, very important to make sure that we not only celebrated and honored, but also created systems and tools that were readily available to our teachers and students that really empowered them. to interact with, meaningful content, where they could see themselves represented, and they could learn and deepen their understanding of the experiences of Hispanics as well as others who reflect the diversity of our community,” said Dr. Dueppen.

Students in the Creighton School District participate in activities during National Hispanic Heritage Month. Photo courtesy of Creighton School District

Martha Hernandezcoordinator of special projects for innovation in the arts and sciences at Creighton School District, led the effort to create the Resources page to teach and celebrate the diversity of our community with input from a team of teachers. Educators can easily access these resources on the Creighton Program Dashboard, and the resources are highlighted in Creighton Connection, a weekly email newsletter that staff members receive.

Resources for National Hispanic Heritage Monthwhich runs from September 15 to October 15, are the most developed at this time, but resources for National Native American Heritage Month in November, Black History Month in February, and Asian Islander Heritage Month in the Pacific in May will arrive soon, Hernandez said..

“We’re very inclusive and bringing in more people from the equity committee on how to support and get those voices heard,” Hernandez said.

What is included in the resources

Resources include Arizona Department of Education resources for teaching the history of Indigenous Black Peoples of Color, primary source materials, access to the National Archives at the Library of Congress, videos, documentaries, and more from the Smithsonian, lesson plans, text sets that can be adapted to students’ reading levels, articles, units, videos and interviews in Newsela, and learning activities that can be used in small groups or for whole class and grade-adjusted by Discovery Education and Education Northwest.

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Creighton School District resources for teaching and celebrating the diversity of our community. Courtesy of Creighton School District

“The links we provide in the page were chosen very strategically, because we wanted different documents, videos and lesson plans that teachers could click on and drill down on,” Hernandez said.

For instance, Newsela allows a teacher to change an article’s Lexile to match a student’s reading level, but the content won’t change, “so we can still have rich conversations about the same article,” Hernandez said.

Discovery Education has a Hispanic Heritage page where educators can find a video, quiz, slideshow or other resources to use in their lesson or learning activity, Hernandez said.

These resources have been carefully reviewed and educators are encouraged to use them throughout the school year.

“There is a culture of fear among educators when trying to figure out how to address issues of diversity and representation, especially given some of the recent laws and policies that are coming out regarding access to educational materials and to libraries,” said Dr. Dueppen.

“We want to make sure our teachers know and understand that we have a process for vetting teaching materials, and we have taken steps to ensure that these resources are not only appropriate for use with children, but that they are actually great to use with kids,” Dr. Dueppen said.

A teacher’s perspective

Teachers can “determine if the resource is something you can just offer students” or if they need to modify it for their class, Ms Giorgina Rizzo, fifth grade English teacher Gateway School in Creighton School District.

“These resources are wonderful,” Rizzo said. “These resources are things that we can use with the reading standards or the literature standards or the speaking and listening standards.”

“We can implement them all year round,” Rizzo said. “They’re wonderful, they’re accessible, we can use them with iPads, or we can use them on paper.”

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An example of student work during National Hispanic Heritage Month. Courtesy of Creighton School District

Rizzo said she also uses these resources with the art club she runs after school.

“We create bulletin boards around the school highlighting successful Latinos who have fought for our community. They are politicians. They are artists. These are people who look like us, who have similar backgrounds to us,” Rizzo said. “We create art projects and biographies so that the students of the school can learn more about these people.”

“We hope that by doing this and creating these message boards, people can be more exposed to the successful Latinos in our community who have changed the world,” Rizzo said.

Rizzo said an art club discussion of artist Frida Kahlo “ignited a whole conversation about art and disability.”

Having these conversations with students in a space to honestly ask and answer questions, and “letting students do the research in a space where they feel safe and they feel supported is so important,” Rizzo said. .

During class, fifth-year language arts students at Rizzo spend time researching individuals each week and how they support their community. Last week they learned more about Cesar Chavez.

“It was really cool for the students to find out who he was and to learn that he was helping the workers in Arizona in particular, because he was from Arizona,” Rizzo said.

And after

As this is the first year the resources are available to educators, Hernandez said she would like to highlight what teachers have been doing in their classrooms, what schools are doing, and student achievement. on the resources page in the future.

“One of the things I’m looking at is bringing what’s happening this month, like videos, lesson plans, actual results of how we celebrate Hispanic heritage because we’re celebrating at within the community.

That way, educators can tap into “different ideas so we can really promote what’s going on in the Creighton School District,” Hernandez said.

“We always talk about how we share our work,” Hernandez said.

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Students from the Creighton School District participate in a learning activity during Hispanic Heritage Month. Photo courtesy of Creighton School District

“I would really like to see it become places to celebrate and showcase student work for students to perform their poetry, students to share their writing or art or even their explorations of notable personalities through history or history contemporary,” said Dr. Dueppen. .

“These resources, while intended to have an ultimate impact on children, what they also do is inform us all as educators about people we didn’t know, contributions we we haven’t seen and it really helps to break down the existing barriers that are kind of tied to our implicit bias,” Dr. Dueppen said.

“As we intentionally provide examples that celebrate and honor these remarkable human beings, I realize how much it enriches us all as a community of learners and that includes adults,” Dr. Dueppen said.

“A curious teacher can arouse the curiosity of his students. These resources pique the curiosity of our teachers,” said Dr. Dueppen.

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Students from the Creighton School District participate in a parade during National Hispanic Heritage Month. Photo courtesy of Creighton School District