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March 2021

brendan_kearney.jpgGreetings, East High Families,

As February comes to a close, I want to acknowledge the students and staff who helped us to celebrate Black history and culture over the past month here at East. I also want to remind our community, as our students have often reminded us, that our school’s commitment to Black Excellence will not be measured by celebrations held in one month of the year but in the way that we honor and include our students and families at East everyday, all year long. The work of seeing that “diverse identities are celebrated and promoted,” as our EHS equity vision reads, is ongoing and there is much work to be done. 

I would like to share just one of the things that we are doing as a staff to further own personal learning around race, and therefore our capacity to meet the needs of our students. This Spring, staff are participating in a staff-wide equity read, in which each of us has chosen a text from a list of authors of color, centered around themes of race, equity and education, including but limited to the following:

-Cultivating Genius: An Equity Framework for Culturally and Historically Responsive Literacy by Gholdy Muhammad

-How Do I Begin? A Hmong American Anthology edited by Soul Vang

-Yolqui, A Warrior Summoned from the Spirit World: Testimonios on Violence by Roberto Rodriguez

-Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates

-Black Appetite. White Food: Issues of Race, Voice, and Justice Within and Beyond the Classroom by Jamila Lysicott

-A Pedagogy for Liberation: Dialogues on Transforming Education by Ira Shor and Paulo Freire

-The Sisters Are Alright: Changing the Broken Narrative of Black Women in America by Tamara Winfrey Harris

On Wednesdays, when our staff gather for professional learning, we engage in critical, reflective discussion of what we are reading and what it means for our work at East. We do so with the intention of moving beyond conversations to actions, and creating the conditions at East in which all students can thrive. 

This is not the only equity “work” happening at East, but it is one thing we are doing right now and I would like to invite you to join us in this conversation. If any of you has read and or would like to read any of these texts, and join members of our staff in this conversation we will find a time to gather later this semester. We have several students joining us in our staff-wide read already and we know that, like them, our families bring a different but equally important perspective to our work around our common goals as a school community. 

Thank you for your partnership, and as always, for sending your students to East High School. 

Brendan Kearney