Diversity Committee Minutes – 5/31/2016

Hello everyone,

Happy first day of June!

Last night, we held our last DC meeting of the year, where our incoming co-chairs, Crystal Perry and Martha Hornthal, introduced themselves.
Bradley updated us on several items, including:
A new diversity-related survey, which will be finalized and sent out to the EVCS community next week.
A new pilot admissions program for District 1. A few people volunteered to form a subcommittee to plan how best to engage our community in this pilot and to gather educational resources and material.
DreamYard, which has held 2 (out of 6) sessions with the 3rd and 4th grades thus far with very favorable feedback (at least from my own son Ismael, who has been loving it!).
Camille gave an update on afterschool, wth a reminder to take the survey currently up, and a preview of what to expect in the fall.
Finally, after discussion with current and incoming co-chairs, I think I will probably be shutting this listserv down at the end of June. Most of our announcements and info can be disseminated through the website, the PA listserv or other EVCS communications–which would also ensure that we’re reaching the entire EVCS community anyway.
Anyway, thanks to all of you for an amazing two years!
All the best,

“Controlled Choice” admissions policy, EVCS Recap, CEC Meeting Tomorrow

Dear EVCS families,

Following two town hall meetings, a school wide survey and much discussion, EVCS leadership, which includes the SLT and the PA Executive Board, have decided to move forward with a statement that we feel best expresses our position as a community on the proposed resolution to support a “Controlled Choice” admissions policy in NYC School District 1. The resolution was developed by the CEC, or Community Education Council, to present to Chancellor Carmen Farina at the Town Hall meeting this coming Tuesday, Feb. 23. (For more information on attending the meeting, which offers childcare, visit the CEC website at cecd1.org.)

A total of 134 people took our survey, and while more families than not supported signing the resolution, and particularly supported the goals of “Controlled Choice” toward providing a high-quality integrated education for District 1 students, many parents expressed questions and doubts about the resolution and how it best supported a workable roll-out of the proposed policy. These were considered substantial enough that EVCS leadership decided to not sign the resolution in its current form, but instead developed the alternate statement below:  Continue reading

Diversity Committee Guest Speaker: Children Are Not Colorblind

Guest Speaker Ama Codjoe – Topic: Children Are Not Colorblind

Ama explained that parents often state “My children are colorblind.” She asked the group what they thought the danger of this statement is, then explained that children miss out on struggles of others, empathy and activism. Part of our jobs as humans is social change. Parents in the group pointed out that the danger is also that children don’t appreciate the differences or nuances and may miss out on culture. And or they may choose to go to what is familiar – kids go to what they know. Ama explained that by age 9, racial attitudes are formed.  We need to be proactive about cultivation. She also stated that defining yourself is up to the individual, but how someone sees you is different. There is a system that is beyond self.  It is important to name it so kids don’t feel blame and guilt.

Ama then asked the group to think about when the last time they had had a discussion about race was.

The group then participated in role playing scenarios and discussed the interactions and communication that resulted. Ama recommended further resources on the topic:

The People’s Institute for Survival and Beyond: http://www.pisab.org (I think this is what she recommended, but am confirming)

Border Crossers – trains and equips educators to be leaders of racial justice  http://www.bordercrossers.org

Here is Ama Codjoe’s handout, with further reading and resources, from her workshop after the general PA meeting on Oct. 22.

Role Play East Village Community School / Facilitator: Ama Codjoe (ama_codjoe@hotmail.com)

Recommendations: adapted from Border Crossers


Affirm the child
Continue the conversation
Apply a racial equity lens


Educate yourself (see reading list below!)
Dialogue with other parents about race, the impact of systemic racism, and parenting
Analyze school structures through a racial equity lens (how is your school a partner in “undoing racism”?)
Partner with others, build alliances
Be proactive

Further reading:

  • Courageous Conversations About Race: A Field Guide for Achieving Equity in Schools, Glenn Singleton and Curtis Linton
  • Everyday Antiracism, edited by Mica Pollock
  • Other People’s Children, Lisa Delpit
  • Multiplication Is for White People, Lisa Delpit
  • Anti-Bias Education for Young People and Ourselves, Louise Derman-Sparks & Julie Olsen Edwards https://www.naeyc.org/store/files/store/TOC/254.pdf
  • Can We Talk About Race? And Other Conversations in an Era of School Resegregation, Beverly Daniel Tatum
  • Another Kind of Public Education: Race, Schools, the Media, and Democratic Possibilities, Patricia Hill Collins
  • When Affirmative Action Was White: An Untold Story of Racial Inequality in Twentieth-Century America, Ira Katznelson
  • Beyond the Whiteness of Whiteness: Memoir of a White Mother with Black Sons, Jane Lazarre
  • Deculturalization and the Struggle for Equality, Joel Spring
  • Educating Teachers for Diversity: Seeing With a Cultural Eye, Jacqueline Jordan Irvine


Scenario 1

Your white son Christopher is having a play date with a child from his school. You overhear Christopher say to Luis, a Puerto Rican boy, that he will play the good guy and Luis has to play the bad guy. When Luis asks why, Christopher says, “Because you’re black.”


Scenario 2

You attend an open house for your child’s school and on display are self-portraits. As you observe the portraits, you realize that your child, an African-American girl, has drawn herself as a blonde girl with blue eyes.


Role-play solutions.

What do you do (short-term and long-term)?


Get feedback.

Feedback Questions (from Border Crossers):
What worked? How do you know?
Was race directly addressed? If so, how?
What suggestions do you have for improvement?

PA meeting and Diversity speaker tomorrow, Thursday, October 22

Please join us Thursday, Oct 22, evening

5:30 Refreshments in lobby
6:00 PA news and business in the auditorium
6:30 Speaker Ama Codjoe

What are the dangers of the “colorblind” myth? How can parents talk to their children directly about race? What stops us from having these conversations? Parents will leave the interactive session with an understanding of why talking with children about race is important and having practiced how to have tough conversations about race, difference, and privilege. Come ready to share, risk, learn, and listen. In preparation for our time together please read (and bring) the attached PDF, “Children are Not Colorblind: How Young Children Learn Race”.

Ama Codjoe was raised in Youngstown, Ohio with roots in Memphis and Accra. Ama is the Director of the DreamYard Art Center in the Bronx, NY. She was a Presidential Fellow at Ohio State University where she received her M.F.A. in Dance Performance and a graduate of Brown University. Ama has led anti-oppression trainings and workshops for the DreamYard Art Center, Pratt Institute, and the New York Collective of Radical Educators (NYCoRE).

Childcare and pizza will be provided (free!). Please RSVP by 10/21/15 at 5 PM

Childcare will start at 5 PM for those children who RSVP and are participating in EVCS after-school on Thursday

welcome back! from Diversity Committee

Hello everyone,

Hope you all had a wonderful summer and a (relatively) smooth transition back into school this morning.
A few people in the playground asked me today about the diversity committee and any updates, so here you go: Michelle and I are looking forward to continuing as co-chairs this year, and we are planning to bring two speakers–one in the spring and one in the fall–as well as organizing a child-centered event later in the year. We also want to facilitate informal affinity groups, such as the adoptive parents and perhaps a single-parent group, as in our survey last year that these families indicated they could use additional inclusion and support.
Our survey results also indicated that we need to keep working to educate families on how DOE policies impact diversity, inclusiveness and the equitable distribution of resources in schools. The School Diversity Accountability Act was passed in the spring–yay!–and we are interested in seeing what the Act’s first mandated report on diversity will show when it comes out in December. (James sent a link to an interesting article on this a few weeks ago; here it is again in case you missed it: http://www.nydailynews.com/opinion/lander-torres-breaking-cycle-school-segregation-article-1.2326463) We also hope to reach out to the newly hired Senior Director of School Culture and Climate, Kenyatte Reid, to let him know of our work and develop a relationship.
In addition, we are exploring Border Crossers as a possible faculty resource for how to address and discuss race in the classroom and other issues of diversity and inclusion. Stay tuned.
We have some new families at EVCS who may be signing up for our listserv, so I will be sending a introductory email after our first PTA meeting next week, with further updates as we ease back into scheduling, school events, budgets, plots and plans…
As ever, please chime in with ideas, feedback and information!

Black History 360°: The Schomburg’s Summer Education Institute 2015

Black History 360: The Schomburg’s 6th Annual Summer Education Institute 2015

Professional Development For K-12 Teachers, Community Educators, College Faculty And College Students

August 3-7,  9 AM to 4 PM

Join hundreds of educators (K-12 and College) and premier scholars from across the country for a spectacular “education vacation” at the Schomburg Center, featuring lectures, interactive workshops, curriculum labs, curator talks, and community walks that explore the history and cultures of African Americans and African peoples throughout the Diaspora.  

This year’s themes include: The 100th Anniversary of the Great Migration; African-American Suburban Migration: 1920-Present; Epistolary Lives: The Art of Letters as Historical Documents; Black Life Matters: Using Art and Voice to Explore the Past; After Ferguson: Healing Hearts and Sustaining Youth Activism; Igniting Imagination with Black Comics, Graphic Novels, and Speculative Fiction; Post-Civil Rights History & The Birth of Hip Hop; Fela Kuti and the Power of Protest Music, and more.

Registration Fees:  

General: $500/week or $125 per day

College Students & Seniors:  $400/week or $100 per day  

For more information, click here

New York Public Library – Junior Scholars Program

Junior Scholars Program Season (2015-2016)

October 24, 2015-May 14, 2016

New York Public Library are now accepting applications for our upcoming Junior Scholars Program season! Youth ages 11-18 will be selected to participate in the 13th year of this uniquely designed pre-college black studies program at the Schomburg Center.  The Saturday sessions run from 10 am to 3 pm and are designed with an inquiry-based and project-based approach to teaching about black American history and the global black experience.

Junior Scholars attend weekly college-style lectures and presentations, engage in dialogue with adult scholars, participate in guided peer group discussions and activities, generate individual research projects and portfolios, and create collaborative media and arts projects that grow from their intensive study based on the Schomburg’s vast collections, exhibitions, and educational resources.

The Junior Scholars program begins on October 24, 2015 and culminates on May 14, 2016 with the annual Youth Summit. 


For more information or to download an application, click here

Discussion about the current state of racial equity in education


Join Border Crossers and a renowned panel of racial justice experts as we discuss the current state of racial equity in education and  necessary steps to ensure racial  justice  in our schools.

Panelists include

Joe Brewster
Martha Haakmat

Ali Michael
Pedro Noguera
Howard C. Stevenson

“Creating Racially Equitable Schools” A Border Crossers Fundraiser and Panel Discusssion 

 Thursday, June 18, 2015

6:00-9:00 pm
Brooklyn Heights Montessori School

 Networking reception will follow at 8:00 pm.

Wine and hors d’oeuvres will be provided.

  Continue reading

The results are in!

More than 120 EVCS families took our family survey, conducted this winter to determine where we stand as a community and what our needs are. Happily, we found that, overall, families feel that the EVCS community is a welcoming one and that activities, events and governance are inclusive and accessible. However, we also found that single-parent and adoptive families could use more resources when it comes to feeling fully supported by our community.

Continue reading