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D I V E R S I T Y ,

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Mural by @Eme Freethinker


n March of 2020, students were sent home from school and plans to carry out NonTraditional Instruction (NTI) were hurriedly put into place. Our nation and others around the world were introduced to the Coronavirus Pandemic that has claimed over 373,000 Americans from March 2020 to December 2020. Twentytwo million cases remain active, with over 130,000 people currently hospitalized across the United States.

Since March students have been at home, working through virtual means to receive instruction and complete academic assignments and assessments. In an attempt to bridge Stephanie White, Ph.D—Assistant Principal, Waggener High School Louisville’s disproportionate digital divide, Jefferson County Public Schools embarked on a plan to distribute Chromebooks, laptops, and tablets to thousands of families who qualified for free and reduced priced lunch and requested a device as well as students who received special education services and those who are English Language Learners. In addition to these devices, community partners contributed by purchasing devices and hotspots so that more families had access to learning materials from home. Now in January, we closed last school year with virtual graduation celebrations, and began the 2020-21 school year with NTI remote learning. Students in our county haven’t seen the inside of a school building since March. In preparation for this school year, all families could request devices and hotspots to support virtual learning. The community has responded again, creating virtual learning hubs to support small cohorts of learners within neighborhoods with the help of companies, churches, and community volunteers. Educators have grown their skills and abilities to meet the needs of these new virtual leaning expectation and the various platforms and applications that now actively contribute to daily instruction and assessment. Now, the distribution of vaccines and continued use of precautions such as face coverings and social distancing brings hope of returning to school buildings within the next few months. Continue on next page


Jefferson County has evolved, just as others have around the world, and the notion of getting back to normal that many civic leaders boast should be moot. What was normal has changed. Approximately 42% of the US workforce moved to remote operations (Wong, 2020), allowing thousands to do their jobs from home using a computer and telephone. The use of delivery services and online commerce has expanded to meet the needs of stayat-home orders and social responsibility. We have evolved to meet the challenges of the pandemic; as such, we are building a new way of life or new normal towards our future. Moving students back to school buildings, there will be many things to do immediately, most importantly for school operation—putting students on a schedule and implementing routines and procedures to support school safety and instruction. Returning from a break has traditionally meant spending time each day of those first few weeks (and maybe everyday) teaching, modeling, and reviewing routines and procedures. Students have not been to school since March, this will be an enormous undertaking, but necessary for success. As a district, we must not work from a deficit model, proclaiming that students are behind and need to therefore “catch-up” learning they have supposedly missed during this hiatus from in-person instruction. Deficit thinking such as this will only undermine student confidence and add unnecessary stress to educators also returning to routines and procedures. While it is true that students have not been in their traditional educational settings for many months, students have gained new skills as a result of forced adaptation to a virtual learning environment. Students have learned to navigate online platforms, use educational apps, utilize the internet, consume information from instructional videos, implement safety protocols, spread kindness, and self-advocate. Students have witnessed our nation grapple with civil unrest, police brutality, and protests. Our students are witnessing the challenges of upholding our democracy and election integrity as others attempt to usurp the process through voter suppression and false claims. Our students are learning terms that define their food insecurity, parental unemployment status, and dire


economic status. Students are learning the impact of oppression on undocumented immigrants, most recently rectified by the Supreme Court’s reinstatement of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). Educators understand that students absorb curriculum that is explicit (designed and intended curriculum to be taught), implicit (hidden curriculum that emerges from school culture) or null (information not taught, perspectives that are not included) (Eisner, 2002; Jackson 1968). Just as these variations exist in schools, students have had similar experiences at home. Pupils attend live class sessions or watch videos prepared by teachers to teach the explicit curriculum. While working at home, the cultural attributes, routines, and rituals of their family/support system provide the implicit curriculum that teaches students to navigate their education in this setting. They are learning more about family dynamics, the hierarchy of timing and who gets the bandwidth at what time, indicating the priorities of the home. Family members observing instruction and helping with school assignments are experiencing the null curriculum, voicing opinions on what is being taught explicitly and their opinion of the important concepts or perspectives that are not represented. In short, students are still learning. In fact, they have mastered skills in a short amount of time that may have not been introduced for years – depending on their current grade levels. As educators, especially for building and system administrators, it is imperative we do not embrace or perpetuate a deficit model of education resulting from changes due to the global pandemic. As we prepare for students to return to brick and mortar educational settings, plans must remain focused on moving forward at the grade level students return to. The 2019-20 school year has concluded. A return in 2021 is an opportunity to incorporate the newly acquired skills of educators and students and move forward with teaching and learning. References Eisner, E. (2002). The educational imagination: On the design and evaluation of school programs. Prentice Hall. Jackson, P. W. (1968). Life in Classrooms. New York: Holt, Rinehart & Winston Wong, M. (June 29, 2020). Stanford research provides a snapshot of a new working from home economy. Stanford News. Stanford University Communications. https://news.stanford.edu/ 2020/06/29/snapshot-new-working-home-economy/




ART & ACTIVISM By Samantha Brooks—Noe Visual Arts teacher/Art & Activism sponsor


rt & Activism Club grew out of a desire that I had to make sure that my students felt like they had a voice in our community. When I began teaching at Noe, I was teaching students that had not chosen my class but instead were placed in Visual Arts to gain arts exposure, some having had no arts experience in the past. I began incorporating lessons into my curriculum that required students to develop/discuss their viewpoints, explore people in the community that they admired and identify the qualities that made it so. Out of those projects grew much deeper lessons where I was asking students to think about the way that art impacts our community and their ability as young artists to use art as a form of activism. Seeing how successful those projects were, and the need for every student to feel empowered, I began an art and activism club after school. My first year I had maybe 7 members, all boys, from various backgrounds. Now in our 12th year as a club, we have a flux of anywhere between 15 to 30 students ranging from 6th through 8th graders from a multitude of backgrounds. As some of my Art & Activism students have entered High School, they have even returned to work with the club. Art & Activism is about empowering young artists to create positive change in our community through visual arts. As a teacher I have continued to do lessons at each grade level that are truly modeled after the success of some of the projects we've done in Art & Activism. Members of our group have helped in developing and facilitating school-wide art projects and community forums held at Noe. Our group meets once a week for an hour and sometimes additional meetings are added depending on the project. Art & Activism is entirely student-led… The group develops projects by identifying a problem they see in their community and reaching out to local organizations that work in that area. Students then create art-based projects that work to help that particular issue/organization. As this is a mutually beneficial process, students are


learning while also helping the community (very much a service-learning model). Art & Activism Goals: Learn/Experience new Art processes, skills and techniques. Learn/Experience new ways of Presenting and Making Art. Learn Communication Skills (both written and verbal). Learn Collaboration Skills with peers and adults. Learn to use our VOICE and strengths as artists to Make a Positive Impact on our Community. Foster Confidence-Building activities and Engage EMPATHY for others. Engage our community in these projects as much as possible!

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What do we do in Art & Activism: Every year our projects look different based on the interest of the current group. This year's group has created yard sign designs for students supporting Black Lives Matter and are working on creating art activities that students and their families can participate in together at home during NTI. In the past we have had artists come in to visit and share knowledge, such as internationally known art activist Lily Yeh. We’ve also had Louisville Youth Group(LYG) and WaterStep come in to share out the incredible work they are doing. Our Art & Activism group has also had opportunities to hear some really incredible activists speak such as attending the “Daughters of Greatness” brunch for Dolores Huerta and Angela Davis’s talk as a part of the Anne Braden memorial lecture series. The Art & Activism group has participated with a booth at the “Keeper of the Dream” celebration held annually here in Louisville. Past Art & Activism projects: ● McFarren Elementary Project: Art & Activism developed art lessons that they taught to 3rd grade McFarren students based around the prompt, “I show kindness when I…”. ● Family Scholar house project: Art and Activism developed and taught art lessons to children in the Family Scholar House preschool. At the last meeting the Art and Activism students gifted the children at Family Scholar House with a box of art supplies and an original “Art and Activism Coloring book” (designed by the group). These art supplies were acquired by students finding local donations and making/assembling each box. ● Welcome to Parkland project: Art & Activism looked at children's drawings from the Parkland area based on their idea of a “perfect community” and created sculptures/installations that were Interactive. These sculptures/installations created by Art and Activism members were placed on display at the Muhammad Ali Center as well as the Kentucky Museum of Arts and Crafts (KMAC).


Some of the organizations my students have worked with between my Visual Arts class and our Art & Activism club:

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ACLU BLM Louisville Youth group Muhammad Ali center KY Humane Society KY Foundation for Women KY Refugee Ministries Seven Counties LSURJ Family Scholar House JCPS department of Bullying Moms Demand Action KICH Peace Ed Girls Rock Louisville Kentucky Center for the Arts ArtxFM Homeless and Housing coalition of KY Bernheim Arboretum & research

Artist: Mackenzie Jones School: Central High School

Artist: Summer Oneil School: Central High School

Artist: Summer Oneil School: Central High School

Artist: Stevie Stigall School: Central High School

Artist: Stevie Stigall School: Central High School

Artist: Julie Robinson School: Central High School

Artist: Jennifer Hernandez Huerta School: Central High School

Artist: Briana Figueroa Casanova School: Central High School

Artist: Briana Figueroa Casanova School: Central High School

Artist: Ariadna Gijon Gonzalez School: Central High School

Artist: Ariadna Gijon Gonzalez School: Central High School

Central High School Social Justice & Art 2020 Artist


IF YOU CAN’T FLY, THEN RUN By Dr. Monica Lakhwani—Multicultural Specialist, Equity and Inclusion Diversity, Equity, and Poverty Division


ne of the best things about being an educator is when you bump into one of your students after they have left you, and you learn of their success. What’s even more fantastic is if one of your students ends up working where you once taught them!

That’s exactly what happened with Ms. Juna Mangar! Ms. Mangar was born in a refugee camp in Jhapa, Nepal. She is the oldest child of parents who decided to come to the United States in 2008. During the 2008-09 school year, she attended Newcomer Academy (NCA). Today, she is employed by JCPS as a nurse for NCA! Catching up with Juna, she shares with readers her challenges, her experiences as a student, and her journey: Continue on next page


I, along with a lot of immigrants who come to the United States, face a lot of challenges every day. These were my greatest challenges—the language, the food, and the culture. I only knew limited British English from studying in a refugee camp in Nepal. So I struggled to try to understand teachers and other people sometimes in the office, bank, and hospital setting when they spoke American English super-fast. The food here in America was very different. I was so used to eating spicy foods in Nepal, so pizza and sandwiches tasted kind of bland. So I would pack my own lunch for school, but after a few months I started to try American foods and now I like eating pizza, pasta, and sandwiches sometimes. The culture here was very different from Nepal. For example, in Nepal boys can wear anything that has pink without being judged. During that first fall season, my mother made my little brother wear my pink sweater and sent him to school. The other kids laughed at him in his elementary school. Later that day, his teacher told the other kids to be kind; we learned something new that day and we still are learning something new every day. It was interesting being a JCPS student because I had never ridden in a bus to go to school in Nepal. Plus having other international students at the Newcomer Academy made me more curious about people from different cultures and backgrounds. Overall, I had an amazing first school year in America through JCPS. I am so grateful for all my teachers and for the international friends that I made while attending Newcomer Academy. I remember being so nervous and even feeling nauseous while riding the bus to school. But when they used to stop in front of the school for the students to get off, a few of my teachers used to greet us by saying “Namaste” (“Hi” in Nepali), “Hola,” and other international greetings or by fistbumping us. I learned to fist-bump because of Mr. Book while I attended Newcomer Academy. Even though it may seem a small act or a regular act of greeting for Americans, it made a huge impact on me and made me feel so welcomed to the school every day. When I was a little girl, I saw a lot of sick people in the refugee camp, so I wanted to be a doctor or a nurse and help people when I grew up. But since I was not a citizen of Nepal, attending college while being a refugee would have been impossible. Tragedy struck in our refugee camp in 2008, after all of our belongings were destroyed in a fire. We lived in the nearby jungle for more than three months and made the decision to come to America. In America, I took the responsibility


of helping my parents and my younger brothers. While helping my parents take care of my middle brother Buddha’s asthma problems, I decided to be a nurse. With her love of meeting new people and learning about cultures, Ms. Mangar decided to work for JCPS. She sees it as an opportunity to be with students who are new to the United States and new to Louisville. Having been in the same shoes, she knows the challenges with language barriers and cultural unfamiliarity. Her hope is to have a positive impact on the students’ lives she serves. “If you can’t fly, then run. If you can’t run, then walk. If you can’t walk, then crawl. But whatever you do, you have to keep moving forward” by Martin Luther King Jr. This quote is one of my life mottos that keeps me motivated, and I will continue to live like that in the future until I become old and bedbound. Anything is possible, so do not be discouraged and lose hope. Because if you don’t lose hope, then you will have the potential to become the person you have wished and dreamed of for all your life.


2020 Educators of Color Celebration

Click here to watch


To fully understand how hate groups influence today’s kids and teens, it is important that parents, teachers, coaches, counselors, and others understand the scope of the threat, recognize the warning signs, and interrupt the indoctrination. This series builds on the existing reporting about hate groups and their online recruitment tactics and makes important connections to empower adults to support the young people in their care.” This paragraph introduces a series of videos I posted recently to YouTube that connects the dots between white nationalism, white supremacy, the alt-right and the altlight. The videos are not fancy. The production value is low. They are also slow (in comparison to what surrounds them). I know all of this. I posted them anyway, because the information is important. As the nation wrestles with the impact of a pandemic and a moment of racial reckoning, it is incredibly important to pay attention to how white nationalists work to take advantage of this historical moment that has many youth spending more and more time online. Continue on next page


Image: TITUS KAPHAR, “Behind the Myth of

Of course, there is reason to worry, reason to fear, plenty of reason to take action…on a whole range of issues other than this. Yet we cannot and should not ignore this. The issues are related. The videos are segments of a one-hour presentation I delivered via Zoom this spring to a group of parents and educators. It is my best effort to warn anyone I can about what we are facing, my attempt to help people recognize what we need to do to combat the threat. I hope you will start from the beginning and feel motivated to watch all the way through. Then, please share widely, and please include your own message. With so much vying for our attention, it will likely take personal prompting to get friends, family, and colleagues to focus some attention on this.

Click here to play

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CPS seniors can go to college for free through a new scholarship offered by Evolve502.

The scholarship, which launched Oct. 1, allows eligible students in the Class of 2021 to begin postsecondary studies tuition-free at any Kentucky Community and Technical College school, including Jefferson Community and Technical College, or Simmons College of Kentucky to pursue an associate degree or career credential, or take 60 hours of credit. The Evolve502 scholarship is a last dollar scholarship, meaning Evolve502 will fund the difference between federal and state financial aid and college tuition and mandatory fees. The application takes about five minutes to complete online at evolve502.org/scholarship. Once applications are submitted and reviewed, applicants will receive a follow-up email with next steps including completing the federal financial aid form and applying to eligible colleges. Evolve502’s goal is to increase college access support and success for students who want to attend college or get workforce training and certifications, including many of Louisville’s most vulnerable students – low-income, historically marginalized, first generation and others who have been left out or left behind. “The Evolve502 Scholarship allows every eligible JCPS graduate in the Class of 2021 to pursue their college and career dreams, at a time of financial uncertainty, high unemployment, and calls for racial justice and equal opportunity in our city,” said Marland Cole, Evolve502 Executive Director. “We believe every young person should have equal access to postsecondary education and to the necessary supports to ensure their success. We’re so thankful to our strong network of donors and business partners who have stepped forward to make this promise possible.”

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Cost, or perceived cost of post-secondary education, is cited as one of the top barriers that prevent young people from attending college. Evolve502 gathered the best experts from around the state, utilizing national best practices, to develop a scholarship program designed around equity, access and success. In addition to the scholarship, Evolve502 is offering opportunity grants to support students whose families earn less than $40,000 annually. The opportunity grants are $1,000 per semester ($2,000 maximum per year) and can be used to assist in costs outside of tuition including healthcare, transportation, books and more. The grants will automatically be given to Evolve502 Scholarship recipients who meet qualifications. Evolve502 is also partnering with the University of Louisville to create a pathway to a tuition-free four-year degree for low income students. Under the 2+2 program, Evolve502 scholars in the JCPS Class of 2021 who are opportunity grant recipients and complete an associate degree at a KCTCS school or Simmons, would then be able to continue their studies at UofL for two years tuition-free. To qualify for the 2+2 program, students must be opportunity grant recipients and be Pell grant eligible at the time of transfer to UofL. Finalized details of the program will be announced at a later date. The Evolve502 Scholarship is funded through gifts from various private donors, businesses and foundations. Evolve502 continues fundraising efforts to support the scholarship through the Class of 2034, meaning all students from kindergarten to seniors. Students and families who have questions about the scholarship should email scholarships@evolve502.org for support.



Books for Young Readers By and By: Charles Albert Tindley the Father of Gospel Music by Carole Boston Weatherford Atheneum Books for Young Readers Grade Level: Prek-3rd

Before the Ever After by Jacqueline Woodson Nancy Paulsen Books Grade Level: 5th-6th

This is a beautifully crafted story about the father of Gospel music. His name is Charles Albert Tindley, who was born of an enslaved father and a free mother. He endured trial in his life at a very early age, when his mother passed away when he was a very young child. The story outlines and showcases his life learning to read, attending night school to learn to be a preacher, and finally composing brilliant music for the church, thus and following his dream to the end. Illustrator Bryan Collier’s methods of collage with watercolor are breathtaking as always.

In this middle grade book by acclaimed POC author Jacqueline Woodson, the story follows the life of ZJ, whose father is a pro football player. “Day after the game and Daddy gets out of bed slow. His whole body, he says, is 223 pounds of pain from toes to knees, from knees to ribs, every single hit he took yesterday remembered in the morning.” When athletes have taken too many hits, too many concussions, how does that affect them and their loved ones? We dive into a story about the families and friends who live with athletes and the trauma they endure from both angles of the game.

Say Her Name by Zetta Elliott Disney Jump at the Sun Grade Level: 7 and up This collection of poems to empower calls out to the reader to hear the names, see black lives matter, and understand the pain. The chapters are each organized as haikus, with such deeply profound statements as self-care, we can’t breathe, and free them all. Each haiku has its own message that will provoke discussions among readers, and bridge the divide and unite. Author Zetta Elliott talks about how hard the past few years have been for people of color, and that writing helps her work through those feelings. This book is highly recommend for teenagers.

Images obtained from Google Images. LFPL Book Bundle service https://www.lfpl.org/forms/book-bundle-request.php


Religious Observances February 2021 Below is a list of religious observances. It is a not an exhaustive list and we appreciate your feedback. We are committed to equity and inclusion respecting religious observances of all community members. February 2



February 2



February 3

St. Blaise Day


February 3



February 3

Four Chaplains Day


February 8 and 15

Nirvana Day

Buddhism and Jainism (Date differs in Buddhist communities)

February 14

St. Valentine’s Day


February 14

Transfiguration Sunday


February 16

Vasant Panchami


February 16

Shrove Tuesday


February 17

Beginning of Lent

Christianity (Western Churches)

February 21

Beginning of Triodion

Christianity (Eastern Orthodox)

February 25-26




Bucket of Art and Music (BAM!) Announcing the Bucket of Art & Music (BAM!) – over 20 DIY art/music projects for ages 4 and up. Developed by Louisville teaching artists Brenda Wirth and Gregory Acker, BAM! includes all materials, plus photo project guide, Parent/Helper pages, cultural connections, and ideas for “going beyond.” Contactless pick-up or free Louisville Metro doorstep delivery.

Contact information: Gregory Acker Organization: Sound Community 518 E. Kentucky St. Louisville, KY 40203 GAcker@aol.com (502) 419-8937 (cell) www.bucketartmusic.com

Muhammad Ali Center Family Field Trips Are your children currently learning from home? Consider taking a Family Field Trip to the Muhammad Ali Center! The Ali Center offers fun and educational field trips that are specifically catered to parents/caregivers and their children. Each family will receive an educational packet to help guide them through the Ali Center’s permanent and temporary exhibitions, a fun and engaging scavenger hunt, and takehome activities and resources for continued learning after your visit. Materials are available by grade level for elementary, middle, and high school students. Family Field Trips do not need to be booked in advance, but if you are interested in a Guided Group Tour experience, please contact education@alicenter.org. Bring your students to the Center, ask for a Family Field Trip Package at our admissions desk upon your arrival, and start your educational adventure through discovering the life and legacy of The Greatest, Muhammad Ali! Family Field Trip Pricing: $50/Family (up to 2 adults and 4 children)

Year Long Battery of Opportunities 2020-21 Diversity, Equity, and Poverty Department Event dates are subject to change, please check the online link daily for updates.

Click here to view our Battery of Opportunities.





Click here to read Credits Editor—Catherine Collesano Editor, Photo Contributor—Abdul Sharif Special thanks to all of our community partners and educators who helped make this special edition of Envision Equity possible. Envision Equity is a publication of the JCPS Department of Diversity, Equity, and Poverty Programs. All submissions should be sent to Catherine Collesano at catherine.collesano@jefferson.kyschools.us or Abdul Sharif at abdul.sharif2@jefferson.kyschools.us. If you are interested in becoming a subscriber or a contributor to Envision Equity, please contact one of the editors at the above email address. www.jefferson.kyschools.us Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer Offering Equal Educational Opportunities


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Envision Equity February 2021  

Envision Equity February 2021  

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