Booker T. Washington Middle School has established an Equity Team whose goals include enhancing and improving efforts to ensure academic success by closing opportunity gaps and providing equitable and inclusive working and learning environments for all students, families, staff and communities. Additionally, it is intended that increase in diversity and equity and establishing these conversations will lead to tangible and intangible results such as increased cultural understanding and decreased discipline rates. The specific goals of the Equity Team will be determined by its committee so that we can determine the focus most appropriate for our school.
The NYC Department of Education has established the Equity and Excellence for All program with the intention of supporting diversity in New York City public schools. For the NYC Department of Education "Equity" means meeting every student where they are, and providing the support, resources, and high expectations for them to achieve at consistently high levels.
District 3 has asked that all schools create a distinct Equity Team comprised of parents, students, faculty and administration to begin the process of assessing what equity and diversity means for their school community and begin the process of establishing an open dialogue.
The definition of diversity includes: Socio-economic, Region, Disability, Gender, Race, Sexual Orientation, Language, Age, Religion.
The DOE is committed to creating and supporting learning environments that reflect the diversity of New York City and with the belief that all students benefit from diverse and inclusive schools and classrooms.
Randee Johnson, teacher
Nildania Perez, parent
All meetings at 7pm.
NEWS and resources
May Is Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month and Jewish American Heritage Month
Leaders from the AAPI and Jewish communities will engage in a Community Conversation hosted by America250 that will explore American immigrant experiences from these groups, past and present challenges, as well as honor the influences that these groups had, and continue to have, on the history, culture, and achievements of the United States. Join us for Community Conversation with the Jewish American Heritage and Asian American Pacific Islander communities on May 19, 2022 from 4 - 5pm (Eastern).
IncludeNYC Workshops for Students with IEP and Special Needs
Throughout May, IncludeNYC in partnership with NYS Dept of Education and JCC, is offering workshops focused on students and families with IEPS and disabilities. Registration is required for these workshops. The Equity Team encourages parents of students with IEPs and special needs to join our monthly meetings and our committee work as we support conversations about disability, accessibility, and community building.
April Is Arab American Heritage Month
The first immigrants of Arab descent arrived in America in 1527. Arab Americans trace their heritage to 22 different countries, are of different ethnicities and have various faith traditions. The Arab American Foundation has created an educational kit appropriate for middle school grades exploring the history of Arab immigration to America, customs and traditions as well as the contributions and achievements of Arab Americans. You can also learn more about contemporary Arab American perspectives through these films and documentaries.
March 2022 Meeting Summary
During March's Equity Team meeting, parents and faculty discussed strategies for supporting students and families during the high school application process. We considered a variety of factors, including access to information about high school program options, and access to test prep resources and application guidebooks. Some ideas generated were developing orientations and small group guidance that is targeted to families’ needs, students’ interests and strengths, and creating volunteer opportunities for parents and alumni to support eighth grade students. If you’re a current eighth grade parent and wish to support or have insight that you think would be beneficial for rising eighth grade parents, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Women's History Month
In 1987, Congress declared March as Women’s History Month, although the first celebrations of Women’s Day occurred in 1909 in New York City. We encourage families and students to use the following resources to learn more about the important contributions of women to our history, society, and culture.
Celebrating African American History Month Resources
M54 faculty and Shades Affinity Group have compiled a resource of virtual and in-person activities and events to help you celebrate African American History month during Mid-Winter Recess. Highlights include a reading of Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye with acclaimed African American female authors like Jacqueline Woodson, Edwidge Danticat, Jesmyn Ward and others (February 23 and 24, 2022). Also included is a youth focused reading list for students to enjoy year-round.
African American Month
Historian Carter G. Woodson (the second African American to earn a Ph.D. from Harvard) established “Negro History Week” in 1926 to celebrate and preserve the history of Black people in America. Concern over the omission of African American history in school curricula and the miseducation of African Americans – from antiliteracy laws to the censure of texts on the African American experience – led Woodson to co-found the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History. He published 20 books and mentored many notable African Americans. Learn more about Woodson’s legacy.
African American Month Events
Throughout February, the Equity Team will share resources that honor the contributions and stories of African Americans to our collective history. In school, students will have the opportunity to participate in a variety of events highlighting notable African Americans and moments in African American history. We will end the month with a family Kahoot night on February 28th.
AAM Escape Room
February 14 - 18, 2022
AAM Family Kahoot Night
February 28, 2022 @ 6pm
Thank you to the students and family members who competed with other Booker T. families in our African American Month Kahoot!
Lunar New Year
February 1, 2022
February 1st marks the beginning of the Lunar New Year, one of the most important holidays for people of East and Southeast Asian descent. It is a time for reuniting with family and celebrating with lucky foods and customs. Many cultural institutions throughout New York city will be celebrating the Year of the Tiger. You can find local or virtual events here and learn more about the origins, traditions and significance of the Lunar Year.
Most of us have heard a few lines from Dr. Martin Luther King’s speech, “I Have a Dream”. But have you heard the speech in its entirety? To honor the legacy of Dr. King and celebrate the meaning of his words, the Equity Team invites families and students to participate in a reading of his most famous speech. In this month-long project, participants will be assigned a section of the speech to video or audio record. We’re kicking off this activity on MLK, Jr. Day, January 17, 2022. If you wish to participate, please e-mail the Equity Team. We will then e-mail you the reading selection. Students and families are also encouraged to create a visual artifact that reflects their interpretation of the lines they recorded. Your artifact can be a poem, drawing, painting, animation, slideshow, etc. – you are only limited by your imagination – and send a photo/video/PDF/audio recording to the Equity Team. At the end of the month, submissions will be compiled and shared on the school’s website.
Korean American Day
January 13, 2022
This day commemorates the arrival of the first Korean immigrants to the United States in 1903 and celebrates the contributions of Korean Americans. You can learn more about the significance of this day in this interview with Dr. Edward Chan of UC Riverside.
December 26, 2021 – January 1, 2022
Kwanzaa is a secular African American and pan-African holiday, created by Maulana Karenga in 1966, that celebrates family, culture and community. It is rooted in East African harvest festivals and is celebrated with music, narratives, dance and gift-giving. Each of the seven days focuses on one of seven principles. Visit the official Kwanzaa website to learn more about this festival and its significance to the African American community.
December 2021 Meeting Summary
At the December Equity meeting, we discussed parents’ concerns over bullying, microaggressions and disruptive behaviors at school and the effect on students’ wellbeing. We shared information on the research and the efficacy of SEL approaches to discipline given the effects of the pandemic on our students’ lives. Over the past two decades, research has shown that when schools embed SEL—the skills of self-awareness, social awareness, self-management, relationship management and responsible decision-making — into the school culture, academic achievement goes up, distress goes down and school climate improves. Our conversation explored parental role in promoting norms, collaboratively developing a code of conduct, encouraging upstander behavior and ongoing communication with parents when issues arise.
November 2021 Meeting Summary
At the Equity Team’s November meeting, parents, teachers, and Dr. Elster discussed
November 28 - December 6, 2021
This week we celebrate Hannukah, the Jewish Festival of Lights. This holiday commemorates the victory of Jewish Maccabeans fighting for the preservation of their beliefs and the rededication of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem. Learn more about the significance of Hannukah and how it is celebrated.
Transgender Awareness Week
November 13 - 19, 2021
Fostering a safe and affirming community in which all students thrive is a central tenet of MS54’s Equity work. We do this by providing support and raising awareness of different communities within our school. This week we encourage you to read the DOE's guidelines on supporting transgender and gender expansive students and best practices for families to support their children.
Native American History Month
November is National Native American Heritage Month. Manhattan, the ancestral home of the Lenape tribe, is derived from the Lenape language and is loosely translated as “place of many hills”.
National Museum of the American Indian Meetup
November 11, 2021 @ 11am
RSVP by November 9th was required to attend. All participants 12 years and older are required to be vaccinated against COVID-19 to visit the museum.
If you could not make it to the meet-up, there are many online resources and activities available to help you celebrate and learn more about Native Americans. Read the work of our current and first Native American U.S. Poet Laureate, Joy Harjo.
The New York Public Library has a collection of resources to help you explore and learn more about Native American cultures, languages and literature.
Celebrate the best of Native cinema with the Smithsonian’s Native Cinema Showcase running November 12 - 18, 2021. Featuring the cultures and perspective of thirty-nine Native communities in the Western Hemisphere, this online showcase includes full length features, shorts, and filmmaker panel discussions available on demand.
Learn about the various thanksgiving traditions in Native communities and the origins of the “First Thanksgiving”.
Diwali, November 4, 2021
This week, Diwali, or Deepavali, is celebrated worldwide by people of South Asian descent, including Hindus, some Sikhs, Jains and Buddhists. Both a secular and religious holiday, it marks the triumph of light over darkness and is celebrated by the lighting of candles, exchange of gifts and enjoying meals together. Learn more about Diwali.
October 2021 Meeting Summary
The Equity Team hosted an open meeting in which we discussed ways to foster a welcoming and safe community for all of our students. Topics included providing discrete support for menstruating students; building positive relationships with parents/guardians; and creating spaces for students to constructively resolve conflicts.
We also introduced the Culturally Responsive-Sustaining Education Framework developed by the New York State Department of Education (NYSED) to assist school communities in implementing a pedagogical approach that capitalizes on students’ cultural assets. Read the meeting slides and learn more about the CR-S Framework.
Hispanic Heritage Month
September 15th through October 15th marks Latinx and Hispanic Heritage Month. This month we will celebrate the culture and accomplishments of people of Hispanic and Latinx descent by highlighting stories, artists and thinkers that will inspire you.
Welcome to 2021 -2022!
The Equity Team welcomes you to the 2021-2022 school year! You can learn more about our mission and access our resources here and in our archives. We encourage you to share your ideas, questions and suggestions for creating an inclusive and equitable community at Booker T.
October 2021 Meeting
We invite all members of the community to join us for an open meeting on Tuesday, October 19th at 7pm. We will discuss our goals for this academic year and do a deep dive into culturally responsive educational practices. Here is a summary of last year’s activities, insights and suggested goals for this year.
STUDENT AFFINITY GROUPS
ASIAN AMERICAN ASSOCIATION
The Asian American Association was founded by a cohort of students who were inspired by the growing sense of Asian activism during the winter of 2020.
If you’re interested in joining us for the 2021-2022 school year, please fill out the prospective member survey!
GENDER SEXUALITY ALLIANCE
The GSA is a safe space for all students to be themselves and to discuss LGBTQ+ issues, problems and experiences - while both improving the schools community and of course, hanging out with friends and having fun!
If you are interested in joining us or have questions, please sign up for more info (you must have a DOE account) or e-mail Ms. Saltzman.
SHADES: A MULTICULTURAL AFFINITY GROUP
Do you identify as Black, African American, Latinx, Caribbean American, or a person of color? Do you want to have a space to talk about topics relevant to our communities? Come join us to constructively discuss topics unique to young people of color.
If you are interested in joining us or have questions, please e-mail Mrs. Weisz, Ms. Mason or Ms. Johnson.