April 26

CHSN Teachers Reflect on their experiences at the VCS Undoing Racism Workshop

Thanks to grants from the PTSA and the school, Clarkstown North has been fortunate enough to be able to send 15 staff members to the Undoing Racism Workshop this year.

The support for attending this workshop is clear evidence of the commitment on the part of the school to ensure that we all remain aware of the infinite ways in which oppression is embedded into our daily interactions and institutions.  It is only through this continued effort that we can begin to address systematic racism and the inequities that it manifests.

 

I consider myself to be open-minded and empathetic, but this workshop challenged me in unexpected ways.  It allowed me to truly consider the perspective of individuals from all races.  It also taught me a lot about the history of our country and the systems that have been put into place that have added to the oppression of minorities in our society.  As a teacher, I feel more confident in discussing issues surrounding race in the classroom.
-Ms. Dunn, Art Teacher

 

It allowed me to reflect on my power as a teacher and the importance of each student that walks into my room.  As educators we are told we can change the life of one child and that is enough. This conference helps us realize the magnitude of education and one life is not enough. We should strive for more.  
– Mrs. Macias, Social Studies Teacher

 

What struck me about the Undoing Racism workshop was its message of unity. It argued that the construct of “whiteness,” NOT the people who identify as white, is what stops us from knowing ourselves to be one big human family.  It identified the cost of “whiteness” in such a way that I became motivated to dismantle the institutions that have kept racism in place over many years. I feel newly empowered by the realization that I am a gate-keeper, and that institutions cannot oppress anyone if gate-keepers own their power to change those institutions.
-Mrs. Phalen, English Teacher

 

Hearing the profound disturbing experiences from people of color during the conference made racism “real” for me and touched my heart whereas before it was easy to intellectualize racism-now I can “feel” the knowing of this tragedy and have been transformed into a conscious rejector of racism.
-Cathy Smith, Math Teacher
 
The personal stories were very moving and some were heart-breaking.
-Keri Nitto, School Guidance Counselor
 
‘We must recognize our role in perpetuating white privilege in order to undo racism. This workshop was full of information & exercises presented honestly & sensitively in order to bring this concept home.  I’m sold & will utilize what I’ve learned to continue to bring this idea to the fore in my daily work.’
Sue Gold, Student Assistance Counselor
This comprehensive workshop was truly an awakening to the infinite micro-aggressions that people of color live on a daily basis. It has increased my awareness and sensitivity to not only people of color, but all minority groups.  I have also truly benefited from being a part of  a cohort that has been trained and now has a common experience and vocabulary as our foundation as we continue to strive for an environment that provides equity for all. Additionally, I am now a part of a larger network of community members that are working towards a common goal.
-Nancy Diamond, Art Department Chairperson

 

January 13

Courageous Conversations 2

I never cease to be amazed by the power of students to connect across all sorts of barriers, if they are just given the time and space.

Today 60 students, from ENL classes, VAASA, Student Council and World of Difference spent the morning together.  In getting to know each other, they discovered not only how much they didn’t know about each other, but also how much they have in common.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We continue our journey to open dialogue in respectful and meaningful ways….

November 11

Courageous Conversations

Today we welcomed back Simone Gamble to work with student leaders around the topic of Safe Spaces and Courageous Conversations.  Student leaders from VAASA, Student Council, Student Advisory Committee, the Gay Straight Alliance and World of Difference were invited to sign up for this 2 1/2 hour workshop.  52 students came together sharing experiences, concerns and ideas around the topic of diversity and specifically race relations at North.  Students had the opportunity to speak, question, and brainstorm.  They also role played different scenarios of things that have happened within the school, modeling how to be a good ally in those situations.  Most powerful, perhaps, was their verbalization of what they need/want in terms of support from their teachers, such as, continued focus on the creation of safe spaces.  They would also like to have more assemblies that are small and intimate like this one and open to all students.

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We continue our journey to open dialogue in respectful and meaningful ways….

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November 1

Undoing Racism Workshop

With the help of a Student Impact Grant from the PTSA, teacher, Nancy Diamond attended the nationally renowned conference, Undoing Racism. Working alongside other educators, health professionals, legal professionals,  the history of racism was studied, and honest discussions had.

For more information on future workshops, click here

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Overview from PISAB:

The People’s Institute for Survival and Beyond focuses on understanding what racism is, where it comes from, how it functions, why it persists and how it can be undone. Our workshops utilize a systemic approach that emphasizes learning from history, developing leadership, maintaining accountability to communities, creating networks, undoing internalized racial oppression and understanding the role of organizational gate keeping as a mechanism for perpetuating racism.