Holidays and anniversaries only make up the tip of a culture’s essence, but even with these seemingly commonplace celebrations, we can find ourselves in the middle of unexpected cultural clashes. Start your year planning to be inclusive by setting your inner compass to listen to the landscape of each student’s and family’s treasured cultural meanings.
The truth is our country and, therefore, our schools started with one group’s values of what and how various cultural customs and anniversaries should be commemorated. Many of us went to schools with students from similar ethnic, income, religious and family backgrounds. Today, there is so much more variety in our schools. If we proceed with a “that’s the way we’ve always done it” attitude, we can easily find ourselves unintentionally alienating a part of our student body and community.
Simply put: students don’t learn if they don’t feel they belong. Welcoming every member of our school community isn’t a “nice to have” but a “must have” when we set our sights on academic excellence.
Important dates for the beginning of September include:
Labor Day honors the American worker and acknowledges the value and dignity of work and its role in American life. Labor Day was first celebrated on September 5, 1882, in New York, and continued to be celebrated until June 28, 1894, when Congress passed an act making the first Monday in September of each year a legal holiday. Learn more at Labor Day Resources.
Christa McAuliffe’s Birthday
Teacher and NEA member Christa McAuliffe (1948—1986) was America’s first “ordinary citizen” in space. Along with six other crew members, she perished in 1986 on board the Space Shuttle Challenger.
International Literacy Day
Celebrated since 1965, when it was established by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), this event focuses on reading from a global perspective. Visit UNESCO and International Reading Association for information and activity ideas.
Next week: Guidelines for planning your school year calendar