Global Diversity Awareness Month: Parent Stories, Part 2

First, listen…

Unit PTA leader: We decided to move to an area where my Black son would see peers and school adults who looked like him. As a PTA leader, I know the power of advocacy and partnership with school staff. I advocated with his teachers about implicit bias and how harmful it was to send my son to sit at the desk for the same behavior his white friends engaged in but instead received a warning and allowed to sit on the carpet. We advocated with the school to address the bullying and use of unacceptable language around race. We advocated with the PTA and parents that even if we didn’t have a large African American population, an African American Living Museum should be a school event. There was some success but it was exhausting. After a few years, as a family, we decided that living in and being educated in a community that is integrated and more diverse was the right choice for us. We had read about how students of color are disciplined more, tracked for AP classes less, and the list went on. We wanted to minimize the impact of the embedded systemic bias.

Then, learn…

Even though #GlobalDiversityAwareness Month is over, we want diversity, equity and inclusion to be a focus all year round. California State PTA and National PTA have position statements and resolutions that give us authority to act on behalf of all families:

Then, Take Action…

We recognize that each PTA and school community will have different solutions, but these are great places to start: 

  • Look at the demographics of families on your campus– Are they represented on your PTA board?  Are there activities that highlight and celebrate these families and make them feel like they are an integral part of your campus?  Does your library showcase authors and books with characters that represent these families?  Are your assemblies diverse enough that all children see themselves in the presentations?
  • Educate yourself, your board, and your school community about the challenges these families face by holding a book club or hosting listening sessions. 
  • Participate in the upcoming Listening Sessions that California State PTA will hold in January. 

Click here to read part 1 of this series.

Click here to read part 2 of this series.

Click here to read part 3 of this series.

Click here to read part 4 of this series.

Click here to return to the blog homepage.

Global Diversity Awareness Month: Teacher Stories, Part 1

First, listen…

Educator: I use the word ‘grownups’, not parents, or mom and dads. I used to use those words but I learned that some of my students are being raised by their grandparents or other family members. Some had one parent because the other was serving in the military or incarcerated. Some were with foster families. All of that is important to me because it is important to my students that I know they have same sex parents, or are adopted and don’t ‘look’ like their other family members. All families are talked about because young children will create their own narrative if you don’t give them one. So I talk about all the wonderful and different ways families are formed. 

Then, learn…

During #GlobalDiversityAwareness Month and all year round, California State PTA and National PTA have position statements and resolutions that give us authority to act on behalf of all families:

Then, Take Action…

We recognize that each PTA and school community will have different solutions, but these are great places to start: 

  • Make sure your PTA publications are inclusive. Remember that not all families look the same, so make certain that your PTA fliers reflect that.

National PTA has a Diversity Toolkit that you can use to help your unit connect with all the families on your campus https://www.pta.org/home/run-your-pta/Diversity-Equity-Inclusion

Click here to read part 1 of this series.

Click here to read part 2 of this series.

Click here to read part 3 of this series.

Click here to return to the blog homepage.

Global Diversity Awareness Month: Student Stories, Part 2

First, listen….

Student: It wasn’t until I took an AP class my sophomore year where the books we read were by authors of color. I became really interested in who gets to choose the books that I am taught in school. I found out it’s up to the teacher to find a way to buy these books that are not on the usual approved list. That didn’t make sense to me. I am now involved in a student-led group to have more student voice in deciding things like the books we read. All students should get to read these books, not just the AP class or the new ethnic studies elective. All our classes should have authors of all histories. 

Then, learn…

During #GlobalDiversityAwareness Month and all year round, California State PTA and National PTA have position statements and resolutions that give us authority to act on behalf of our racially diverse students and their families:

Then, Take Action…

We recognize that each PTA and school community will have different solutions, but these are great places to start: 

  • Attend the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee’s Listening Sessions November 16, 17, 18 and 21, 2020 https://capta.org/resource/listening-sessions-on-race-and-racism/
  • When your PTA raises funds for your library request that a certain percentage of the funds be spent on racially diverse authors.  We want all children to see people who look like them on our library shelves. 
  • Include students in your PTA!  We have lots of tips on ways to include student participation in your PTA ( http://toolkit.capta.org/membership/involving-students/).  One of the best ways to include students is to invite them to our Legislation Conference which will have a Racial Injustice and Social Advocacy theme this year.  More information about the dates and cost will be released soon, so be sure to visit our webpage from time to time to get updates. https://capta.org/programs-events/legislation-conference/

Click here to read part 1 of this series.

Click here to read part 2 of this series.

Click here to return to the blog homepage.

Global Diversity Awareness Month: Student Stories, Part 1

First, listen…

Student: Whether I wear pants or a skirt, I sing the same. Does it matter if I wear pants instead of a skirt? Yes it matters to me. I don’t understand why my teacher and principal insist on me wearing a skirt to sing in the choir. It feels as weird as showing up to school in a bathing suit and nothing else. I already feel uncomfortable at school. It would be just one small thing that would make me think, ‘At least this one teacher knows and accepts me.’

Then, learn….

During #GlobalDiversityAwareness Month and all year round, California State PTA and National PTA have position statements and resolutions that give us authority to act on behalf of LGBTQIA+ students and their families:

Then, Take Action…

We recognize that each PTA and school community will have different solutions, but these are great places to start: 

  • Review school policies in regard to bullying and support revisions and amendments to those policies that specifically address the topics of sexual orientation and gender identification/expression as they relate to harassment and bullying.  https://capta.org/focus-areas/community-concerns/lgbtqia/
  • Use the Welcoming Schools Checklist to see how your PTA is doing in welcoming all families into your school.  http://downloads.capta.org/hea/WelcomingSchools_Checklist.pdf
  • Use the California State PTA Position Statements and Resolutions as you do studies of local legislation that impacts families of LGBTQIA+ students.  If you need support in this process, reach out to your Council or District Board and they can support you.

Click here to read part 1 of this series.

Click here to return to the blog homepage.

Global Diversity Awareness Month: Parent Stories, Part 1

First, listen…

Parent: There it was — in print. The new Superintendent wrote in his message to the whole district that special education was taking funds meant for general fund programs. My heart sank. My child and thousands like her were positioned as the ‘taker of funds’ and not a part of the school community. My child is a general education student first, then a student who needs additional services and supports in order to learn. This was just one more example of how my child, and others like her, are segregated socially. The segregation or separateness is social and physical and affects how our children see themselves and how others see them. If our children were taught from preschool that their peers who act, think, learn, move differently belong with them, then our general community, workplaces, housing, city planning, higher education would be full of people who had experience being around individuals with disabilities of all kinds.

Then, learn…

During #GlobalDiversityAwarenessMonth and all year round, California State PTA has position statements and resolutions that give us authority to act on behalf of special education students and families:

Then, Take Action…

We recognize that each PTA and school community will have different solutions, but these are great places to start: 

  • Participate in your school and district Local Control Accountability Plan (LCAP) process and actively advocate for special needs programming.  https://capta.org/resource/seasons-of-lcap-development-and-engagement/
  • Learn about ways to support Special Education Families and why you should consider including a Special Needs Committee as part of your PTA Board https://capta.org/focus-areas/education/special-needs/
  • Use the California State PTA Position Statements and Resolutions as you do studies of local legislation that impacts special needs families.  If you need support in this process, reach out to your Council or District Board and they can support you. 

During the Back to School Season, help families of special needs students with transition by sharing these tips (available in six different languages) https://capta.org/focus-areas/education/special-needs/tips-for-parents-of-students-with-special-needs/