Reflect, discuss

Prompts for personal reflection and conversation with others:

> What do you experience in your body (sensations), heart (feelings), and/or head (thoughts) on reading the story we just posted?

> What does this story make you want to do/say? What feels possible for you to do/say? What feels hard and/or hopeful?

> Who has the power in this story? Whose voice/s are not being heard?

> What choices might the people in this story have had–and/or not have had? What is the impact of the choices they make? 

> What might they have said or done differently in the moment–or afterward–and what impact might it have had?

REAL Talk, story 11

This story was shared by an NPS student. 

Image ID: the background of image 1 is orange (upper one-third) and purple (lower two-thirds), with a large white square with rounded corners overlaying and within that square, this text in purple: “In one of my classes we are learning about Asia and one of my white teachers wrote on the board Rice=Asia Food. First of all she used incorrect grammar and second that is extremely racist! People all over the world eat rice! And on a different day we were making timelines for ancient China and she made the timeline on “Chinese Dragons” (it was obviously made by a white person). She is so oblivious of her actions and needs to be educated.”

Image 2 has the same orange/purple split background, with the white text “Story Themes” running up the lower left side and two columns of white boxes (four per column) displaying our eight story themes. Here, the themes Educational Challenges, Lack of Understanding, and Race & Identity are emphasized with bright/bold colors and the themes Whiteness, Emotional Response, The Future, Hurt & Exclusion, and Actions & Strategies deemphasized with paler colors.

Statement about equitable after-school care

Some NPS caregivers have raised concerns about inequitable access to affordable and flexible after-school childcare in the district. In summary, Leeds is currently the only one of the four elementary schools that administers its own after-school program, while the other three participate in a program run by the YMCA. While some families love the Y program, the Leeds program is cheaper and more flexible than the Y’s, and some families have pointed to this discrepancy and the need for greater affordability and flexibility for families at Jackson Street, Bridge Street, and Ryan Road schools.

Currently there is word circulating that the Leeds program may be cancelled in response to these concerns–that, in responding to calls for equity, the district may shut down the more flexible and affordable option and have all four elementary schools use the Y program. In response, some Leeds families have begun organizing against a potential closure, feeling protective of a program that the Leeds community worked hard to create and update and that has generally worked well.

REAL Northampton believes that equity is achieved when all community members are lifted up and all have access to rich resources–not by taking something valuable away from one of our schools, which in the case of the after-school program issue pits school against school and parent against parent. Given that, REAL Northampton urges administrators to work toward equity across the district’s after-school programs without dismantling the Leeds program, which is enjoyed by many Leeds families. 

We urge administrators to think creatively to resolve this issue in a way that leads to increased affordability and flexibility for Jackson Street, Bridge Street, and Ryan Road families, rather than decreased affordability and flexibility for Leeds families. 

We urge administrators to work toward uniting district families around the common purpose of affordable and flexible before- and after-school care, which should not be seen as a zero-sum game. 

We urge administrators to facilitate communication and learning among the four elementary school communities, such that they can learn from one another and help meet each school’s needs.

We urge administrators to spend the necessary time to come up with a long-term approach that works for all, which could potentially continue to involve the Y, rather than apply a quick fix that leaves more families without the kind of childcare they need.

Reflect, discuss

Prompts for personal reflection and conversation with others:

> What do you experience in your body (sensations), heart (feelings), and/or head (thoughts) on reading the story we just posted?

> What does this story make you want to do/say? What feels possible for you to do/say? What feels hard and/or hopeful?

> Who has the power in this story? Whose voice/s are not being heard?

> What choices might the people in this story have had–and/or not have had? What is the impact of the choices they make? 

> What might they have said or done differently in the moment–or afterward–and what impact might it have had?

REAL Talk, Story 10

This story was shared by an NPS parent/caregiver. 

Image ID: the background of image 1 is orange (upper one-third) and purple (lower two-thirds), with a large white square with rounded corners overlaying and within that square, this text in purple: “This year at a school assembly led by the first-grade classrooms at my kid’s school, the presentation included a book reading in English and Spanish (with a bilingual ESP doing the Spanish reading) and a song in English with ASL accompanying. It was really great. Also great: I later learned that the fifth-grade classrooms are considering a similar approach for their own upcoming school assembly presentation.”

Image 2 has the same orange/purple split background, with the white text “STORY THEMES” running up the lower left side and two columns of white boxes (four per column) displaying our eight story themes. Here, the themes actions & strategies and the future are emphasized with bright/bold colors and the themes lack of understanding, emotional response, educational challenges, whiteness, race & identity, and hurt & exclusion deemphasized with paler colors.