by Krystal Jordan, Diversity & Inclusion Chair; Nathan Whitman, KATE President and KATE PAGES Editors
Black History Month is an annual celebration of African American achievements and contributions to society. It is a time to reflect on the struggles and triumphs of black Americans throughout history and to honor their legacy. In honor of Black History Month, organizations like the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) and the Kansas Association of Teachers of English (KATE) have been working to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion in education through various initiatives and activities.
One such initiative is NCTE's African American Read-In, which takes place every February. The Read-In is a nationwide event that encourages people of all ages to read and share works by African American authors. Participants can organize their own Read-In events in schools, libraries, community centers, and other public spaces, and share their experiences using the hashtag #AARI23 on social media. The goal of the Read-In is to promote diversity in literature and to raise awareness of the contributions of African American authors to American culture.
In Kansas, KATE members are also taking action to promote diversity and inclusion in their classrooms. Krystal Jordan, a teacher at Wichita North High School and the leader of KATE's Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee, has been using Black History Month as an opportunity to engage her students in collaborative learning and to promote awareness of African American history. Her classroom door decoration project is a great example of this. Instead of simply teaching her students about the Civil Rights Movement, she asked them to research and share information about African American figures from a variety of categories, using QR codes to link to additional resources. By encouraging her students to explore the contributions of a diverse group of historical figures, Jordan is helping them to develop a deeper understanding of African American history and its impact on American society.
Nathan Whitman, the current President of KATE and a teacher at Derby High School, is also working to promote diversity and inclusion in his classroom. As the sponsor of his school's Diversity Club, he has been collaborating with his students to create interactive posters for the school's hallways, highlighting notable persons of color and black film and art. By providing opportunities for students to explore the contributions of African Americans to various fields, Whitman is helping them to develop a broader understanding of the contributions of black Americans to American culture.
Black History Month is an essential time for reflecting on the profound impact of African Americans on American society. It is also a moment for educators to celebrate the achievements of black Americans and promote diversity, equity, and inclusion in public education. Initiatives like the African American Read-In and classroom projects, as organized by Krystal Jordan and Nathan Whitman, demonstrate the meaningful contributions of educators in enhancing the learning experience for students. However, the responsibility of highlighting black history in public education should not rest solely on these initiatives. It is imperative that educators work to promote an inclusive educational experience for all students and ensure that the contributions of African Americans to American society are recognized and celebrated year-round.
As we celebrate Black History Month, we’d love for you to share your story with KATE PAGES! What are you doing in the classroom and in your communities to honor the legacy of African Americans?
by KATE PAGES Editors
The Kansas Association of Teachers of English (KATE) held its spring executive board meeting on February 18, 2023, at the Salina Public Library in Salina, KS.
Reports were presented by members on various KATE initiatives, including Voices of Kansas, Kansas English, William Allen White Awards, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI), NCTE, KATE PAGES, Website, Financial, and a Membership Update.
Several action items and follow-ups were discussed during the meeting, including a resignation and follow-through regarding responsibilities within the PR Committee and its newly created playbook. The Conference Committee was also discussed, with monthly meetings beginning and full conference preparation underway.
Other to-dos discussed included outreach to new teachers and conducting a survey to understand why some members did not attend the conference and how to attract more people to it. The board also discussed reviewing the cycle of leadership as something to consider toward the upcoming summer and fall executive board meetings so as to preserve institutional knowledge and also attract and keep members on the executive board.
The meeting ended with a tentative date being set for both KATE Camp and the summer executive board meeting: June 21, 2023, with the board meeting taking place from 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM, lunch from 12:00 PM - 1:00 PM, and Camp from 1:00 PM - 3:00 PM. More details to come regarding location.
Afterwards, those in attendance in-person hit up the Salina downtown for lunch at The Prickly Pear Grill & Cantina and perusal of books at the Ad Astra Books & Coffee house!
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