Book Talk about Race

Bloomfield Educators Participating in Book Talk about Race
Posted on 11/12/2020
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As part of continuing conversations about including more cultural relevance in its curriculum, Bloomfield Public Schools is conducting a book talk among staff about systemic racism, subconscious bias and equity.

Through ongoing professional development workshops, the district’s staff - including Superintendent Dr. James Thompson Jr. – will be discussing the book “How to be an Antiracist”. The New York Times best seller is authored by historian Ibram X. Kendi.

The “One Book, One Bloomfield” workshops requires staff to break into small groups and share their candid experiences about race and prejudice. Thompson said many are finding the introspective exercises enlightening, thought-provoking and emotional. The book talk will continue over the next several months. The expectation is that all staff will be able to explore their feelings and experiences – without judgment - with race and bias.

The goal is to embed more African American literature, historical content and culture into the district’s curriculum.

 “There is a Great Reckoning going on across the country as we examine the important historic contributions of people of color in society,” Thompson said. “These conversations are crucial to our self-awareness, knowledge-base and overall mission to become culturally relevant in our instruction, curriculum, learning materials and hiring practices.”

In the last two years, the district has conducted almost two dozen professional development workshops about race relations, racism and bias.

District and school leaders in recent weeks have also discussed the centennial anniversary of both the Harlem Renaissance and Negro Leagues baseball organization. This 1920’s era of Black self-actualization in literature, music, literature, the arts and sports gave voice to African Americans during a time of rampant segregation in America. The district wants to include this rich history in the curriculum and collaborate on a town-wide celebration.

Next year, the state is requiring that all school districts include Black and Latino history in its curriculum. It was a law that was passed through the leadership of State Representative Bobby Gibson, who is also a Bloomfield educator.

“Bloomfield is proud of the work that is already underway here, ’said the district’s Chief Academic Officer Stacey J. McCann. “With a sense of urgency, we are ramping it up, in alignment with the Connecticut State Department of Education framework. We recognize that systemic changes require us to change the system.”

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