Name/Location of School: Josiah Quincy Elementary School, Boston, MA
DonorsChoose.org project name: Diverse Books for Little Readers
Teacher’s Name: Ms. Switzer
Grade Level: PreK – 2
Subject (if applicable): Cultural Diversity
Project description: Ms. Switzer works with kindergarteners from a broad diversity of backgrounds, has six different languages represented in her classroom, and has students with disabilities in her class. She understands that students are more successful in school when their identities are affirmed. “My students come from all different cultural backgrounds. We need books that reflect all of them. They need to see families that look like their own. They need to hear stories that look and sound like experiences they’ve had in their own lives.”
Why did you select this project?
This is precisely why I do what I do with Westchester Education Services. Amazing teachers like Ms. Switzer are recognizing the importance of diverse representation in their classroom materials, and are seeking it out. It’s critical for those efforts to be supported, and it’s just as critical for us to increase the volume of such material available to teachers and school districts.
If the teacher has contacted you since their project was funded, please share their comments:
Thank you so much for your generous donations. I am so excited to share these beautiful books with my students. I know they will love reading books with characters that look like them and share their culture. These books will allow us to embrace and learn about everyone’s differences!
How did it feel to be able to help fund this classroom’s project? This project has personal meaning for me. As an American Muslim from mixed (White and South Asian) descent, I never saw reflections of my identity in my public-school textbooks or any of the copious amounts of fiction I read. I didn’t recognize the hole that left in my sense of identity, however, until I started my current role at Westchester and began delving into the theory and research around “mirrors and windows,” looking at the data around representation in K-12 material and children’s/young adult literature, and reflecting on my own identity. I am delighted to have a small part in offering these little kindergarteners the opportunity to have their identities affirmed in their school learning environment.
Funding needs for teacher projects have only increased in recent months, and even a small contribution can have a large impact on public school students. There are projects that appeal to a variety of subjects, interests, and student age groups. Visit the DonorsChoose website to select a project that interests you.
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by India Brown, Project Coordinator Open the Door We know…