Happy New Year everyone!
I hope that everyone is refreshed and ready for the hope that 2021 brings. Just a moment of transparency… As I write to you this evening, rioters not protesters have decided to storm the Capitol building of the United States of America. As a child, growing up in Washington DC, I visited the steps of the capitol building almost every day as my mother worked blocks away at the Department of Labor. In addition, the capitol building is literally blocks away from my grandparents’ home. As one who grew up in the nation’s capital, I remember Mrs. Brown, my favorite teacher, giving a spelling test and we had to know the difference between capital and capitol. To see the images from this act of treason had a profound impact on me as Washington DC is my home. What a sad moment in our history, but where did this action come from?
The words of W.E.B. DuBois may shed some light on this question. In November of 1910, DuBois said, “Separate school children by wealth and the result is class misunderstanding and hatred. Separate by race and the result is war. Separate them by color and they grow up without learning the tremendous truth that it is impossible to judge the mind of a man by the color of his face. Is there any truth that America needs to learn more?” Please know that we have our work to do.
Through tthis reasonous attack on democracy, I believe America is in a unique position. America, in this hour, can create a better future. But, make no mistake, this must be the moment. One way we can create a better future together is to teach our children about stereotypes that are depicted on television.
As a principal, I wish I had a dollar for every time I heard parents say, “I don’t know where he/she gets that from?” Let me just say that every time you turn on your television you are inviting whoever and whatever as a guest in your home. Developmentally speaking, children from ages 0-12 absorb information like sponges. And once they see the image it is hard to undo. This is why knowing the impact of advertising is so important. Advertising departments know that it is hard to unsee what you just saw and heard. So think about that in reference to stereotypes. Television tells us what is considered beautiful, intelligent, patriotic and so on. According to Dana Williams of Teaching Tolerance, “The average American child spends more time in front of the television set than in the classroom-racking up more than 18,000 hours of TV by high school graduation and 13,000 hours in a classroom.” She goes on further to state, “That’s 5,000 more hours spent soaking up stereotypes and misinformation than hours reading, discussing and learning about real people and cultures.” There must be a change in 2021.
The one thing that we can do according to Williams is to look closely at the characters your child see. Williams asks us to examine these characters, “What messages do they send concerning race, gender, culture and roles?” Parents, this moment in our history allows us to discuss with our child the why behind your approval or disapproval of various stereotypes. Ask your child to compare the images they see on TV to the real life people that they know. Ask them if they see a pattern in the images that they see? What image do the makers of the commercial want you to have about the characters in the advertisement?
As a principal and a parent, this year I will continue to join the millions of families in turning off the television and connect even more with the real characters in my real world. Next month, I will discuss the exciting future of teaching and learning at Cary Elementary School. Let’s make 2021 great together!
Yours in Service,
Mrs. Ketia Singleton–Academic Dean
Welcome to John B. Cary Elementary School where we take pride in our scholars and their academics. John B. Cary is the The W.R.I.T.E. (Writing and Reading Incorporated Together Everyday) School!
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January Cougar Call
Family Support Helpline - Questions about reopening? Call the RPS Family Support Helpline at (804) 780-6195 and learn more about other resources available to families.
"RPS Direct" Emails from Superintendent Kamras
Dear #RPS Strong Family, I'm reaching out with this special RPS Direct to share the following COVID-19 positive test result/s: Fairfield Court Elementary School - 1 staff member (last there on 1/21) George W. Carver Elementary School - 1 staff member (last there on 12/18) Mary Munford Elementary School - 1 student (not physically present this school year) Transportation Department - 1 staff member (last at South Bus Compound and Thomas C. Boushall Middle School on 1/12) Woodville Elementary School - 1 student (not physically present this school year) Please reach out to your primary care provider if you have any concerns, or contact the Richmond City Health District (RCHD) by calling their COVID-19 hotline: (804) 205-3501. Please also continue to wear your mask, stay physically distant, and wash your hands. Our number one priority remains the health and safety of our students, staff, and families. Towards that end, we will continue to work in close collaboration with RCHD to ensure the well-being of the entire RPS community.
Dear #RPSStrong Family, Please forgive me for the delay tonight! It's late so I'll cut to the chase: thank you for sharing so many wonderful shout-outs for our school leaders! On my weekly principal call this afternoon, we took a group photo (see below) with everyone making the heart sign. This is now one of my all-time favorite RPS photos, as it so beautifully represents our motto: Teach with Love, Lead with Love, and Serve with Love. These incredible leaders give their entire souls to the students, families, and staff of RPS, and I couldn't be more honored to work alongside them every day. Before signing off, I want to give my principal when I was a teacher in DC – Mr. William Lipscomb – a shout out. Thank you for picking me up from the Minnesota Avenue metro stop that first day and for all your support ever since. I'm forever in your debt.