A Message from Karen Leavitt, Head of Lower School: September 23
  • Academics
Karen Leavitt, Head of Lower School
Dear Lower School Families,
I know you’ve been hearing a lot about the incorporation of our new AMAZEworks curriculum in Lower School, but I’d love to take this opportunity to share a bit more about the program and how it will likely manifest in your children’s classrooms.  Alongside our important curricular work in the core content areas, we are adding this formalized program as an additional social-emotional thread for our students.
AMAZEworks is a St. Paul, Minnesota-based, nonprofit organization that works with schools across the country to create equity and belonging for all students through their anti-bias book program. With this program, teachers and students build social and emotional skills that foster healthy identity development and respect across differences. They participate in regular, intentional conversations on identity, difference and bias, which prevents the internalization of stereotypes, reduces bias levels in children and increases learning and engagement. Teachers also engage in ongoing self-reflection about how their own identities and biases impact relationships and their work with children and families. 
The AMAZEworks Elementary Curriculum uses children’s picture books to incorporate the tenets of Anti-Bias Education (seen in the image below) in order to create classrooms of equity and belonging. Each picture book explores different cultures, identities, lived experiences and family structures. Each lesson contains discussion questions, journal prompts and follow-up activities to further enhance children’s understanding.
By facilitating meaningful discussions about identity, difference and bias, teachers prevent biased-based teasing and mistreatment while maintaining a safe and supportive school environment. Students learn and feel better in classrooms where they feel seen and valued for all of who they are. Students learn about empathy, accepting oneself, respect for others, noticing and rejecting bias and standing up for themselves and others.
Each grade level book set in the AMAZEworks Elementary Curriculum comes with 20 books, intentional scope and sequence, literacy alignment and curriculum guides for teachers. We are excited that our school has committed to implementing the curriculum with rigor and fidelity. While all teachers in a grade level will implement the same materials, each class discussion and follow-up activity will take on the life of the student makeup in the classroom. Your students will learn with all 20 books over the course of the year, taught primarily by their general studies teacher. 
We are proud and excited to welcome AMAZEworks to Bernard Zell. We look forward to sharing student learning with you!
Sincerely,
Karen Leavitt
Head of Lower School

   

 

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