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Riverton Holds Third Annual Civil Rights Week Celebration

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Riverton Holds Third Annual Civil Rights Week Celebration
Posted on 03/23/2016
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The third annual Riverton Elementary School Civil Rights Celebration week kicked off earlier this month. There were many kid-friendly presentations put on by student Civil Rights Team members throughout the week, all of which got students thinking and talking about issues of race, skin color, national origin, ancestry, religion, disabilities, gender, and orientation.

The goal for the week of March 7-11 was to highlight the incredible diversity that exists at the school and have lots of conversations with students. The conversations were about how differences are something to celebrate and get excited to learn about; that even though we all have things that make us different from each other, we also have lots in common; and that everyone deserves to be treated with kindness and respect.

Highlights of the week include:

•  The Theater Civil Rights Team group (run by local community actor, Mark Rubin) visited some first- and second-grade classrooms to perform a student-written interactive skit about discrimination.  The theme concerned a new girl to school who looks different than what the kids expected.

•  The Arts and Crafts Civil Rights Team group (run by UNE social work intern, Bridget Fenerty) visited some kindergarten and special education classrooms to read a story:  "The Day I swam Into a New World" by Margaret Auguste. They held a brief discussion of the book, and then did an art activity with the class, having students make a banner welcoming EVERYONE to Riverton School!

The Culture Club Civil Rights Team group (run by AmeriCorps volunteers Katie Cole and Lauren Ouellette) visited most, if not all, grade levels. African drumming lessons with educator and performer Michael Wingfield focused on the cultural background of where the instrument and music originated. The kids and staff loved Michael, his music, and playing the drums.

The Mentoring Civil Rights Team group (run by Riverton School social worker, Amanda Atkinson-Lewis) read from a selection of children's books with anti-bias themes  (“William's Doll,” “Amazing Grace,” “Everybody's Different,” and “The Family Book” etc.) and held discussions with the kids. In pre-K classrooms, mentors read, “It’s OK to be Different”, and then the young students drew pictures of their families and shared them. Everyone’s family is different, and also all have things in common!

The Newsletter and Arts Civil Rights Team group (Run by Riverton fifth-grade teacher Teddy Valencia) worked with fourth-grade classrooms on a “Hall of Nations” activity, where students were asked to draw pictures of the flags of the countries where their families are from. The flags were connected together and will be displayed in the school’s hallway.

The Lincoln Middle School Civil Rights Team (run by Lincoln teacher Jane Lombard) visited the fourth-grade at Riverton to do an activity that looks at different kinds of families and the importance of accepting all kinds of families.