Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion Resources for Bentonville Educators

Article - Getting Over Your Fear of Talking about Diversity

Learning to speak up about diversity is uncomfortable — but it’s a critical skills for classroom leaders who want to lead productive, safe, inclusive learning environments. This Harvard Business Review Article suggests ways to get over your fears...

  1. Ask the right questions

  2. Read up on books and other resources that will help you better understand marginalized populations

  3. Learn to embrace the discomfort of talking about and tackling tough issues.

Full text here: Harvard Business Review - Getting over your fear of talking about diversity

Story - Chris Nikic became the first person with Down syndrome to complete the famed Ironman triathlon in November 2020

Source: Jason Duaine Hahn and Rachel DeSantis July 2021, ESPY Awards Jimmy V Winner Chris Nikic Says He Hopes to Inspire

After becoming the first person with Down syndrome to complete an Ironman triathlon, Chris Nikic is ready to use his platform for good — and perhaps to spark romance!

Nikic, 21, accepted the Jimmy V Award for Perseverance at the 2021 ESPY Awards on Saturday, and marked his big win with an introduction from Tim Tebow and a sweet celebratory dance.

Nikic, 21, accepted the Jimmy V Award for Perseverance at the 2021 ESPY Awards on Saturday, and marked his big win with an introduction from Tim Tebow and a sweet celebratory dance.

"I am an Ironman, Adidas athlete, public speaker, author, and as you can see ladies, I am adorable, single and available!" Nikic told the crowd as he kicked off his acceptance speech.

"People ask, how did I overcome so many obstacles?" he continued. "Easy. I just got one percent better every day. Three years ago, I was 18, overweight, out of shape, excluded and isolated. But my dream was to be like you, to be included, to be independent, and to marry an amazing woman like my mom."

Since accomplishing his dream of completing an Ironman, Nikic said his new goal is to instill hope in others, which he plans to achieve by following a three-step plan.

"1. Get one percent better every day. 2. I work hard and 3. As Jimmy V said, 'Don't give up... Don't ever give up,' " Nikic explained. "It's easy to make excuses and quit. I don't do excuses, and I don't quit... because my dream is bigger than my pain."

As for what's next, Nikic told the crowd that he wants to continue inspiring others, and is looking forward to Down Syndrome Awareness Month in October, during which he'll celebrate his birthday, compete in Ironman Hawaii and publish a book.

"Please help me raise awareness for inclusion and let's make the world a better place for all of us," he concluded his speech.

In November, Nikic completed the grueling Ironman course, which required him to swim 2.4 miles, then bike 112 miles, before running a full marathon (26.2 miles), all in under 17 hours. Nikic was able to complete the race, which took place in Florida's Panama City Beach, 16 hours, 46 minutes, and 9 seconds.

"As a Special Olympics ambassador, I represent millions of athletes around the world who can now believe that inclusion is real for all of them," he said. "Thank you for me, but more importantly for the Down syndrome community and my fellow Special Olympics athletes."

"To Chris, this race was more than just a finish line and celebration of victory," his coach, Dan Grieb, told the organization. "IRONMAN has served as his platform to become one step closer to his goal of living a life of inclusion and leadership."

Article - If the ultimate goal is more equitable grading, where can teachers start?

ASCD - Educational Leadership, September 2020 | Volume 78 | Number 1 Grade Expectations Pages 12-13, Retrieved from http://www.ascd.org/publications/educational-leadership/sept20/vol78/num01/%C2%A3Antiracist%C2%A3-Grading-Starts-with-You.aspx

From Turn & Talk / "Antiracist" Grading Starts with You

Cornelius Minor is a grading equity advocate and author of We Got This. Equity, Access, and the Quest to Be Who Our Students Need Us to Be (Heinemann, 2018). A former middle school teacher and a lead staff developer Teachers College Reading and Writing Project at Columbia University.

"If I were to give teachers a starter kit, it would be to examine the ideologies that you bring into classrooms—the bad code, to repeat the computer metaphor. Three particularly pernicious ideologies show up in grading. The first is the ideology of should know. There's this false belief that if a 2nd grader walked into my classroom, there are certain things she should know. Rather, it's our job as teachers to discern what students do know and then move them forward.

The second thing I would eliminate is the ideology of transactional gratitude. In most academic spaces, there is a silent pact that teachers make with students: I will agree to teach you well if you demonstrate to me that you are thankful for it. And if you do not demonstrate to me that you are thankful for it, I will withhold quality teaching from you. A teacher will be in the lounge and say something like, "You know, I've done everything to make sure that McKibben kid understands how to add. But all she does is yell. She's not thankful. So I'm not doing it anymore." Or, "Can you believe I stayed after school for two hours to help Sarah with her essay and she still didn't turn it in? That kid can forget about it from me." We expect students to show up with gratitude because we do our jobs.

The third is the ideology of deservedness. Even though grading is about proficiency, it often gets conflated with behavior. You can have a student who is proficient at calculus, but if the teacher doesn't like the fact that they are consistently late to class, that kid gets marked down. Again, there's an unspoken pact teachers have with their children: I will agree to teach you well if you demonstrate to me that you deserve it.

If teachers start by examining—and eliminating—those three ideologies, then the grading that will come out on the other end of the system will be far better for children.

Course/Video - The Antidote to Microaggression? Microactions.

Resource from : Lynda.com/LinkedIn Learning (Online Course) - "Shane Snow on Dream Teams" Released10/11/2018, Full course available for all staff ask, your Media Specialist for BPL Tech Access or Use your Bentonville Library Card to Access eLearning. Retrieved from: https://www.lynda.com/Leadership-Management-tutorials/Shane-Snow-Dream-Teams/758616-2.html?org=bentonvillelibrary.org

"Every little opportunity you have to do something positive to reinforce the fact that you belong here, and it's safe to be you. Those are micro-opportunities that can add up to help create that dynamic where you can have that healthy conflict and feel safe."

In this video clip from the online course, based on his book Dream Teams: Working Together without Falling Apart, award-winning entrepreneur and journalist Shane Snow reveals the secrets of dream teams. Follow along and learn how to build a team with diverse "superpowers," cultivate a culture of inclusion and unity, stay productive and collaborative, and get better together.


TedTalk - Historian Elizabeth Stordeur Pryor leads a thoughtful and history-backed examination of one of the most divisive words in the English language: the N-word.

Resource from TEDxEasthamptonWomen, an independent event, December 2019. Retrieved from https://www.ted.com/talks/elizabeth_stordeur_pryor_why_it_s_so_hard_to_talk_about_the_n_word#t-21880

Drawing from personal experience, Historian Elizabeth Stordeur Pryor explains how reflecting on our points of encounter with the word can help promote productive discussions and, ultimately, create a framework that reshapes education around the complicated history of racism in the US.

Story - What a Childhood on the Road Taught a Daughter of Migrant Truck Drivers

Resource from https://texashighways.com/culture/people/what-childhood-on-the-road-taught-daughter-migrant-truck-drivers/ Written by: ire’ne lara silvaPublished: August 27, 2020 at 8:00 am

Book Review- Whistling Vivaldi: How Stereotypes Affect Us and What We Can Do

Article - Covid-19’s Impact on Students’ Academic and Mental Well-Being

This tip is adapted from Covid-19’s Impact on Students’ Academic and Mental Well-Being, By Youki Teradam, June 23, 2020

The pandemic has revealed—and exacerbated—inequities that hold many students back. Here are a few strategies teachers can prioritize when the new school year begins:

  • Focus on relationships first. Fear and anxiety about the pandemic—coupled with uncertainty about the future—can be disruptive to a student’s ability to come to school ready to learn. Teachers can act as a powerful buffer against the adverse effects of trauma by helping to establish a safe and supportive environment for learning. From morning meetings to regular check-ins with students, strategies that center around relationship-building will be needed in the fall.

  • Strengthen diagnostic testing. Educators should prepare for a greater range of variability in student learning than they would expect in a typical school year. Low-stakes assessments such as exit tickets and quizzes can help teachers gauge how much extra support students will need, how much time should be spent reviewing last year’s material, and what new topics can be covered.

  • Differentiate instruction—particularly for vulnerable students. For the vast majority of schools, the abrupt transition to online learning left little time to plan a strategy that could adequately meet every student’s needs—in a recent survey by the Education Trust, only 24 percent of parents said that their child’s school was providing materials and other resources to support students with disabilities, and a quarter of non-English-speaking students were unable to obtain materials in their own language. Teachers can work to ensure that the students on the margins get the support they need by taking stock of students’ knowledge and skills, and differentiating instruction by giving them choices, connecting the curriculum to their interests, and providing them multiple opportunities to demonstrate their learning.

Full Text Available at https://www.edutopia.org/article/covid-19s-impact-students-academic-and-mental-well-being

Classroom Resource - Letter From the Birmingham Jail

This tip is adapted from - Primary Source: Letter from the Birmingham Jail, King, Martin Luther, Jr. (Southern Christian Leadership Conference), April 16, 1963

Primary Source: Letter from the Birmingham Jail

This website has both the original letter and Martin Luther King Narrating the letter which was addressed to his fellow clergymen while he was in jail in Birmingham, Alabama, in 1963, after a nonviolent protest against racial segregation. The letter defends the strategy of nonviolent resistance to racism and articulates the moral responsibility to break unjust laws, and to take direct action rather than waiting potentially forever for justice to come through the courts.

Article - Make Things Right After Committing a Microaggression

This tip is adapted from “You’ve Been Called Out for a Microaggression. What Do You Do?,” by Rebecca Knight, Harvard Business Review

It was a throwaway remark, and you didn’t mean to offend. But now that a colleague or a student has brought the slight to your attention, you realize what you said was hurtful. So how should you respond after committing a microaggression?

First, make sure the other person feels heard. Your instinct may be to defend yourself — or your comment — but this isn’t about you. You can be a good, well-intentioned person who said something offensive. Follow your colleague’s or student's lead in the conversation, and be curious and empathetic.

Offer a sincere apology that expresses gratitude for their trust and acknowledges the impact and harm your comment caused. Say something like: “Thank you for telling me. I appreciate that you trust me enough to share this feedback. I’m sorry that what I said was offensive.” Be sure to keep it short and to the point. Don’t over-apologize or try to engage your colleague in a drawn-out conversation. Finally, commit to doing better in the future. Say, “I care about creating an inclusive workplace, and I want to improve. Please keep holding me accountable.”

Then, do the work of striving to be better. It requires grace, humility, and commitment.

Full Text - https://hbr.org/2020/07/youve-been-called-out-for-a-microaggression-what-do-you-do

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in the materials and resources are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Bentonville Schools. The writing and materials available on this blog are for informational purposes only.