By Jo Mathis/AAPS District News
Although AAPS honors and celebrate the contributions of Hispanic Americans on every day, we also participate in the National Hispanic American Heritage observance each year from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15.
Superintendent Jeanice Swift notes that the district has celebrated in a variety of ways.
“Elementary schools celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month in many different ways including exciting interdisciplinary units of study, rich celebrations that include food, music, and conversation as well as highlighting books and authors who represent characters & stories that validate and reflect our Hispanic communities,” she said in a message to the AAPS community today. “Middle / K8 Schools launched Hispanic Heritage Month in advisories and in interdisciplinary units with Spanish, art, music, and PE classes by providing a menu of options including prompts, information shared via slides, and activities to incorporate into their day. Students are engaged and excited to complete music challenges in advisories and listen to music from each of the Spanish-speaking countries.”
She noted that librarians across the district have been highlighting titles by Hispanic American authors throughout the month through book displays, in our Sora Collections, book talks and in lessons.
“We are a stronger Ann Arbor Public Schools community as we honor, embrace and celebrate our diversity, continually create a culture of belonging for all, and value the connections that unite us as an inclusive Ann Arbor community.”Superintendent Jeanice Swift
Lawton Elementary Principal Rose Marie Callahan noted that Hispanic American Heritage Month at Lawton has been a time to invite students, staff, and family members to learn about Hispanic and Latino cultures.
“Our PTO members have designed three different displays with artifacts and information that highlight various facts and prominent members of Hispanic community,” she said. “Lawton students are visiting the displays and participating in a scavenger hunt that was created by a team of our teachers.”
“Our intention is to create as many opportunities as possible for people to feel seen and included in the important work we do in schools. We want all of our students to feel dignity and honor when they are at school. We want them to experience that we know their cultures and that we value their stories.”
Lakewood Elementary Principal Airess Stewart says her community embraces the diverse strengths and backgrounds of our students and families by honoring traditions and contributions from different cultures.
“Our celebrations during Hispanic Heritage month allow our Latinx students to see themselves honored and respected in our learning spaces,” she says. “This also affords all students a window into the cultural practices of other families to gain a better understanding and appreciation for experiences other than their own. These learning experiences strengthen our community by providing a space where our students feel they belong and can continue to grow through a shared respect for one another.”