Wilder Elementary’s equity team has steadily been building its efforts to create a more equitable school community.
Team members read the book “Stamped (For Kids): Racism, Antiracism, and You” and invited parents to join them as part of an evening book club. Several teachers volunteered to facilitate book groups for fourth- and fifth-grade students interested in reading the book together.
On Wednesday, they capped off their work from the year with a breakfast celebration with about 40 parents and students.
“I feel like the work, especially this year with parents and students, was especially important and part of the vision this team set actually two years ago, to bring conversations around the topic of equity into our school building,” Wilder Principal Dr. Victoria Hazlett said to those attending the event. “Because if we can raise up our children to be more inclusive, then we can create a sense of belonging and acceptance for all children and all families at Wilder Elementary School.”
As part of the festivities, students who participated in the book groups shared what they learned and important things that came up in their conversations. They talked about moments in history and terms they discovered, shared quotes from the book that inspired conversations and talked about hard truths about racism.
Wilder PTA treasurer Laura Stier, who attended the celebration, read the Stamped For Kids book with her two kids — both of whom were too young to participate in the book club. She said the book has given them a broader perspective of what other kids might have to go through that they don’t.
“So that they are able to look at it a certain way — look at the history and see how it can be deconstructed before they can really be a force to help in these situations in school,” she said. “You have a variety of kids who all have one goal, which is to find a place to fit. They want to come to school every day feeling safe. They want to come to school every day feeling they have a part to play in this community and all of these initiatives are helping the bigger Wilder community figure out how to do that for all the students who walk in the door.”
To build on the school’s equity efforts, Wilder PTA dedicated $2,000 to purchase nearly 100 diverse books for the school library. The books will be available to students in the fall.
Parent Bella Rogers, a member of Wilder’s equity team whose kids are in kindergarten and the third grade, said she is proud of the team’s work in creating a more equitable community at Wilder and in Westerville.
“Just the fact that the Westerville School District has this initiative means so much,” she said. “We have a lot more to do. Just the fact that Wilder is playing a part in that to help educate our students, it means so much to me.”