Nov. 19, 2018

Avery Parents for Racial Equity

November 19, 2018


Those present: Elisa Tomich, Amanda Vader, Kersten Horn, Tracy Baden, Tony Arnold, Amy Estlund, Paul Marske, Jennifer Patrick, Heath Borders, Courtney Schaefer, Nytasha Taylor, Lindsay Brand, Ross Brand


1.) Elisa Tomich suggested starting each meeting with an article or piece of though provoking information. She shared “Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack.”


2.) Needs Assessment survey: Amy Estlund provided an update. Over 90 paper copies of the survey were sent out. Of those, six have been completed and returned;  29 online surveys have been completed; received 9 staff surveys. Dr. Arnold sent a follow-up note today for the staff surveys. Some suggestions for increasing participation: send text alert (with short URL) or a dedicated email instead of in the weekly newsletter. Amy would like at least 20% participation and can present findings to the staff.


3.) Speaker events: agreement that these are helpful and engaging; might have been more helpful to hear Dr. Banks first and then have the smaller discussion with Adelaide Lancaster; seemed to be some overlap in their presentations. The team would like more opportunities/speakers like this. Some ideas: EdHub – educator-focused; Diversity Awareness Partnership St. Louis has interactive workshops.


4.) Mrs. Baden gave an update on Ubuntu: Social justice committee at Avery comprised of teachers.

  • A few years the focus became reaching out to North Webster families. The group plans several events a year in the community, such as the pumpkins in the park (teachers walk with students after school to Bell/Ivory Crocket park to do a craft and have refreshments.) Each year participation has grown and has become more diverse.
  • Avery Art teacher is spearheading a multicultural mural on the playground.
  • The team would like to have a hat/glove drive (soon) and possibly a poncho drive in

spring. Desire is to keep this a quiet effort within parent community. Our group could

share on Facebook. The idea is that each teacher could have a box of hats/gloves to give to students as they leave the classroom. Ubuntu can put some communication together and our group could help distribute.

  • Black Rep will be coming to Avery in January. The performances were funded by the PTO, through a donation Elisa won at Wells Fargo Advisors.


5.) Black History Month

Two ideas were discussed - and consensus was to move forward with both.

  • Follow Bristol’s lead with a career speaker series. Reach out to parents first and then

community members. Ubuntu could help coordinate with teachers’ schedules; could

potentially have one speaker per day in February. Each speaker would be highlighted in the morning announcements, with photo on video screens around school. Speakers could talk about what they do professionally, talk about black history, read a book, engage kids in Q and A.

  • Read-a-thon or read-in: develop book lists that include titles by black authors, that reflect black history, civil rights or social justice issues. Book lists wouldn’t be ALL that kids could choose from, but would give them titles to look up in the library or in classrooms.
  • Kids who read a certain number of books could get an award. Teachers could also get involved. Courtney will explore this idea.
  • Read-a-thon will be further developed at December meeting.


6.) Finance update:

  • We’ve spent 386.62 so far this year on multi-cultural crayons/pencils/books, speaker series and childcare for meetings. We have 613.38 left this year.
  • Of that amount, about $200 will go to childcare at meetings.
  • Several copies of book will be purchased at Novel Neighbor and then donated to school.


7.) $5,000 grant opportunity ideas. Elisa would like to apply for a $5,000 grant through Wells Fargo to promote racial equity at Avery. Ideas were discussed.

  • Staff professional development followed by a service day, breakfast book club,

compensate teachers who do walking school bus

  • Elisa will reach out to Webster Rock Hill Ministries to see if they have ideas
  • Will need to have a volunteer component


8.) Upcoming:

  • Book Club discussion in January on White Kids: Growing Up with Privilege in a Racially

Divided America. Let Elisa know if you need a copy. Novel Neighbor and Eyeseeme Book Store also have copies.

  • Explore a walking tour of North Webster for our group (Courtney)
  • Parent/kid meet up at Art Museum for Kehinde Wiley exhibit. Possibly use some funds

for bus transportation?

  • Dr. Arnold will tell 4 th grade teachers about this exhibit for the museum field trip in


  • Contact Webster Rock Hill Ministries to have someone talk to our group at a future


  • Elisa was contacted by Lindsay Moody to ask about a sub-committee of parents who are

helping with a backpack project (sending food home on Fridays); Elisa will get more info

and share.