Volume 5 Issue 2 | October 2019
PEP Talk

A Call To Action: Providing Students Windows and Mirrors

Studies have shown that students enjoy reading more when they can connect to and identify with characters in the books they read. Without enjoyment, students are less likely to be engaged and successful in literacy development. It has been nearly 30 years since Rudine Sims Bishop’s seminal essay “Mirrors, Windows, and Sliding Glass Doors” was published. The essay highlighted the lack of children’s books with diverse characters and themes and called for books to act as windows and mirrors that would allow all children to see themselves and the experiences of others in what they read. Bishop writes: “Children from dominant social groups have always found their mirrors in books, but they, too, have suffered from the lack of availability about others. They need the books as windows onto reality, not just on imaginary worlds. They need books that will help them understand the multicultural nature of the world they live in, and their place as a member of just one group, as well as their connections to all other humans...If they see only reflections of themselves, they will grow up with an exaggerated sense of their own importance and value in the world—a dangerous ethnocentrism.”   Sadly, recent data reveals that 30 years after Rudine Sims Bishop’s call to action, there is still work to be done to provide students with the window and mirrors that will allow children to question the assumptions and practices of our own world.
Starting in 2014, the number of diverse books being published increased substantially. And in 2017, the number jumped to 31% 2 . However, while the number of diverse books increases substantially, the number of books written  by  people of color still is unrepresentative of the population of children authors write for. In 2017, Black, Latinx, and Native authors combined wrote just 7% of new children’s books published. The majority of books, whether they feature diverse characters or not, are still written by white authors.
The responsibility to provide students with books that offer windows and mirrors can feel like an overwhelming one, but many resources exist to support this process. Check out the work of these organizations:

Additionally, as you are selecting texts for your school or classroom, consider the following questions:

       -  What’s my student’s background knowledge of this book’s topic? How could his or her experiences be different than mine?
       -  Does this book present a stereotype or narrow view of a particular group or type of experience?
      -  How could I leverage my students’ cultural knowledge to help them understand this book? ( Adapted from Lee & Low Books, The Open Book Blog)

Article by Professor Kristen Braatz
5th Annual Literacy Institute --June 9, 2020

Registration is open for the 5th annual Literacy Institute - June 9, 2020 - Featuring awarding winning author and speaker Dr. Jan Richardson

Register NOW - seating is limited!
African American Male Initiative Students Travel to Washington DC

Assistant Professor Eugene Pitchford and Concordia University Wisconsin adjunct instructor Randee Drew will be taking a group of 80 young men to Washington, D.C. in March, 2020. The trip to Washington, D.C. is part of The African American Male Initiative sponsored by the Closing the Achievement Gap Consortium and Concordia University Wisconsin.

During the summer of 2019, a group of 150 young men from over twelve Southern Wisconsin high schools attended the fifth annual African American Male Initiative on the Concordia Mequon Campus. The 80 young men traveling to Washington, D.C. will be selected from the participants of that four-day event. The multi-day trip to Washington, D.C. will focus on historical locations, governmental centers and venues important to African American history, and is being funded by a grant from the Kohl Foundation.  
Upcoming Educational Administration Courses

Concordia University Wisconsin Graduate Educational Administration students continue to find course options to be student-friendly. The following three face-to-face courses will be offered during the 2019 calendar year in an accelerated format:

EDG 537 Supervision of Instruction: Instructor (Dr. Elliot Moeser) November 9th & 10th and December 7th & 8th from 8:00 to 4:00 on Concordia's Mequon campus.

EDG 552 Improvements in the Teaching of Literacy: Instructor (Missy Vraney) November 1st – 3rd & 15th – 17th. This course will be taught 5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. on Fridays, 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on Saturdays and 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Sundays.

EDG 507 Curriculum Leadership: Instructor (Susan Alexander) November 22nd – 24th and December 6th & 8th. This course will be taught 5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. on Fridays, 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on Saturdays and 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Sundays.

Educational Administration students should contact Sarah Mayer at sarah.mayer@cuw.edu or at 262-243-4557 if they have questions or if they need assistance.

Elliott Moeser, Ph.D.
Director Graduate Educational Administration
Concordia University Wisconsin
Grow Your Own--Strengthening the Teacher Pipeline

A component of the Concordia Department of Graduate Education’s work with school districts is aimed at attracting adults into the educational profession and attracting high school students to have education as their first choice as a profession. The Department of Graduate Education is working with several school districts to increase student interest in education as a profession. Concordia is also working with school districts in encouraging staff members such as substitute teachers, aides, paraprofessionals, secretaries, etc. to be interested in teaching.

This “Grow Your Own” concept seeks to attract students and non-certified employees, especially those of color, to teach in their own district. For high school students, this could include an array of dual credit courses in grades 10-12. For non-certified staff members, this would include an accelerated university program leading to a degree and teaching license. The non-certified staff members program is specifically designed for working adults seeking to join the education profession.

For more information on the concept and how it could help your district, contact Dr. Mike Dietz, Director of Innovation & Global Outreach at michael.dietz@cuw.edu
First Quarter Tips
School leaders in the first quarter of the year have an opportunity to zero in on ways to help move the school forward. Some tips to consider, despite all the complexity of school operations include the following:

     -  Focus on the end user—aka the children and what they need. Servant leaders put them and those who serve them at the forefront of attention.

     -  Address the content of what is needed to take the school to a higher level of performance for all children. Embedded in all of this should be RTI and P.B.I.S., as well as a transparent connection to higher order thinking skills and applications ala Bloom, Webb, and Marzano.

    -  Improve the context in which you operate—this includes the climate, culture, physical environment and dominant messages. 

    -   Proceed all of the above with positive intent.

To be effective leaders, we ought to be place others, as well as ourselves, into a productive zone of discomfort. This challenges the entire school community to take its work to a higher level that can actually make a difference for all students in real time.

Please consider sharing tips that are working for you. Send them to Dr. Mike Dietz, Director of Innovation and Global Outreach, michael.dietz@cuw.edu , 262-365-3947.
We Want YOU To Inform Our Professional Practice
Have you implemented a new practice that is working well? Please share your experience with us, so that we can use this newsletter to share information with others.

Please email your success story to amy.hillenbrand@cuw.edu .

Concordia University Wisconsin Graduate Education 262-243-2708