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Black Lives Matter Year of Purpose

Lafayette 1st Grade at workLafayette Elementary School, (District of Columbia). Lafayette Elementary, the largest public elementary school in Washington, D.C., is by design a close-knit community educating more than nine hundred students from pre-kindergarten through fifth grade. At Lafayette we believe that equity, cultural awareness, and respect must factor into everything we do as a school community.

Four years ago, Lafayette created a Racial Equity Committee (REC) to focus our work on curriculum, community engagement, and professional development. We use a Racial Equity Scorecard to apply that lens to curriculum, texts, and activities to ensure we are planning for equity of voice and cultural relevance. All staff completed the Beyond Diversity seminar designed to help educators understand the impact of race on student learning and investigate the role that racism plays in institutionalizing academic achievement disparities.

This year, rather than celebrating Black History Month, Lafayette embarked on a Black Lives Matter Year of Purpose. Through numerous activities, such as classroom read-alouds, professional development, and arts integration projects, we delved into the thirteen guiding principles of the Black Lives Matter movement. This Year of Purpose keeps racial equity at the forefront of our thinking as a community.

Monthly meetings for our Parents of Students of Color strengthen our Lafayette community. She Reigns, our affinity group for girls of color, holds weekly meetings with discussions and activities related to leadership and identity, as well as create inspiring and uplifting “informances” for our school community. Empowering Males of Color, our affinity group for boys, provides leadership and identity-based discussions as well as community-building opportunities for our boys. Through these activities, Lafayette keeps the messages of inclusion, equity, diversity, social justice, and the celebration of Blackness at the forefront of everything we do.