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Top Reading Picks for Black History Month from an Oak Knoll Junior

Posted by Cora Laborde '25 on Feb 15, 2024 9:12:27 AM

Oak Knoll student Cora Laborde ’25 said, “I think books are knowledge, but also vessels of personal experience and culture that can invoke empathy, which is crucial when embracing diversity and inclusion.” With that in mind, she has curated a short list of great books celebrating Black History Month.

Here are Laborde’s top five picks and her own words on why they were most appealing.

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Topics: history, student advice, diversity, equity, inclusion and justice, Black History Month

Top Reads for Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month

Posted by Chris Starr on May 6, 2023 3:38:59 PM

Considered the mother of multicultural literature for her groundbreaking research, Rudine Sims Bishop has said that young people need books that are mirrors (that allow them to see themselves and their own experiences), windows (that they can look through to see other worlds), and sliding glass doors (that allow them to enter other worlds.) With that in mind, Oak Knoll sophomore Amelia Pace ’25 is celebrating her Asian American roots and inviting others to see and enter into her world with a selection of books she curated to honor Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month.

Amelia’s maternal grandparents emigrated to the United States from Japan after World War II. Later, her father, Italian American, and her mother, Japanese American, met in Tokyo, married, and settled in New Jersey. Both cultures are honored in their home, where English and Japanese are commonly communicated. 

“I’ve been a member of the Asian American Pacific Islander Society at school since seventh grade, and it’s nice to have that sort of community,” said Pace. “Recently, I was offered the opportunity to take on a leadership role, and I just thought that it’s so important to share my culture — not just for people who have similar backgrounds to me, but also for the wider community here — whether through recommending reading or making presentations when possible. Asian literature is just so fascinating, the style of writing, and I feel that it’s so important for people not of that background to be able to glimpse into the lives of these characters.”

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Topics: reading, student advice, things to do, diversity, equity, inclusion and justice, Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage

Podcast: A Vision for Community Impact

Posted by Chris Starr on Mar 1, 2023 12:50:53 PM

During a recent three-day Community Impact Symposium in Washington DC, four Oak Knoll High School students gathered with students from across the country to share ideas on how they could make more positive and systemic changes in their school and local communities.

The goal was to work in teams to identify various approaches taken to local, state, and national levels and work with their schoolmates to draft a vision statement and action strategy to take back home to Oak Knoll.

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Topics: community service, building confidence, growth mindset, diversity, equity, inclusion and justice, podcast, social justice, Community, leadership

5 Young Adult Books by Black Authors

Posted by Chris Starr on Feb 24, 2023 11:49:20 AM

Oak Knoll's Upper School Librarian, Elinor Takenaga, has curated a short list of literary fiction and non-fiction this February to encourage our young readers to read not only books about Black History but also books by Black authors who write about a variety of topics/storylines. Here are a few of her suggestions:

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Topics: reading, tips, diversity, equity, inclusion and justice, Black History Month

10 Ways to Find and Support Black-Owned Businesses Near You

Posted by Chris Starr on Feb 9, 2023 1:26:44 PM

According to data from the U.S. Census Bureau, from 2002 to 2017, the number of Black-owned businesses with employees increased by 31.2%. While this is something to celebrate, the pandemic has disproportionately affected Black-owned businesses. A higher percentage of Black-owned companies shuttered during the pandemic, and of those that did survive, only 10% described their business as “profitable and growing.”

By intentionally seeking out and supporting Black-owned businesses, we can help to reverse this trend, inject more equity into equality, and do our part to combat structural inequities that have plagued Black business owners for centuries.

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Topics: Summit NJ, entrepreneurship, things to do, diversity, equity, inclusion and justice, Black History Month, social justice, Community

8 Resources for National Native American Heritage Month

Posted by Chris Starr on Nov 16, 2022 12:12:34 PM

The start of November kicked off National Native American Heritage Month, also known as American Indian and Alaska Native Heritage Month. It is a time to recognize Indigenous people's history, culture, and contributions. Additionally, part of Native American Heritage Month involves reckoning with the past.

Here, we've curated a variety of resources for parents and teachers who would like to initiate conversations and learn more.

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Topics: parenting, thanksgiving, activities with kids, diversity, equity, inclusion and justice, Community

A Conversation to Commemorate Hispanic Heritage Month

Posted by Zahra Jones on Oct 14, 2022 10:01:21 AM

Every year, from September 15 to October 15, Hispanic Heritage Month is celebrated around the world in recognition of the contributions and influences that Hispanic Americans have had on the United States. During the month, we celebrate their history, culture, and historical figures that have paved the way for generations to come. 

I spoke with Liandra Taylor ’24, a junior, who is of Puerto Rican descent. In addition to her academic work, she is involved in Dancers Club, Black Scholars, and a member of the Varsity Volleyball team at Oak Knoll. She is also a grade representative on the new Student Diversity Leadership Board. The Board focuses on spreading awareness about underrepresented communities and supporting inclusivity.

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Topics: students, diversity, equity, inclusion and justice, hispanic heritage, Community

10 Powerful Books Written by Black Authors

Posted by Oak Knoll School of the Holy Child on Feb 24, 2022 3:17:20 PM

One important way you can honor Black History Month with your child is by amplifying Black voices and reading diverse stories. When reading literature about Black historical figures, consider who is telling that story. From Alice Walker to Amanda Gorman, we can celebrate and support Black authors by promoting more authentic storytelling that reflects real Black experiences, identities and voices.

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Topics: reading, history, diversity, equity, inclusion and justice, Black History Month

3 Ways to Celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month with Children

Posted by Melissa Miller on Sep 19, 2021 8:05:49 AM

National Hispanic Heritage Month is celebrated annually from September 15 to October 15 and affords Americans the opportunity to recognize the long and rich history, achievements, and contributions of Hispanics and Latino/as in the United States. Hispanic Heritage Month uniquely starts in the middle of the month to recognize the anniversary of when five Latin American countries, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua, earned their independence from Spain on September 15, 1821. Mexico and Chile became independent on September 16 and 18 from Spain.

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Topics: diversity, equity, inclusion and justice, hispanic heritage

How Schools Can Help Foster Inclusivity

Posted by Laura Perillo on Apr 16, 2021 11:47:47 AM

As most of the nation gears up to send their children back into the physical classroom (hopefully) after months of virtual learning, parents will place a large part of their child’s development directly back into the hands of their school system.

Schools have a tremendous impact in the lives of our children. One way to help ensure that we are raising good humans is to work in tandem with our schools to help foster inclusivity – the practice or policy of including people who might otherwise be excluded or marginalized.

Every parent wants their child to feel included, accepted, to make friends and to have an overall positive experience and year in the classroom.

Here are several ways that schools can work together with parents, and their communities to help foster inclusivity.

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Topics: project-based learning, social and emotional learning, diversity, equity, inclusion and justice

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