The Inclusive Middle School Classroom aims to provide culturally, racially, sexually, and gender diverse books for ELA classrooms in traditionally underserved and undervalued communities. Here in South Bend, IN, our public school coporation has been struggling to build more inclusive classrooms that better reflect students and many teachers (despite wanting to do more) are unsure what such a classroom would even look like! By partnering with a local bookstore employee/retired school teacher, I believe that we have been able to comprehensively plan out an inclusive classroom that feels welcoming to students from all backgrounds, regardless of their race, sexuality, socio-economic status, religious identity, gender identity, or immigration status.
This is mainly achieved through the building of in-class libraries from which students can pull from for either class directed or independent readings. For example, students should be able to find books that focus on characters who are POC and encounter challenges similarly faced by our students. In addition, there are "teacher resource" materials available in these classroom libraries, which help guide educators in crafting lessons that embrace the different voices in the classroom, rather than tolerate them.
Right now, we are attempting a pilot program for the 2019-2020 academic year at Lasalle Intermediate, a public school located in the (often ignored) west side of the city of South Bend, IN.
Funded by Awesome Without Borders (October 2019)