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Gillispie School

The Power of Learning and Discussion – Resources

Dear Parents,

 Our hearts are heavy with the historic and ongoing injustices and tragedies of racial disparities that have been highlighted over the last several days. As educators, we are compelled to provide you with resources as you lead your young children through the complex issue of race.

Gillispie’s Mission Statement includes the language, “We value a nurturing environment that fosters kindness, respect, and individual commitment to the larger world,” and our Philosophy Statement includes, “We focus on social-emotional learning that develops strength of character, kindness towards others, and openness to diverse ideas and culture.” We strive to embody these values, both on and off-campus, even–perhaps especially–during challenging times.

As a school, we believe in the power of learning and discussion. We must have the courage to start – and continue – these conversations. None of us has all of the answers, but we can grow by seeing life from others’ vantage points. As an Administrative team, we are striving to be aware of our own biases. This is hard, but worthy work.

Critical to our children’s education is an understanding that the world is richly diverse and that people experience life very differently. Children are watching this world unfold and have an ear to what is being said–and what is not. Regardless of your child’s knowledge of current events, we encourage you to continue the conversation about race, lest our silence or avoidance be misconstrued as an affirmation of racism.

One person can feel powerless to do anything that would help combat such an ingrained societal issue. Yet, as parents, you have the opportunity to influence your child’s perspective, which is perhaps the most imperative agent of change there is. Below are some resources to get you started or to continue on your journeys, depending on where you are.

To the Black and African American community who has long felt the effects of systemic racism in this country, we stand with you. May we all have the courage to reflect on our own and our children’s understanding of racial justice in order to become catalysts for positive change.


Alison Fleming

Carol Baranowski

Kelly Bauer

Jon Bluestein

Debbie Rodriguez

Mindy Smith


Here are some recommended resources:

Talking Race With Young Children (NPR)

We Need More White Parents to Talk to Their Kids About Race. Especially Now. (The Washington Post)

How to Talk to Your Kids About Race (The Atlantic)

How to Talk to Kids About Race: Books and Resources That Can Help (Brightly)

Book Lists:

35 Children’s Books that Teach Empathy and Kindness (Huffpost)

31 Children’s Books to Support Conversations on Race, Racism, and Resistance (embracerace.org)

Books to Help Kids Understand the Fight for Racial Equality (Brightly)

20 Books to Spark Important Discussions On Race and Tolerance (Motherly)

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