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Anchor Elementary serves young fives through second grade. School-wide, the next two months will focus on LGBTQ+ stories on the walls, in discussions, and through classroom readings. This political content is offered at a very young age and without regard to some parents' religious beliefs or the age appropriateness of discussing sexual preferences and gender dysmorphia in a public classroom setting with young primary children. The full text of the email is below.

From: Craig McCalla <mccallac@dexterschools.org>
Date: Wed, May 12, 2021 at 11:03 AM
Subject: May and June - Celebrating members of the LGBTQ+ community
To: Anchor Elementary School Recipients <recipients@dexterschools.parentlink.net>

Hello Anchor families,

As part of our commitment to be supportive and inclusive of all people, the staff here at Anchor has looked to bring awareness of our similarities and differences through the images on our walls, the texts in our classrooms and libraries, and in the discussions we have with our students. In our main hallway, we display something we call the “Hall of Heroes.” This display honors different people on a rotation basis. During the months of May and June, we are celebrating those in the LGBTQ+ community. This display in our main hallway will honor Pete Buttigieg, Elliot Page, Rachel Maddow, Michael Sam, Lena Waithe, Janelle Monae, Temple Grandin, Megan Rapinoe, Jazz Jennings, Jojo Siwa, and Rebecca Sugar.

As our world becomes increasingly diverse, students will meet people - classmates, teammates, friends - with many kinds of families. Some will have parents, grandparents, guardians, or other relatives who are gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender. Some will have classmates who are transgender. . . .

Part of learning for students is to see and appreciate the diversity that exists in their classroom, their school, and the wider community. While there are differences, people also share so much in common . . .

--Human Rights Campaign Foundation Welcoming Schools

During this unique school year instead of assemblies, we have been sharing book read alouds from staff through Seesaw. During the months of May and June we will be sharing these three books in our classrooms: When Aidan Became a Brother by Kyle Lukoff, Families by Shelley Rotner, and Antonio’s Card by Rigoberto González. (Information about each book is at the end of this letter courtesy of Good Reads.) As with all read alouds, teachers may choose to elaborate further and answer any questions. We always keep our answers age-appropriate. Here is also a link to Mr. McCalla reading I Am Jazz by Jessica Herthel and Jazz Jennings: Mr. McCalla reading I Am Jazz. This link is for families who wish to share this story with their children.

All people are accepted and treated equally here at Anchor. Our Dexter families are made up of various combinations of people but in every family, there is a shared sense of love and admiration for each individual. Let us not forget that many members of our Anchor and Dexter community are also members of the LGBTQ+ community. As our world becomes increasingly more diverse our students will benefit from a greater viewpoint and understanding of all people.

We are excited to provide this experience and learning opportunity for our Anchor students.

Anchor Equity Team

Questions or comments can be emailed to aesequityteam@dexterschools.org

When Aidan Became a Brother by Kyle Lukoff

When Aidan was born, everyone thought he was a girl. His parents gave him a pretty name, his room looked like a girl's room, and he wore clothes that other girls liked wearing. After he realized he was a trans boy, Aidan and his parents fixed the parts of life that didn't fit anymore, and he settled happily into his new life. Then Mom and Dad announce that they're going to have another baby, and Aidan wants to do everything he can to make things right for his new sibling from the beginning--from choosing the perfect name to creating a beautiful room to picking out the cutest onesie. But what does "making things right" actually mean? And what happens if he messes up? With a little help, Aidan comes to understand that mistakes can be fixed with honesty and communication, and that he already knows the most important thing about being a big brother: how to love with his whole self.

When Aidan Became a Brother is a heartwarming book that will resonate with transgender children, reassure any child concerned about becoming an older sibling, and celebrate the many transitions a family can experience.

Families by Shelley Rotner

Big or small, similar or different-looking, there are all kinds of families.

Celebrate diversity with this picture book for very young children about the many faces of contemporary families. Bright photographs by National Geographic photographer Shelley Rotner capture families having fun together, enjoying all the ways they are similar and different.

Some families have one parent, and some have two; some have aunts and uncles and grandparents living with them. Some have adopted children, some have children born to them. Whether they live all together or far apart, families love and care for each other.

Designed to showcase the wide variety of modern families and spur discussions about young readers' own family history, this beautiful picture book is a must-have for children beginning to learn about the world and the people around them.

Antonio’s Card by Rigoberto González

Antonio loves words, because words have the power to express feelings like love, pride, or hurt. Mother's Day is coming soon, and Antonio searches for the words to express his love for his mother and her partner, Leslie. But he's not sure what to do when his classmates make fun of Leslie, an artist, who towers over everyone and wears paint-splattered overalls. As Mother's Day approaches, Antonio must choose whether — or how — to express his connection to both of the special women in his life.

Rigoberto González's bilingual story resonates with all children who have been faced with speaking up for themselves or for the people they love. Cecilia Concepción Álvarez's paintings bring the tale to life in tender, richly hued detail.

I Am Jazz by Jessica Herthel and Jazz Jennings

The story of a transgender child based on the real-life experience of Jazz Jennings, who has become a spokesperson for transkids everywhere

"This is an essential tool for parents and teachers to share with children whether those kids identify as trans or not. I wish I had had a book like this when I was a kid struggling with gender identity questions. I found it deeply moving in its simplicity and honesty."—Laverne Cox (who plays Sophia in “Orange Is the New Black”)

From the time she was two years old, Jazz knew that she had a girl's brain in a boy's body. She loved pink and dressing up as a mermaid and didn't feel like herself in boys' clothing. This confused her family, until they took her to a doctor who said that Jazz was transgender and that she was born that way. Jazz's story is based on her real-life experience and she tells it in a simple, clear way that will be appreciated by picture book readers, their parents, and teachers.

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Submitted: May 12, 2021