woman holding sparkler in hands

Happy New Year to all of our SERC patrons and fellow educators – and welcome to this new and exciting launch of the SERC library blog!
We hope that this New Year 2020 will be filled with joyful moments of community-building, opportunities to educate ourselves and each other, and many moments to continue building an equitable and welcoming society. Let us work together to build educational spaces where we are valued by ‘the content of our character’ and where we see and accept any mental (dis-) abilities, cultural or economic background, gender identity, sexual orientation, religious beliefs – and any colors of our skin. And SERC and its library has many exciting events and projects planned for 2020 to continue on this important mission! Cassondra McCarthy und Julia Klann are SERC’s new librarians and are both eager to welcome regular and new patrons to the library – get to know them here.

Equity

wooden blocks with letters spelling 'EQUITY'

In May, SERC will continue to raise awareness for racial equity by hosting the: ‘5th Annual Dismantling Systemic Racism Conference on Race, Education & Success‘ on May 20, 2020. It focuses on ways to support, promote, and develop racial equity in education. The full-day conference supports educators, families, and community leaders who seek to confront racist structures and practices to better serve Connecticut’s students and their families, through advocacy and the development, implementation, and sustainability of innovative, culturally relevant programming. Systemic racism impedes our students’ outcomes and limits opportunities for success in academics, social development, health, and family engagement. The conference features dynamic, thought-provoking presentations that will address possible ways to dismantle systemic racism and create positive change for our students – and yours could be one of them! The deadline for submission has been extended to Sunday, January 12 so we strongly encourage anyone with a great topic idea to send us their proposal here https://ctserc.net/dsr2020call! All paper abstracts must be received by midnight on that day in order to be considered. Notifications about the status of the proposal will still be emailed by February 4, 2020. Please contact Janet Zarchen zarchen@ctserc.org with any questions or find more details on the conference here https://ctserc.org/news/2018/dismantling-systemic-racism-registration-is-open.

Education

two hands reaching out to each other, young man with bracelets

One of the goals of our librarian Julia Klann for this year 2020 is to turn the SERC library into a vital and up-to-date educational resource for all things mental health. Mental Health questions lie at the core of many other issues that SERC has made its main mission: Racial equity, equal access to education, physical and mental disabilities. If a student keeps being bullied because of their ethnic background, is it a surprise that they might become depressed and self-harm? If a student suffers from a severe case of undiagnosed social anxiety, would it not be natural that they lack behind in class because they are more occupied with trying to avoid a panic attack than to pay attention to the teacher? The interconnections between mental health and education are two-fold: Struggles with mental health are the cause for many inequalities in access to education but they are also simultaneously the result of students’ struggles in the education system. Julia will focus on some mental health topics that are most relevant to middle or high school students: Depression, anxiety, self-harm, autism, struggles with gender and sexual identity, and eating disorders. There will be regular library posts on these topics, reviews of recently published books, interesting new journal articles and academic findings, and listings of crucial resources for teachers, parents, or peers. Stay tuned for these regular blog posts! 

Excellence #1

young man with beard and beanie standing in front of library shelf, picking out one book

The SERC librarians Cassondra McCarthy and Julia Klann are very excited that the library has opened its doors and shelves again in October 2019.The SERC library is continuously aiming to improve its services in order to best accommodate our patrons’ needs and wishes. We always want to provide our library patrons with excellent services and resources – and need your input! As the library just recently re-opened, we are currently re-organizing the library processes, re-evaluating the opening hours, and considering to invest in new resources. Some questions that we have are: Which opening hours suit you best? Which new professional development books or journals would you like to see in the SERC library? What about the Interlibrary Loan (ILL) – should we bring it back? How can we improve our space in general? We would be grateful to get feedback from as many of you as possible: Just follow this link and take part in our 2-minute-survey. It’s only two minutes of your time – but will have a great effect on how we shape our vision for the SERC library in 2020. Thank you very much already for your participation!

Excellence #2

many hands reaching toward each other, blue bracelets

SERC is very excited to announce that it is seeking nominations for the George A. Coleman Excellence in Equity Award for 2020! In collaboration with the SERC foundation, the State Education Resource Center is seeking nominations of individuals, organizations, schools, or districts that have demonstrated extraordinary acts of commitment and courage with regards to educational equity. The nominees would have shown outstanding passionate and steadfast activism creating a respectful and accommodating atmosphere for all students, especially students of color and culturally and linguistically diverse students. Award recipients will be selected based on their steadfast and unwavering action in:

• Advocating for children and families of color;
• Galvanizing individuals and coalitions toward equitable action;
• Taking risks in conversation and action regarding issues of equity for racially, linguistically and culturally diverse groups;
• Engaging the diverse needs of members of an education community and reconciling them toward a shared vision; and
• Furthering the exchange of information that affects thinking and effects conviction on matters of equity.

Nominations of students are encouraged. Entry forms for nominations are available here.

Please submit completed nomination packages to SERC by Friday, February 21, 2020 to the attention of:

Heather Dawes, Project Specialist, SERC
100 Roscommon Drive, #110, Middletown, CT 06457
or by email – dawes@ctserc.org

We look forward to receiving your nomination packages. Should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact Heather at SERC, (860) 632-1485, ext. 263, or dawes@ctserc.org. Nominators and awardees will be notified no later than March 31, 2020 and invited to attend a recognition award celebration held the evening of May 19, 2020. (They will also be invited to attend the Dismantling Systemic Racism Conference on May 20, 2020.)