Clary Staff Engage in Important Dialogues Thanks to “The Talk”In 2019, Clary Middle School students had questions. Why are they killing black people for no reason? Why is everyone so angry? Who was George Floyd and why does everyone talk about him?
“These questions are so steeped in a historical context that it seemed a daunting task for adults to address personally within their comfort zones, let alone something to be discussed through the awkward interface of Zoom in the early days of virtual learning,” Clary ELA teacher Alyssa McCray explained.
So, along with her colleagues, Terry Flournory and Marissa Moore, Ms. McCray started facilitating “The Talk,” a weekly, virtual conversation about how to address difficult conversations about race and social activism in the classroom. There, staff shared their thoughts on how to best engage in complex and often uncomfortable dialogue with students who were not physically in the classrooms with them. In 2020, “The Talk” expanded to include a staff book club, where educators discussed what a truly equitable education would look like at Clary Middle School.
Now, “The Talk” continues, as a biweekly meeting for Clary staff to continue those conversations about connection and change. This year, Clary will host its inaugural Black History Month Showcase – an opportunity for students to engage more directly and deepen their understanding of what it means to be black in America.
“Through inquiry and with the support of Clary staff, we hope to prepare students to carry the torch lit by dedicated educators who sought understanding during a time when things felt insurmountable,” Ms. McCray explained. “We hope to see our students ask and answer their rigorous questions about race, identity, and what it means to show up as your authentic self in a society that has alienated black people throughout history.”
We appreciate the staff at Clary for doing the important work of creating a more equitable, community-based environment for their students!