Ramadan Mubarak

5/25/2018 10:08 am



May 16th marked the beginning of Ramadan, a month-long observation “by Muslims to commemorate when God revealed the first chapters of the Quran, Islam’s sacred text, to the Prophet Muhammad.” This holy month is marked by one of the five pillars of Islam—fasting, which takes place during sunlight hours and includes not only abstaining from food but from other activities and negative thoughts in order to bring oneself closer to Allah. Ramadan in the United States looks very different than it does in Islamic countries where government offices and commercial establishments have limited hours or may remain closed during daylight hours. Observing Ramadan in the U.S. can be somewhat more challenging, as government, educational, and commercial places may or may not make accommodations for those observing, and it can be even more complicated for students during May, a month of testing in many schools. This month is a great time to sit down and explore one of the world’s major religions during one of their most significant periods of purification, reflection, and celebration and to help your Explorer support their Muslim classmates and friends during this special month.


Five Things You Need to Know About Ramadan

Your Complete Guide to Ramadan, Including the Proper Greeting and When It Starts

How Teachers can support students during Ramadan

How to Study for Exams During Ramadan


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Exploring Brain Health Month in May

4/26/2018 2:12 pm

The diversity at Discovery takes many forms, and as we approach the month of May, we thought it would be a good time to shed light on some different, frequently less visible ways in which we differ in our experience of the world. May is Mental Health Month, and in the spirit of growth mindset, we are acknowledging and exploring Brain Health during the month of May. We can celebrate brain health by talking to our Explorers about how our brains do much more than just retain information—they are like “the bosses of our bodies.” Our brains are not a static organ but rather grow with us and there are things we can do to support that growth like getting enough sleep, continuing to challenge our brains through learning, and making smart, healthy choices with what goes in our bodies. Finally, it is important to recognize that everyone’s brain, while serving the same primary function of managing our bodies, can differ in the way information is processed, which helps us understand that anxiety, ADHD, depression, and other diagnoses have biological roots, and the successful interventions of which range from medication to different forms of therapy and routine.


Your Explorer may see and experience the world very differently from you and their peers, and/or they may have a friend who does, so this is a great time to practice seeing and experiencing the world in someone else’s shoes. Below are some resources to help you talk about this with your child(ren).


Three Things All Parents Should Teach Their Kids About the Brain

ADDitude (Inside the ADHD mind)

American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry Facts for Families Guide

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MLK, Jr.'s Legacy and Arlington Connections

4/5/2018 11:16 am

Yes, we've already celebrated Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. back in January.  But let us not forget him this month as well.  As April 4, 2018, marks the 50th Anniversary of his death.  It is worth noting his message of peace and love, especially in a time when there is a great divide with regard to race and class amongst people in our world today.
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was gunned down on April 4, 1968, at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, TN.  This spurred a rethinking of gun laws and was a cornerstone of Gun Control in the U.S. back then.  Amazingly, fifty years later we are dealing with very similar issues.
Also, Dr. King said that segregation harms us all.  Which leads to something that is very close to home with our Diversity and Inclusion Committee.  Right here in Arlington, to this day, there are remains of an actual "Segregation Wall" located in one of the oldest enclaves in Northern Virginia that was settled by newly freed slaves shortly after the Civil War.  This "Segregation Wall" is located at North Culpeper Street and 17th Road and separated the black neighborhood (Halls Hill/High View Park) from the bordering white neighborhood from the 1930's to the 1960's. 
One of the Discovery Diversity and Inclusion Committee Co-Chairs, Tia Alfred, is set to lead us on a walking tour this coming Monday, April 9, 2018, at 9 a.m.  She plans to lead us from Gateway Park (located at Lee Highway and the top of Cameron Street) down to the "Segregation Wall" and back with a few stops along the way to share about some of the history right here in Arlington.
Now that there has been a forecast of inclement weather, this tour may be postponed.  Regardless of postponement of the walking tour, please feel free to go and view the "Segregation Wall" for yourselves, as there is a historical marker located in front of some of the remnants of the wall.
Though this is a very significant part of Arlington's history, we need to remember that it is our past and be careful to continue to move forward and be progressive in our great city.
Let's take this time to rekindle Dr. King's message regarding love for one another.
Let's hope for great weather, and see you on the tour!
Tia Alfred (mother of Maddox - 4th grader, and Mathias - Kindergarten)
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National Women's Day and Intersectionality

3/7/2018 9:29 am

"The story of women's struggle for equality belongs to no single feminist nor to any one organization but to the collective efforts of all who care about human rights."—Gloria Steinem

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Black History Hero of the Day: Wilma Rudolph

2/14/2018 6:06 pm

Black History Month Hero of the Day

 Image result for Wilma Rudolph images

Today's featured hero for Black History Month (timed perfectly for the Olympics) is Wilma Rudolph. Born prematurely on June 23, 1940, in St. Bethlehem, Tennessee, Wilma Rudolph was a sickly child who had to wear a brace on her left leg. She overcame her disabilities through physical therapy and hard work, and she went on to become a gifted runner. Rudolph became the first American woman to win three gold medals at a single Olympics at the 1960 Summer Games in Rome. She later worked as a teacher and track coach.

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Lunar New Year

2/14/2018 1:58 pm

Image result for Lunar New Year

Lunar New Year

The Lunar New Year, celebrated by roughly one-sixth of the world’s population, begins this Friday, February 16, 2018. Depending on the country, these celebrations can last anywhere from three days to two weeks and are family-centered celebrations filled with honoring ancestors and deities, firecrackers, gift-giving (red envelopes filled with money or hongbao throughout China), and an abundance of delicious food. To read more about the Lunar New Year for yourself and to learn a little bit more about what the Year of the Dog means (hint: It’s not as lucky as some of the years that preceded this one!), check out this link. And to read more about Lunar New Year with your explorer, check out the following titles:


Or check out the Kennedy Center's Family Lunar New Year Celebration this Saturday! Our Discovery community will celebrate the Lunar New Year in a variety of ways, based on country of origin, family tradition, and other factors. Continue reading to hear from a couple of our Discovery families!


In Mongolia, “Lunar New Year” or “White Moon”  is one of the oldest and biggest celebration. Not only Mongolians, many Asian countries celebrate Lunar New year including China, Korea, Singapore and so on. The date of the celebration is determined according to Lunar Calendar every year and people start to prepare many days before the actual celebration day. Every family prepares thousands of dumplings called “buuz” and freeze them for the guests. During the festivity, people wear Mongolian traditional costume called “deel” and visit the elders in the family first and exchange gifts.

Urangoo Bat-Erdene (mother to a K/Montessori)


For Chinese New Year, we celebrate by making and eating dumplings. In Chinese, dumplings (饺子—jiǎo zi) sounds like 交子(jiāo zi).  (Jiāo) means exchange and (zi) is the midnight hours. Put together, jiāo zi is the exchange between the old and new year.  By eating dumplings, you are sending away the old and welcoming the new.   There is also the traditional exchange of red evelopes with money inside.  By giving the money to children, elders are hoping to pass on a year of good fortune and blessings. Another version is given by the younger generation to their elders as a blessing of longevity and a show of gratitude.


Happy Chinese New Year!!

Benjamin C. Chou (father to 2nd and 4th graders)



The beauty of being a multi-cultural family is that we form our own traditions, blending the new and old. For the Korean Lunar New Year, we will be eating the traditional dduk guk (soup with glutinous rice cakes that symbolize prosperity), just like my mom used to make, and we will honor our ancestors and give gifts of money in crisp new bills to the boys. We will also be making lucky mandu (dumplings). (Sharing some recipes, in case you want to celebrate in your family!)

Lisa Harper Chang (mother to a 2nd grader and a Pre-K 4/Montessori)

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Black History Hero of the Day: Dorothy Johnson Vaughan

2/9/2018 3:08 pm

Image result for Dorothy Johnson Vaughan

Black History Month Hero of the Day

Today, we feature Dorothy Johnson Vaughan. She was an African-American mathematics teacher
who became one of the leading mathematical engineers in early days of the aerospace industry. After the U.S. defense industry desegregated, Vaughan worked with leading computer operators and engineers, becoming a n expert in the FORTRAN programming coding language at NASA. She worked on the SCOUT Launch Vehicle Program that shot satellites into space. Vaughan and other female African- American mathematicians are the subject of a 2016 film Hidden Figures.

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Black History Month Hero of the Day: Jesse Owens

2/8/2018 3:36 pm

Black History Month Hero of the Day

Today, we feature Jesse Owens--a Buckeye! Jesse Owens, also known as "The Buckeye Bullet," was born on September 12, 1913, in Oakville, Alabama. In high school, he won three track and field events at the 1933 National Interscholastic Championships. Two years later, while competing for Ohio State University, he equaled one world record and broke three others. In 1936 Owens won four gold medals at the Olympic Games in Berlin.

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Representation Matters

2/7/2018 6:27 pm

Black History Hero of the Day

Keep an eye out for our featured Black/African American Hero of the Day! Today, we are featuring Madam CJ Walker, one of the first American women to become a self-made millionaire by creating specialized hair products. Please feel free to share others by sending information to diversityinclustionpta@gmail.com, and we’ll be sure to add them to the rotation!


Representation Matters

As a parent of two multi-racial children (half Korean and half white (Scots-Irish-German)), I struggle to find protagonists of television, film, and books that look like my boys. Two current examples come to mind: the brothers in Big Hero 6 and the sisters in Andi Mack, both produced by Disney. It is easier to find more diverse representation within children’s and young adult literature. I am sure I am overlooking and am always open to hearing about other options. Why does seeing ourselves reflected in media, specifically positively portrayed, matter? Media representation helps broaden our horizons, introduces us to people and experiences outside of our own, and redefines what is normal, acceptable, and admired. This week, I challenge you to think of a specific race/culture or combination of races/cultures and, without browsing the web, think of FIVE mainstream media examples of when that race/culture was a positively portrayed protagonist. And, if you are interested in learning more or thinking more about the topic, please check out the following links:

By Lisa Harper Chang (mother to 2nd grade and Montessori explorers)


Please keep the conversation going with us by emailing diversityinclusionpta@gmail.com.


Lunar New Year

For millions of people in Asia and around the world, the Lunar New Year celebrations begin next Friday, February 16, 2018. Depending on the country, these celebrations can last anywhere from three days to two weeks and are family-centered celebrations filled with honoring ancestors and deities, firecrackers, gift-giving (red envelopes!), and an abundance of delicious food. To read more about the Lunar New Year with your explorer, check out the following titles:

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Talking to Your Kids About Race

2/2/2018 10:19 am

Conversations about race and inclusion can be awkward, difficult, and scary as a parent. The organization Embrace Race produces a blog, videos, and tip sheets to help parents navigate these conversations thoughtfully.If you find yourself struggling to address race and inclusion with your child or respond to them when they pose certain questions or say certain words, please check this resource out and definitely take a moment to read this tip sheet, available in both English and Spanish.


10 Tips for Talking to Your Child About Race

10 Tips for Talking to Your Child About Race (in Spanish)


In honor of Black History Month, we will be sharing African Americans and Black Americans who have contributed to the strength of this country. Stay tuned to learn more about some of our great American heroes!

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