Instead of taking the day off, students at Community Day School in Squirrel Hill took on the essential themes of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day on Monday, January 16 in a day of learning, service, and reflection.

“I am inspired by the energy, passion, commitment, and hours that our teachers devoted to making this in-school Martin Luther King Jr. Day experience a rich and meaningful one,” said CDS Head of School Avi Baran Munro. “They created a transformational program framed by our Jewish values of tzedakah (righteousness), gemilut chasidim (acts of loving kindness), and tikkun olam (repairing the world).”

MLK Day was a day set apart from “business as usual” at CDS, with a social justice curriculum developed in partnership with Repair the World Pittsburgh and the Facing History and Ourselves Innovative Schools Network. The guiding theme was “Women in Civil Rights” focused on continuing the vital work of achieving equality in our country.

CDS MLK Day Speaker

The day kicked off with an inspirational keynote address by award-winning author Bettina Love, associate professor at the University of Georgia College of Education. Love’s research focuses on hip-hop education to build more engaged, equitable classrooms in elementary schools. A panel of female professionals also discussed the role of gender in their careers and how they hope their work changes the world.

Students throughout the school spent the remainder of the day participating in lessons and activities about Women in Civil Rights and how this theme intersects with civic engagement, education inequality, immigration, environmentalism, LGBTQ issues, criminal justice, and other topics.

“In every grade, our students engaged with the question of how to live out Dr. King’s dream in Pittsburgh―and in 2017,” said CDS librarian Whitney Philipps, who led the team of educators planning the program. “We wanted this day to serve as a call to action for our students and families in a time when action is sorely needed.”

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