Celebrating National Arab American Heritage Month

  • The Aspen Difference
Zanna Geier

Since 2021, the month of April is National Arab American Heritage Month. This celebration of Arab heritage and culture has provided our community an opportunity to learn, welcome, and engage in a new understanding. The History Channel does an excellent job of describing the history of Arab immagration into the United States, as well as the commemoration of the month itself.

Throughout our DEI (Diversity, Equity and Inclusion) work at Aspen Academy, we continue to challenge ourselves by asking thoughtful and reflective questions such as: Are we being inclusive to all? How can we make all members of our community feel celebrated, as well as truly feeling seen? What is our purpose in the work? How will I personally embrace every opportunity to learn, grow, and teach, in an ongoing process of building awareness?

It is a privilege for Aspen Academy to serve students of many different cultural backgrounds. With this privilege comes a responsibility to educate our students through a multicultural lens. One way Aspen celebrates diverse cultures is through the literature that teachers incorporate in their lessons. The term, “mirrors and windows” is useful in our endeavor to think intentionally about how we are exposing our students to diversity. “The study of texts that reflect their own identities, experiences and motivations (mirrors) and also provide insight into the identities, experiences and motivations of others (windows) can move students toward more nuanced perceptions of the world around them.” Source

As we learn more about Arab American Heritage this month, I encourage all of us to reflect on our ongoing DEI practice. Through fruitful dialogue, we might challenge ourselves with questions such as; Is it kind? Are we working hard enough to make our actions and words congruent with Aspen Academy’s mission and values? How does our good and intentional work help us to make the world a better place?

 

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About the Author

Headshot of Zanna Geier

Zanna Geier, Associate Teacher

Zanna Geier joined Aspen Academy with 13 years of experience working with preschool and elementary students. Her work includes fostering academic skills and social and emotional learning skills with empathy and patience. She loves to collaborate with other educators and families to provide students with maximum learning opportunities.

Ms. Geier is a recipient of the Denver Mayor's Teacher of the Year Award. She holds an M.A. in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Denver, as well as completing their Teacher Education Program. She earned her undergraduate B.A. from Western Connecticut State University.

She is grateful to be at Aspen and thrives as part of energetic, child-centered, compassionate teams that inspire children to think and learn while contributing to the local and global community. Mrs. Geier lives with her husband and son in Aurora, and enjoys being active outdoors.

Education:

M.A., Curriculum & Instruction, University of Denver
Teacher Educator Program, University of Denver
B.A., Communication & Theatre Arts, Western Connecticut State University