Cultural Resources


May 2024

Why do we celebrate Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander Heritage Month?


In 1990, George H. W. Bush signed a bill passed by Congress to extend Asian-American Heritage Week to a month; May was officially designated as Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month 1992. By the year 2020 the U.S. population consisted of about 7% AAPI people. The AAPI umbrella term includes cultures from the entire Asian continent—including East, Southeast and South Asia—and the Pacific Islands of Melanesia, Micronesia and Polynesia.

  • Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, May 1, 2021, U.S. Department of State.
  • Asian Pacific American Center, Smithsonian.
  • Asian Americans Then and Now - Linking Past to Present, Asia Society.
  • "The long, ugly history of anti-Asian racism and violence in the U.S." by Gillian Brockell, March 18, 2021, Washington Post.
  • Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month: May 2021, U.S. Census Bureau.


Each United States President has Claimed May to be Jewish American Heritage Month since George W. Bush in 2006. The month serves to recognize Jewish contributions to American culture, history, science, government, and more.


Massachusetts is one of few states in the US that celebrates May 1st-May 31st as Haitian Heritage Month. In 1998, The month-long celebration was organized by Haitian-Americans United, Inc. with such activities as parades, flag raisings, and exhibits. It has been celebrated in Boston and other cities in MA every year since.






Join our equity learning community! Explore some of the books, articles, videos, and websites we have found valuable in building diversity, equity, and integration in Westwood. Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month


Jewish American Heritage Month Site




GLSEN: Day of Silence Educator Guide


Women's History Month Official Site - contains links for teachers as well as audio/visual resources and links for exhibits and collections


Here are some suggestions to help educators engage students in thinking broadly and critically:

  • Diverse Perspectives:

    Include a diverse range of voices and perspectives in the curriculum. Highlight women from different ethnicities, cultures, and backgrounds to ensure a more comprehensive understanding of women's experiences.
  • Interactive Activities:

    Incorporate interactive activities such as discussions, debates, and projects to encourage active engagement. This can help students think critically and express their opinions on various aspects of women's history.
  • Literature Exploration:

    Integrate literature written by and about women into the curriculum. This can include novels, poetry, and autobiographies that provide insights into women's experiences and challenges.
  • Primary Source Analysis:

    Use primary sources, such as letters, diaries, and speeches, to allow students to analyze firsthand accounts of women's experiences. This can provide a more authentic and personal connection to historical events.
  • Guest Speakers and Role Models:

    Invite guest speakers or arrange virtual sessions with women who have made significant contributions in various fields. This can inspire students and provide real-world examples of success.
  • Art and Creativity:

    Explore the arts as a means of expression. Showcase artworks, music, and performances that celebrate and represent women's stories. Encourage students to create their artistic expressions related to women's history.
  • Intersectionality:

    Emphasize the intersectionality of women's experiences by exploring how factors such as race, ethnicity, class, sexuality, and ability intersect with gender. This promotes a more nuanced understanding of women's history.
  • Local and Global Perspectives:

    Connect the curriculum to both local and global contexts. Highlight women's contributions within the community and discuss global movements that have shaped women's rights.
  • Critical Thinking Exercises:

    Design critical thinking exercises that encourage students to question gender norms, stereotypes, and biases. This can foster a deeper understanding of societal expectations and challenges.
  • Equity and Social Justice:

  • Integrate discussions about equity and social justice into the curriculum. Explore current issues related to women's rights and empower students to become advocates for positive change.



How Teachers Can Support Students During Ramadan

9 Ways to Support Students During Ramadan


Suggestions for Supporting Students during Ramadan

  • Remember that when someone is fasting, breakfast begins before sunrise so people will be up very early in the day and may be quite tired by the end of the day.
  • A warm greeting is always welcome. You can extend greetings by saying: “Happy Ramadan,” “Ramadan Mubarak” (blessed Ramadan), or “Ramadan Karim” (generous Ramadan).  Similarly, for Eid-ul-Fitr we say “Happy Eid” or “Eid Mubarak.”
  • Prayer: Mid-day prayer (Zuhr prayers) typically falls during school hours, so students may need 7-10 minutes to perform these prayers in a private space.
  • Assessments: Avoid scheduling assessments or events (such as field trips) on Eid ul-Fitr. Providing additional time to any student observing Ramadan during assessments given during Ramadan if a student requests it.  
  • Mealtimes: Students observing Ramadan should have the option to study and/or read in the library during their assigned snack or lunch period or recess (if too hot outside).
  • Physical Education: Students observing Ramadan have the option to be excused from participating in physical education if they choose to do so. Alternative assignments could be provided.
  • Outdoors: When Ramadan falls during the warmer months of the year, be mindful in situations that involve extended hours in the heat. Providing an indoor alternative, if students request.
  • Libraries: Provide books about Ramadan.

Information originally developed by Nadine Tassabehji, PhD, RD, LDN, for the Fiske School Community; updated and revised with contributions from Sara Sheikh,  Nadine Tassabehji, Seri Latiff, and Amber Iqbal.


Explore Black History


Elementary - Classroom Activities


The 1619 Project Docuseries Viewing Guide


Black History Month: Teaching the Complete History Go beyond trauma and struggle to examine the liberation, civic engagement, and creativity, The 1619 Project Docuseries Viewing Guide on intersecting identities of Black people during Black History Month.


GBH Celebrates Black History Month 

Stream videos premiering this month, attend virtual forums and explore extensive past content at GBH’s Black History Month site.


Places to go to celebrate Black History Month with the family


Boston’s Black Heritage Trail

During the 18th and 19th centuries, Boston’s free African American community led the nation in the movement to end slavery and achieve equal rights. Their houses of worship, homes, schools, and Underground Railroad sites make up Boston’s Black Heritage Trail. A virtual tour is also available through the National Park Service website. 


Museum Of Science 

The Museum of Science will be spotlighting influential scientists and engineers with events throughout Black History Month.


Honoring Dr. Martin Luther King 




Teaching Resources




Boston Public Library Latinx Book List (books for kids, teens, and adults)


8 Ideas for Teaching National Hispanic Heritage Month 





Educators throughout the district have participated in courses and book studies to guide our work and thinking:

  • Cultivating Genius: An Equity Framework for Culturally and Historically Responsive Literacy by Gholdy Muhammad

  • Unconscious Bias In Schools: A Developmental Approach to Exploring Race and Racism by Tracey A. Benson and Sarah E. Fiarman

  • Education Across Borders: Immigration, Race, and Identity in the Classroom by Jalene Tamerat, Marie Lily Cerat, and Patrick Sylvain

  • White Fragility: Why It's So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism by Robin DiAngelo


We work with IDEASInitiatives for Developing Equity and Achievement for Students as a M.A.S.S.Massachusetts Association of School Superintendents and professional development partner for DEI.

Westwood works with MPDEMassachusetts Partnership for Diversity in Education to meet and recruit educators of color as prospective candidates for faculty and staff positions.

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