Family Resources on Belonging for Everyone

Lesson Topic

Students analyze ways to increase everyone’s sense of belonging

Essential Question

What actions encourage belonging for everyone in a community?

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Belonging for Everyone – Sikirat

If this lesson was used in the classroom: Students analyzed the characteristics of institutions that promote a sense of belonging and how well their school promotes a sense of belonging for all students. In class students discussed what a culture of belonging looks and feels like. In groups students discussed and assessed how well their school promotes a culture of belonging and to either improve or maintain a culture of belonging

Getting Ready for the Conversation

The video for this module features a youth named Sikirat who describes her experiences at school and
actions she has taken to improve the belonging culture within her school. Sikirat discusses specifically why she felt that she needed to advocate for change and how her school’s administration responded.

Conversation notes:
This lesson focuses on two connected themes that parents and mentors can explore: belonging and equity. Each of these issues is explicitly discussed in the video segment. Even though the context in the video is schooling, the issues affect neighborhoods and communities and it is important to keep in mind that most institutions in the US continue to struggle with equity and creating cultures that welcome all people.

You can find more about Sikirat and her work from this blog post she wrote at DefiningUS:

The organization she mentions in the video is IntegrateNYC, their website is here:

Constructive Conversation Starters

The first item is for follow-up after viewing the lesson video and participating in class activities.

Did students in your class feel that your school promoted a sense of belonging for all? Were there disagreements among your class about the school’s culture of belonging? If there were groups of people who do not belong in your school who were they? What actions are needed at your school (if any)? Why or why not?

Does our family do a good job of promoting belonging with others who may be different than us? Why or why not? Are there actions we should be taking as a family? Why or why not?

Is our neighborhood or community diverse? Does our neighborhood or community promote belonging for all people? Use specific examples to support your answer.

What does a neighborhood or community that promotes belonging for all people look like? What actions do families need to take to make neighborhoods and communities promote belonging for everyone? Why is this an important goal in a democratic society?

School to Home Resources on Belonging for Everyone

Lesson Plan

A person has many identities

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Sikirat says, “My Nigerian identity has definitely influenced a lot of who I am as a person.” A person has many identities (not just one), in the video Sikirat discusses her ethnic and immigrant identities. What identities do you feel are important to your growth as a person? Why do each of these identities matter? What identities should be explored more by students your age? Why do you think so?


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Sikirat tells us, “Students that aren’t told that they belong somewhere don’t believe that they belong somewhere. Without any support where do we expect that student to go?” Write your definition of “belonging” and provide examples. Why are developing skills that support belonging important to your success in the future?

See something. Say something.

Sikirat says, “It’s only through using our voice, right…it’s only through challenging societal norms.” Most people who choose to become active within their community have a story about when they realized there was a problem that needed solving. Describe an event you have experienced that made you realize that there was a social problem that needs attention. Why is this issue important? Why would taking action help solve this problem?

My wish for educational equity

Read this blog post written by Sikirat where she describes some experiences that we do not see in her video. Sikirat says, “all students need access to high quality and well-resourced schools.” Think about what she means. Sikirat also mentions “pursuit of liberation”. Describe why liberation and well-resourced schools for everyone are connected. Describe how you think things in your state or this country would be different if all schools (not necessarily your school) were equitably resourced.

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