Webinar Addresses Issues of Identity, Race & how to Cultivate Connections in the Classroom

The Character Tree

Nov. 10, 2020 webinar features Renton Park Elementary School Principal Pamela Washington and is hosted by teacher Sara VanderWel.

Having an open dialogue with students about racism and student identity, and making sure each student is seen and celebrated for who they are, continue to be priorities this school year. For teachers seeking resources to help guide these conversations in their classrooms, The Character Tree is hosting a free webinar on Tuesday, Nov. 10, 2020 featuring Renton Park Elementary School Principal Pamela Washington.

The webinar “Identity Matters: Cultivating Connection in the Classroom” takes place at 4 p.m. Pacific Time/7 p.m. Eastern Time on Tuesday, November 10, 2020. To register, visit The webinar will also be available on-demand.

“Talking about student identity and race is important and a powerful way to support character development,” said Bill Apperson, chairman of Apperson Inc., creator of The Character Tree, an online character development resource for students in grades K-2. “Pamela Washington has decades of experience in promoting discussion around these issues so webinar participants should walk away with ideas to use in their own classrooms.”

During her 20-year career, Pamela Washington has served as a classroom teacher, literacy coach, dean of students, and assistant principal. She has worked in partnership with fellow educators and families to identify, address, and disrupt inequities prevalent in schools today. Currently, she serves as Principal at Renton Park Elementary School in Renton, Washington, where one of her goals is to ensure every student is seen and celebrated for who they are.

In the webinar, Washington will discuss:

  • Strategies and resources for supporting student identity
  • Defining “race,” and “racism,” and why it’s important

Everyone who signs up to attend the webinar will be entered into a drawing to win a set of 10 picture books for talking to children about race.

The webinar is hosted by teacher Sara VanderWel who plays the role of “Miss Sara” in The Character Tree videos. VanderWel, who is Bill Apperson’s daughter, has served as an early elementary teacher for 13 years. She specializes in literacy and writing and in 2018 received the Bonnie Campbell Hill Literacy Leader Award for Washington State. She holds a B.A. in Elementary Education and a B.S. in Spanish Language and Literature and an M.S. in K-6 Reading and Literacy.  She also runs a Teachers Pay Teachers site called The Primary Pal.

For more information about the Character Tree, visit:

The American Consortium for Equity in Education, publisher of the "Equity & Access" journal, celebrates and connects the educators, associations, community partners and industry leaders who are working to solve problems and create a more equitable environment for historically underserved pre K-12 students throughout the United States.

Current issue of Equity & Access:

Equity & Access - Issue 28

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