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Sup with the Sup
Sup with the Sup
Episode 4: 6th Grader Emi Kim
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 Welcome, everyone, to the next episode of Provo City School District’s What’s Up With The Sup podcast. I am Superintendent Wendy Dau. Thank you for joining me for our fourth episode of our podcast. This week, I am speaking with Emi Kim, a sixth grade student at Westridge Elementary School. Emi has done some extraordinary things over the past couple of years to provide books to our libraries. But first, let me go over our weekly updates.

  • Our next school board meeting will be a study session and a business meeting on Tuesday, September 12th. Study sessions generally begin at 4 o’clock p. m. and are held in Board Room 1 at the district office. Business meetings start at 7 o’clock p. m. and are held in the Professional Development Center at the district office. Both meetings are open to the public.
  • SEP conferences for secondary schools are coming up on September 19th through the 21st. Look for more information from your student’s school.
  • We invite everyone to the “Get the Scoop on CTE” event, Monday, September 25th from 5 to 8 p. m. at Provo High School. Learn about CTE pathways and future career opportunities. Plus, you get free ice cream. Who wouldn’t want to come to that?
  • If you qualify for free or reduced lunch, remember to send in your application. The deadline is September 28th and this does need to be completed each year.
  • The Foundation’s Links for Kids golf tournament will be held on September 28th. If you are interested in participating, please visit foundation.provo.edu.
  • Please continue to check your school’s website, calendar, and social media for important information and dates.
  • Please remember to update your information in PowerSchool. This process needs to be done each year, for it allows our schools and the district to contact you with important information and in emergency situations.
  • Weekly videocast will be coming from me every Friday, so stay tuned!

Now for our Community Connections segment.  At the end of each podcast, we ask our listeners to submit any questions or topics that they would like us to address on the podcast. Not every question we receive warrants a full podcast episode, but we also want to acknowledge the questions and provide answers.

This week’s questions come from our listener, Jared. Jared asked me to address dress codes and political activism and flags in our schools. So, thank you for your question, Jared. Let me address the question around dress code, both for students and for employees. Our dress code policy and procedure can be found in District Policy 3224.

The dress code policy states that students will be dressed appropriately for school, and it directs the superintendent or their designee to create an actual procedure that’s tied to this. So, if you go onto our website under policies, you can see the policy listed under 3224. And there will be a line item that says 3224 P1. That basically stands for procedure one. And in there it lists the requirements for student dress. Basically, students are required to dress appropriately for the setting and activity that will take place. So, for example, you are going to have different dress for a PE class or if you’re on a dance team than you would attending a class.

But the basic requirements are that undergarments must be covered at all times.  See through or mesh garments must be worn with appropriate coverage underneath. Illegal, threatening, profane, or lewd content will not be allowed. So, for example, images or language that is gang related is not allowed, that includes weapons is not allowed, illicit drugs or alcohol, sexual content, violence, discrimination, or profanity would not be allowed. We really work hard with students. We do not want to shame students for what they wear at school. And so that process will be that an administrator will address it if it is violating any of these procedures and that we will provide a way for the student to correct it so that we can get them back to class.

Our number one goal is to have students at school and we don’t want them to feel shamed for what they are wearing. We want to make sure that they are feeling comfortable. And so we work with them on that. As far as employee dress, it can be found in policy 5090 Procedure 1 where it does state that employees are to dress professionally. We do need to acknowledge that. We have teachers, for example, a kindergarten teacher who’s going to be sitting sometimes on the floor with their students, or you have coaches that are going to be working with students. So, the dress needs to also match what it is that they’re working with, with respect to a student.  If you ever have concerns about that, you could certainly reach out to that employee or even to their supervisor, which would be the principal in most cases.

As far as your question about political symbols, the board has a policy committee. We do not have an official policy in place at this time, so we are forming a subcommittee that will be working on that and bring a draft back to that policy committee at the end of October.  And then that will go out for community feedback prior to the board voting and adopting on any policy that is tied to the use of political symbols.

The bottom line is we want to make sure that classrooms are safe for all students. So, if you ever have a concern about what’s happening in a classroom, you may reach out directly to the teacher, but also your principal is your first resource there to discuss with them your concerns and they will help you in coming up with a resolution.

Thank you again for your questions, Jared. If you have any topics or questions you would like us to discuss on the podcast, please email us at podcast at provo.edu. And now onto our episode.

Wendy: My guest today is Emi Kim, and she is a 6th grade student at Westridge Elementary. A couple of years ago, Emi felt that she wasn’t really seeing herself in the books she was reading.

So because of this, she thought that other students might feel the same way. And she came up with a really genius solution. She created a lemonade stand in the middle of summer and believed that the money that she made from this lemonade stand could be used to buy enough books for her local school in order to represent a wide range of cultures. So, her lemonade stand went better than expected and has brought diverse books to students throughout Provo and the entire state.  

So welcome Emi.

Emi: Hi.

Wendy: So, first off, how is the school year going for you?

Emi: Pretty good.

Wendy: You like your teacher?

Emi: I really like my teacher.

Wendy: Oh, excellent. And it was very important that we were interviewing Emmy so she didn’t miss recess. And you were telling us about a great game that you play at recess. What’s it called again?

Emi: Circle.

Wendy: Circle. Okay, but it’s one of your favorites.

Emi: Yep.

Wendy: Okay, excellent. So, tell me, who is your teacher this year?

Emi: Um, my teacher is Mrs. Stott.

Wendy: How are you getting along with Mrs. Stott?

Emi: Good. She’s a really good teacher.

Wendy: What do you like most about her?

Emi: Um, I like the way she teaches us. She has a lot of lists for everything. I like everything organized. And so, it’s just a lot easier for me to know what’s going on.

Wendy: Excellent. So that organization is important for your learning. Is there another teacher that you’ve had while you’ve been at Westridge that you really like that you also want to give a shout out to?

Emi: All of my teachers I’ve liked. I’ve had Ms. Hardman in kindergarten, but then I went to Wasatch. When I came back, I got Miss Medina. I really liked her because I had a lot more freedom. She was really fun and she lets us do a lot of stuff. And Miss Boone, I really liked her too. She was also really fun. At the end of school year, she let us have a water fight and she even joined in.

Wendy: Excellent. Water fights are, that’s pretty exciting. I mean, that’s pretty great. So, I take it you like reading.

Emi: Yes.

Wendy: Yes. Oh, I love that. Okay, so tell me how you developed your love of reading.

Emi: Well, in like first grade to like third grade I hated reading. Then when I started finding the books that, the genres that I really liked, like, um, Harry Potter, I started, I started reading those.

Not really, like, actually reading them. My dad would read it to me at night. I’d watch the movies. I like reading movie books the most.

Wendy: Okay, that’s interesting. So, Harry Potter’s one of your favorites. What are some of your other favorites?

Emi: I really liked Diary of a Wimpy Kid. Some other movies I like, I think they should make movies out of them. There’s The Silence That Binds Us by Joanna Ho. Also, Beneath the Wide Silk Sky by Emily Inouye Huey.

Wendy: Okay, so those are books that you wish they would make movies of.

Emi: Yeah, they’re really good.

Wendy: Oh, that’s awesome. So, um, what did you begin to notice about some of the characters in the books that you were traditionally reading?

Emi: Well, I remember reading a lot of the books I really liked and realizing that I didn’t really see a lot of characters that looked like me or maybe even other diverse characters. If I saw a diverse character, I would go home all happy and be like, Mom! Dad! I found a book, and the character’s Asian! Like, the, their best friend’s Asian.

Wendy: That’s awesome!

Emi:: There wasn’t a lot of main characters, but when I did find it, I was really happy.

Wendy: That’s exciting. I love that you recognize this need that kids needed to have books about people that were like them. Tell me a little bit more about that. What gave you the courage and belief that you could actually make a difference with this?

Emi:: Well, support from adults mainly. One day I was just playing with my siblings and then my mom called me in. She was on a call with my auntie and she asked, how do you want to positively change the world? And I said, obviously I want to fight racism. And so… We were putting together ideas, and then I decided that we should go with books. Diverse books, because books, they’ll last forever, and they’re an accessible way to meet new people, and it can help kids to accept differences and build empathy.

Wendy:  I love that. This is a pretty, like, powerful thing that you’re trying to do. This isn’t just about getting a book with diverse characters. You’re, like, really trying to change people’s mindsets and help them to be accepting of people who have differences.

Emi: Something that we made sure of is that the books that were about a certain culture, that the author and the illustrator were of the same race, culture, or experience of that book.

Wendy: Oh, that’s very incredible. So, making sure that it was truly representative and not somebody who’s trying to write about something that they don’t have any experience with.

Emi: Yeah.

Wendy:  I love that. That’s incredible. So, tell me what you’ve been doing the past two summers to help with this. Talk to me a little bit about your plans and how that’s been going.

Emi: Well, I mean, we knew that a regular lemonade stand wouldn’t raise enough money for it. So at our lemonade stand, we had ethical foods from our culture, from my culture, which is Japanese, Korean, Chinese, and Hawaiian. We had banana bread, cookies, mochi, lemonade, Guava Juice, Chocolate Cupcakes, Guava Cupcakes. There’s a lot of stuff.

Wendy: There’s a lot of really great things that you thought of. That’s incredible. And so, how many people were coming to buy stuff from here?

Emi: Um, for the first one, we had mainly family members. Um, a lot of, and family friends, they were really generous. A lot of them would give like a lot extra, um, or wouldn’t ask for change. For the second one, as the lemonade stand became more well known, there’s more people. We still had family and family friends. We also had some other people who were just inspired by the story. And for the third one, we had a lot of people.

Wendy: That’s awesome. And tell me where you had your lemonade stand.

Emi: For the first one, we had it at our house. For the second one and third one, we had it in front of Westridge Elementary.

Wendy: That’s incredible. So really tapping into the whole Westridge community there.

Emi: Yeah.

Wendy: Um, and I saw a lot of social media posts too. So I’m guessing that that helped on your third one because I, I saw lots of board members were putting that information out as well as just a lot of community members were spreading the word.

Emi: Something that I learned while doing these lemonade stands is that, like, no one can do this alone. Like, if I didn’t have the help and support from my mom, my dad, my siblings, my grandparents, my uncles and aunties, family, friends, cousins, um, I wouldn’t have been able to do this.

Wendy: So, it took a whole, a whole group of people to come together to make, to make this a possibility.

Emi: Yeah.

Wendy:  Yeah, that’s great. So, what have you been able to do with the money that you raised?

Emi: So For the first lemonade stand, we got an original set of books from a bunch of different cultures. For the second one, we also wanted to focus on not only donating the old set to some new schools, but we made a new set for some of the old schools that already had the original set.

Wendy:  Oh, there you go.

Emi: Um, we focused on people with disabilities, um, people with different family structures, and more diverse books.

Wendy: That’s incredible. And so how many books have you, have you received or been able to secure and how many schools, locations, do you know all of that?

Emi: Um, there’s a lot, definitely.

Wendy: We can even just say, there’s a lot.

Emi: Yeah, I think we’ve donated 336 books and then we’ve donated to like 9 or 10 schools.

Wendy: That’s incredible. So, wow, over 300 books. That’s amazing. What has been the reaction? of the places where you’ve provided these books.

Emi: They were all really happy. I remember going to Franklin. The principal was really happy.

Wendy: Mr. Benson.

Emi: Yeah, Mr. Benson. And the schools have just used the books really well. I’d like to give a special, um, shout out to Majestic. We recently went there at the beginning of the school year. And it was really fun going up there. We did a presentation. about the books for the new teachers.

Wendy: And yeah, oh, that’s incredible. So Majestic Elementary in Jordan School District, I’m guessing.

Emi: Yeah

Wendy: Yes, that’s incredible. And I love that they allowed you to kind of talk about what it was you were doing. That’s amazing. Which of these books is your favorite?

Emi: From the first, second, or third set.

Wendy: Oh, any one. I’ll let you choose.

Emi: Out of all of them, from the first set, I gotta say my favorites are probably, um, The Name Jar, Eyes That Kiss in the Corner by Joanna Ho, my favorite author, and We Are Water Protectors.

In the second set, I really liked A Kind of Spark, which is about an autistic girl, um, trying to get a memorial for witch trials. And then Planet Earth is Blue, which is also about an autistic girl who, um, is in foster care and she’s trying to find her older sister.

Wendy: Wow, those, those sound like really interesting storylines, not your typical storybooks, right? So really trying to connect and, and acknowledge that kids are coming from a variety of experiences, but they can still do pretty incredible things no matter what challenges they have. That’s pretty great. What are your plans moving forward?

Emi: For this set we are focusing on untold stories along with donating some original sets to some new schools. Some books that we are definitely going to add to that set is When Stars Are Scattered, The Silence That Binds Us, and Beneath the Wide Silk Sky.

Wendy:  Wonderful. What do you really want people to know about what you are doing and why it’s so important to you? Like, if you could really communicate with them and say, this is really why I care about this so much, because I even think it’s  going beyond, right? Just finding diverse books. You have an even greater mission.

Emi: I do want them to know that when they read these books, that it’s good to see others as well as themselves in books. And also, to make change with this because I’ve learned that it’s not one big solution that changes everything, it’s a lot of little ones.

Wendy:  Oh, that is a great message to send. So, we don’t have to come up with these grandiose plans. We can just do small, simple things and that positive momentum can happen, right?

Emi: Yeah.

Wendy: To bring about change. Is there anything else you want our listeners to know?

Emi: Something I really learned during this is that kids can do anything with the support of adults because, I don’t know, for us kids, just the support from adults just makes us really believe that we can do it, and with the community you can do mainly anything.

Wendy: That’s incredible. And it also shows you is that as you get older, then you’re going to become that adult and you can start to bring about that change, but now you’ve had that experience of, them kind of guiding you through that process. Right?

Emi: Yeah.

Wendy: Well, thank you so much, Emi, for taking the time to, uh, talk with me about your awesome project and all of the good that you are doing. I know that these schools are very grateful and it’s just more important the lessons, not only that you’re learning, but the things that you’re sharing with other kids. So, thank you so much.

Emi: Thank you.

Wendy: Thank you everyone for joining me for this episode of What’s Up With the Soup. As always, all episodes will be posted on Spotify, YouTube, and the district website. If you have any topics or questions you would like us to discuss on the podcast, please email us at podcast@provo.edu. We will continue our focus on students next week when we talk with a teacher and a student at Amelia Earhart Elementary about their Amelia Earhart Literacy Community.

So be sure to join us for our episode next Friday, September 8th. Have a great Labor Day weekend, everyone. Until next time!

Shauna Sprunger
  • Coordinator of Communications
  • Shauna Sprunger
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