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Transformative Principal is 

May 8, 2022

Michelle Goldshlag is the Co-founder and CEO of Cultured Kids (CK), a nonprofit organization that believes a student’s sense of belonging is the primary catalyst for their success.
In her six years at the helm, Cultured Kids has partnered with schools and community organizations in Northern VA and the Metro Boston area, as well as provide consulting services for international museums and global organizations like the Holistica Foundation in Brazil. Our after school Art & Storytelling Program curriculum was developed to increase sense of belonging for 4–6th graders.

Strategic and focused progression of themes align with the book text and allow participants to easily create connections between them and book characters and one another.
1. Identity
2. Empathy
3. Belonging

Art projects also scaffold along with the themes and the reading. Working from individual,  to small group, and finally large group projects.

Our in person pilot showed a significant increase in student belonging at school and an almost unanimous sense of belonging in the book club itself.

Virtual program during Covid also successful and brought together family members for our closing celebration from as far as Egypt.

Giving Tuesday fundraiser has created opportunities for us to expand this program to other areas outside dc are where currently focused. We are looking for 5 new schools to partner with.

Criteria for partnership:
* A core team at the school willing to work with us. Admin, educators, school counselor.
* Two School staff willing to facilitate book club and work through training. 20 hours total (training & program) and $750 stipend.
* All materials and teacher stipend are covered from through fundraising efforts
* Fee for teacher training that Ed/administrators can use as SEL professional development.

Show Notes

  • Increase kids sense of belonging
  • Work with educators
  • Art & literature transcend time and place.
  • Celia Perez’s First Rule of Punk
  • How to decide what books to read.
  • MOSAIC - My Own Strengths Amplify Inclusive Communities


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Just Right Reader

Just Right Reader Decodables are a great way to help your students learn how to read, with research-based strategies that are proven to be effective. Each grade level has over 100 books. Send books home in packs of ten, with video lessons accessible via QR codes on each book, with lessons in Spanish and English. Learn more at