WHAT IS THE SOCIAL JUSTICE PROJECT
It is our belief that diversity contributes to excellence in education. As diversity continues to grow in the metropolitan area, educators will be challenged to recognize differences, increase interactions across boundaries, handle classroom conflict, facilitate intergroup relations, and continue to provide a positive and safe classroom and school community.
To help our staff members obtain these skills and understandings, the district has been involved, through the Oakland County Intermediate School District, in professional development sessions for a cohort of staff members. Other participating districts have included Troy, Farmington, Novi, and West Bloomfield.
WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OF THIS LEARNING
The purpose of this professional development is to grow our collective understanding of social justice and to begin short term initiatives in our own district that will continue to provide all students and their families with a safe and welcoming classroom and school community. This initiative is one of many ways in which the district discourages bullying behavior.
Our staff members who have been involved in this professional development have had experience with:
- Understanding core concepts of intergroup relations
- Assessing their social identities and how these identities affect students’ classroom experiences
- Understanding how students’ social identities affect teaching and learning
- Developing hands-on practice skills, e.g., creating safe spaces, handling incidents, learning pedagogical techniques for critical thinking and intercultural maturity
- Applying group process activities to strengthen passion, awareness, skills and knowledge
Our cohorts are representative of elementary and secondary teachers, social workers and administrators.
The first cohort worked at developing a social justice mission statement (see below) and the second cohort created a staff and student survey that will be used for future planning to make our schools and our district as safe and welcoming as possible for all students and staff.Our third cohort worked on professional learning opportunities for our staff members
This work will continue with another cohort next year.
DRAFT SOCIAL JUSTICE MISSION AND VISION STATEMENT
Mission: For the purpose of engaging all students, staff and community members in our shared learning environment, we will celebrate uniqueness, thereby cultivating the understanding and acceptance of each individual.
Vision: As a result of their time shared with us, all students will be able to move from making judgments based on perceived differences to acceptance of each unique individual.