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Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging Committee meeting shines spotlight on schools

Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging Committee meeting shines spotlight on schools

Colonial School District community members discovered the many ways schools are working together to promote a sense of belonging during the spring meeting for the Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging (EIB) Committee.

The March 18 gathering opened with a performance by the Colonial Elementary School Chorus, who sang Bruno Mars’ “You Can Count on Me.” Students also shared some information about efforts they make in school to make each other feel welcome. For example, students have painted positive messages in different languages onto “kindness rocks” to acknowledge the different cultures represented in the student population. The rocks will be hidden around the school for others to find.

Following Colonial Elementary’s performance and share out, attendees were invited to travel to different tables in the high school cafeteria to learn from each building about EIB efforts during the year so far. 

At Ridge Park Elementary School’s table, students discussed their participation in the Unity Walk that was held in February, as well as what they learned about step dancing. Conshohocken Elementary School educators shared information about the communication poster boards that are in the recess yard as well as inside the school. These boards feature a variety of pictures and words that can be used to help students communicate how they are feeling or what they want to do. The posters have helped both verbal and non-verbal students to identify feelings or express intentions in a positive way.

Plymouth Elementary School administrators and teachers shared information about programs like Panda Pals, where students from across all grade levels are randomly assigned to a staff member. They will stay in the same Panda Pals group during their time at the school and will take part in activities aligned to school climate initiatives. 

Plymouth Whitemarsh High School students talked with visitors to their table about efforts being made by clubs like the Black Cultural Awareness club, the International Baccalaureate Club, and many others, to promote belonging in their school. The BCA led the Unity Walk in February during Black History Month - an event that has spread from the high school to all the schools in recent years and is intended to unite all in respecting differences.

Equity and Advancement Officer Dr. Melissa Figueroa-Douglas ended the evening by sharing information about district-wide efforts, such as schools being introduced to the book, “A Village Remembered.” The book, which was authored by two Plymouth Whitemarsh High School graduates, was shared during Black History Month as a way of introducing students to Plymouth Meeting’s role in the Underground Railroad and the abolitionist movement. 

Dr. Figueroa-Douglas also mentioned that the EIB Building Teams (consisting of administrators and teachers at each building) have been participating in training and that EIB Student Leadership Teams attended a conference that focused on EIB issues and initiatives and meet regularly with Dr. Figueroa-Douglas. Finally, she shared that both the middle school and high school collected data on school climate through the Psychological Sense of School Membership (PSSM) survey, and are using the information to improve and inform professional practice.


 

Colonial Middle School administrators talk with visitors to their table.
Educators at Plymouth Elementary School share information about their EIB efforts.
The Colonial Elementary School Chorus performs a song.
Plymouth Whitemarsh High School students talk to adults at their table.
Plymouth Elementary School educators talk to visitors.
Ridge Park Elementary School students talk to visitors at their table.
Whitemarsh Elementary School educators talk to the public during the EIB meeting.