2018 Community Diversity Education and Training Program
The Program will focus on three specific areas: School Speakers, Informational Workshops and Curriculum Development. Our belief is that education, both of the children and of the adults in our community, is the key to fostering a more positive, peaceful and prosperous community for all.
1. School Speakers
• Goal – To supplement the current units of study regarding issues of tolerance already being taught at our local middle school and high school levels. Our speakers will be the culmination to rich, extensive units of study, thus making the learning experience more meaningful and impactful to the students.
• Implementation – We will focus on schools in the Lucia Mar School District. During the current school term, 2017-2018, Alepho Deng, one of the Lost Boys of Sudan, will speak at two middle schools, Paulding and Judkins, on Feb. 15, 2018. The 300 seventh graders at Paulding and 250 seventh graders at Judkins will be studying the U.N. Universal Declaration of Human Rights and reading the book I Am Malala prior to his arrival. The teachers will have copies of Mr. Deng’s book, They Poured Fire on Us From the Sky, The true story of three Lost Boys of Sudan, to prepare the students for his amazing story. Then, on March 22 and 23, 2018, Dr. Henry Oster, a Holocaust survivor, will be speaking to the same two middle schools, addressing the 550 eighth graders. In preparation, these students will be studying an extensive unit on the steps leading to genocide, and will read either Night, by Eli Wiesel, or The Diary of Anne Frank. The teachers will have Dr. Oster’s autobiography, The Kindness of the Hangman, to prepare. The Coalition is presenting these speakers in partnership with the education outreach committee of Human Rights Watch, Santa Barbara. In the next school term, 2018-2019, we plan to expand this speaker program to the third Lucia Mar middle school, Mesa, thus reaching all of the local middle school age children, and ultimately hope to include the high school students as well, perhaps as part of their U.S. Government classes, by presenting issues pertinent to current events that might later be debated in small groups. Human Rights Watch is attempting to provide us with a recent Syrian refugee, among others, for this purpose.
• Another possible way to reach our local students is to provide a database of volunteer speakers in our area which teachers could access to supplement a unit of study in their classroom.
2. Informational Workshops (for teachers and the community at large)
• Goal – To engage teachers, members, and the public in human rights, social justice, and diversity discussions and seminars designed to promote understanding and tolerance of all segments of our community. We believe the adults who interact with the young people we reach in our Speaker program will have a huge impact on the success of those educational efforts.
• Implementation – Teachers: The Coalition’s Education Committee is in discussion with Dr. Raynee Daley, Superintendent of Lucia Mar USD, Ron Walton, Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum, and Debbie Schimandle, Director of Elementary Education, with the goal of developing a seed group of motivated teachers who can inspire others at their campuses, possibly using Lucia Mar’s current “Tuesday Tidbits” program, wherein interested teachers at all levels (elementary, middle school and high school) attend optional after-school workshops, receiving either pay or credit. The CTA (California Teachers Association) Human Rights department could provide the trainings. We hope this opportunity could ultimately reach all elementary teachers by using Lucia Mar’s “Late Start Mondays” format. Every Monday, the elementary students of Lucia Mar arrive to school an hour later than usual. During that hour, the teachers, under the direction of a “Teacher on Special Assignment” (TOSA), have in-services in instructional techniques. Several of these Mondays could be set aside to have the TOSA from each of the 11 district elementary schools, along with either the principal or vice principal (for the schools that have one) and the “bully prevention coordinator” (each school has a teacher who also takes on this role) meeting to be trained by CTA’s Human Rights Department. CTA offers trainings in such areas as unconscious bias, bullying, cultural fluency, cross-cultural communication, and 8 other human rights areas. The trainings are free. These teachers and principals would in turn train their respective staffs during the “Late Start Monday” times. In this manner, the 250 elementary teachers of Lucia Mar would benefit from the trainings. It is our belief that, at the K-6 levels, the students are most influenced by the classroom climate provided by their teachers. .
• Implementation – Community at large: The Coalition holds 4 Membership Meetings per year, open to the general public. Our Sept. 25, 2017 meeting was attended by 65 community members, including teachers, Lucia Mar district personnel and principals, police, members of other like-minded local organizations, and concerned citizens. Our speaker was Jaime Cuello, a dynamic local teacher who successfully promotes and teaches diversity in his classroom. Our next meeting, in January, 2018, will feature Dr. Lloyd Moffett, professor of Religious Studies at Cal Poly. He will address common misconceptions regarding Islam, aided by local Muslim Americans speaking about their experiences. Some additional topics currently under consideration are: --- The Refugee Experience – local refugees, such as the author of Double Luck, Memoirs of a Chinese Orphan, Lu Chi Fa, and one of our board members, Rudy Xavier, to share their experiences and feelings, and ----LGBTQ issues – showing a film on the bullying experienced by these students, followed by a panel discussion.
3. Curriculum Development
• Goal – To guide teachers, helping them weave diversity and cultural awareness seamlessly into everything they do.
• Implementation – We believe successful implementation can be accomplished without a set curriculum, as it comes from the heart of the teacher; there are guidelines assisting each teacher to set up their classroom and their expectations to promote acceptance of each student. One such program, provided free of charge to school districts through CTA’s Human Rights department, is called “California Challenge: A Program for Celebrating Diversity”. A description of this program, presented in the CTA Human Rights handbook, states, “California Challenge was developed in response to the increasingly critical issues surrounding student diversity in California’s schools. Its purpose is to foster understanding, acceptance, and constructive relations among people of many different cultures and language backgrounds. Skills for problem solving in culturally diverse and sensitive educational environments are presented. Activities for utilizing the diversity of the classroom for enrichment are provided.” This program is provided in 8 three-hour components. If approved by Dr. Raynee Daley, Lucia Mar USD Superintendent, the Coalition offers to collaborate by providing release time for the workshop attendees. Beginning merely with elementary school level, this plan would benefit approximately 250 teachers. If the middle and high school teachers could ultimately be included as well, these over 500 teachers could have a positive influence on the lives of Lucia Mar District’s 10,700 students.
We will continue to build relationships with collaborative partners, such as Human Rights Watch and Lucia Mar Unified School District, and others; supporting each other’s efforts, thus broadening the Coalition’s sphere of influence and improving our ability to reach these goals well into the future.