2019 Community Diversity Education and Training Program
We believe 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. Our action plan includes something for each age level, from young children to adult.
1. Young children (ages 6-8) – Last summer was the inaugural session for the new Peace Academy of the Sciences and Arts summer school. We supported their vision by providing scholarships for local Lucia Mar students. This summer we will expand our support to include students from San Luis Coastal district as well. Last year’s program included 9 languages and 7 ethnicities in its student body! Exposing the very young to this level of diversity, we believe, starts them off on the right path!
2. Elementary students – We believe that at this age the classroom environment promoted by the teacher is of utmost importance. We therefore coordinated with the Museum of Tolerance in L.A. and with Lucia Mar to send 2 teachers from every elementary school (22 teachers) to a 2 - day professional development for educators at the Museum of Tolerance, with the goal that they would, in turn, share their insights with their colleagues at each site. The program encouraged the attendees to challenge and confront all forms of prejudice and discrimination, and promoted self-reflection and action planning. We plan to continue this training next year for Lucia Mar teachers, and to expand it to the teachers of San Luis Coastal.
3. Middle school and High school students – At this level, we support and supplement the current units of study already being taught, by bringing speakers to the schools. These speakers, thus, are the culmination to rich, extensive units of study, thus making the learning experience more meaningful and impactful to the students. Our speakers in the past have included a Holocaust survivor, (Dr, Henry Oster), a Lost Boy of Sudan, and a Sudanese refugee (Alepho Deng) and International Rescue Committee worker Joseph Jok (at Judkins and Paulding middle schools, Lucia Mar). Next year we plan to include Mesa Middle School (Lucia Mar) and the high schools of Lucia Mar, as well as the schools of San Luis Coastal.
4. Adults – At our quarterly Community Outreach meetings, we educate and inspire the public in human rights, social justice, and diversity discussions and seminars, designed to promote understanding and tolerance of all segments of our community. In the past we’ve covered a full spectrum of issues with speakers including a professor of religious studies who dispelled the myths surrounding the Muslim faith, a professor of psychology who addressed issues of racism, a woman who organized the Women’s March and has since run for local political office (and won), and a Sudanese refugee, speaking about refugee issues, among others. We intend to continue offering high quality speakers to our members and the public at large.
Feb. 12 – Joseph Jok, Sudanese refugee and International Rescue Committee worker, spoke to Judkins and Paulding students in connection with their unit of the U.N. Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the book A Long Road to Water.
Feb. 12 – Joseph Jok spoke at our Community Outreach meeting about the Refugee Experience.
March 7 and 8 – 22 teachers (2 from each Lucia Mar elementary school), along with several administrators, attended a teacher training at the Museum of Tolerance.
March 22 – Meeting with Lucia Mar regarding possibility of bringing a play about the census and racial identity to high school students next year.Meeting with SLO Coastal superintendent will hopefully follow.
March 23 – Open House for the Peace Academy.(peaceacademyslo.org)
May 23 – Our next Community Outreach meeting, with guest speaker Jessica Lynn, a transgender woman who speaks to international audiences.
June 8 – Aug. 2 – Peace Academy summer school.