“Unless our children begin to learn together, there is little hope that our people will ever learn to live together.” – Justice Thurgood Marshall, Milliken v. Bradley
How do you make each student feel valued and included in your school?
- Reading I: “The Impact of Social Inclusion on School Culture,” Principal Leadership, October 2014, pp. 32–36.
- Reading II: “Segregation in Schools: 60 Years after Brown v. Board of Education,” Principal Leadership, October 2014, pp. 10–12.
- Select the discussion facilitator to lead a collaborative discussion and exploration of the strategies in the readings.
Distribute links and/or copies of the readings to each discussion participant before the meeting. Encourage the participants to read the selections prior to the meeting—highlighting, annotating, and noting important points.
Full Faculty Discussion
- Divide the faculty into groups of eight to 10. Participants may be randomly grouped or grouped by departments, grade levels, or instructional teams.
Distribute copies of the Discussion Prompts to each facilitator and assign a recorder to summarize the group discussion.
- Begin the conversation by asking each group member to individually answer the questions posed in the first paragraph of the first reading. Give sufficient time so that answers can be supported with specific examples of events or actions in place at your school.
- Ask faculty members to ignore their assumptions and to use specific reading selection examples to support their comments during group discussions. Use the Discussion Prompts to continue the conversation in a way that is most relevant to your school.
Ask group members to pick a partner and debrief their answers and supporting evidence. At the conclusion of the discussion, rank your school culture on a scale from one to 10, one being non-inclusive and 10 being most inclusive. If your scores differ, collaborate and form consensus on one ranking.
Reconvene the groups and have one or two pairs in each group voluntarily share their score and the supporting events and actions already in place at your school. Submit your notes to the facilitator.
Continue the Discussion
- Use the Discussion Prompts to closely examine the readings and continue the conversation in a way that is most relevant to your school. Give specific reading selection examples to support your comments during the discussion.
- Provide time after the discussion to summarize the responses to Reading I, questions 3, 10, and 11; and Reading II, questions 3 and 4 on chart paper for posting. After each group posts the summaries, arrange a full participant gallery walk.
Debrief the faculty discussion by reviewing effective inclusion areas at your school. What additional strategies that align with your school improvement plan could be implemented to improve your school culture?
Extend and Apply
Have each staff group identify a representative to serve on a planning team. The team should agree on a future scheduled meeting time.
Planning Team Meeting Process
- The planning team should reflect on the meeting summary notes identified and posted by the faculty discussion groups.
- An identified subgroup should investigate the Special Olympics resources in Reading I and/or as available on their website. Identify what planning and training materials are available for use in your school culture initiative.
- The team should lead a collaborative discussion of the climate rank scores, the existing effective strategies, and those additional strategies needed at your school.
- The planning team should review the effective process steps for program implementation. Use the Discussion Guide Planning Templates to determine next steps needed for implementing a successful initiative or amending your existing improvement plan, recommended personnel, and implementation times.
- As a group, the planning team should write an action plan and prepare for collaborative administrative and faculty discussions.