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Diversity & Equity

Mitchell embraces and honors diversity in all forms. We support and include all families and celebrate our diverse learners. We are truly Better Together!

The Diversity and Equity Committee meets monthly (the first Monday of the month in the Library @ 8:15AM) and is always recruiting new members. Our award winning Diversity and Equity Committee has been a part of Mitchell for the last 8 years by supporting and planning our annual Multicultural Night & Heritage Festival, integrating Cultural Trunks into the classroom curriculum, creating a Global Library, extending diversity outreach, integrating culturally responsive literature into our Book Room and K-5 classrooms, and more. All of our work is in alignment with Jeffco’s commitment to culturally responsive actions and practices.

The Diversity and Equity Committee’s Vision is to promote inclusion across all dimensions of diversity including religious beliefs, race, ethnicity, marital status, sexual orientation, occupation, language, geographic location and many more.

Come learn about our efforts to promote inclusion with our school community. We’d love new energy and ideas. If you would like to be added to the Diversity and Equity email list, please contact Sam Monson via her email at samantha.pelican.monson@gmail.com

FAQs

What Is AMAZE? AMAZE supports topics that reflect the multiple dimensions of diversity to support student learning: Kindness, Empathy, Feelings, Grief & Loss, Disability, Divorce, LGBTQ, Gender Roles, Adoption, Deployment, Incarceration, Religion, Race & Ethnicity, Immigration, Refugee, SES, Problem-Solving, Culture, Foster Care...and more...

Why are we using it
? These are our kids. AMAZE provides an avenue for our students to feel safe and provide a feeling of belonging. This resource provides a window into other perspectives and experiences and a mirror for our students to see themselves and/or their experiences reflected in classroom materials. 

Our community has children and families that often feel disconnected, misunderstood, or alienated. We know that feeling alienated and not connected to people is a risk for suicide and other at risk behaviors. We need to improve in the inclusivity of our community for our students, and to let all of our students know that they have a trusted adult and other peers they can talk to.

How is it going to be taught
? Empathy is not taught. It is built through shared experiences. AMAZE combines our social and emotional learning approach with anti-bias education, the latest equity and cultural engagement research, and best practices for preventing bullying and exclusion. AMAZE uses books and storytelling as an effective approach to reducing children's bias levels. Stories give you a window into someone else's world, or a mirror that reflects your similar experiences or identity.

When will it be taught
? Improving Social Emotional Learning (SEL) Skills isn’t a matter of completing an isolated program or following a set of steps. It must be embedded in the day-to-day work of schools (Naomi Thiers, 2018). This means that the selected books (using the lense of cultural engagement and equity) are embedded in the day-to-day teaching of our school. Teachers will continue to teach the way they do, but they may us books that help our community see themselves in books, or hear their own experience in conversation. 

Who is going to teach it
? Classroom teachers will incorporate the resources form AMAZE into what they are already teaching and their classroom libraries for cross-curricular and SEL connections. They will use AMAZE resources to allow for inclusive, safe and supportive conversations.

Did you know?

Equity topics matter deeply to parents of children who are starting to navigate the world on their own including subjects like bullying, gender roles, their digital lives, civic engagement, how to raise compassionate, self-sufficient, creative, emotionally intelligent children and more. With everything going on in the world, parents have to make a lot of decisions about how they teach about the world, people, and cultures. Raising children is a complicated task, but a vital part of it is teaching kids to appreciate differences among us all, and exposing them to it all at an early age. Equity keeps the human in being.

If you’re not certain how to approach certain subjects with children like diversity, equity, gender roles, immigration, divorce, grief, and loss, you’re not alone and books can provide many teachable moments about the world they live in. Whether it’s representation of minorities or strong female leads, learning to be inclusive of LGBTQ, immigrants, and disabled communities, or embracing body positivity, books can teach children about acceptance of themselves and respect for others.
Stories expose us to different people, places and lifestyles in a comfortable and entertaining way. They create “mirrors” for our children to see themselves and “windows” to view other people’s lives and through the lens of a character. Children learn to empathize with people who are different as a result. Empathy is ultimately built through collective experiences. 

Empathy is important. Developing empathy helps children recognize the feelings of others and encourages them to build relationships with those who are different from themselves (Belzung, 2014). In order to accomplish this children must first be able to form a strong sense of self-identity and then be able to acknowledge and respect another’s identity. One way of doing this is by reading high quality fiction. Reading fiction provides a safe space for children to navigate the complex task of extending empathy to people they don’t know and to people who don’t feel like a part of their in-group (Decety, 2014: Pinker 2011).  When children emphasize with a literary character they recognize the need for that character to feel safety and belonging. This translates to children wanting to create an environment of safety and acceptance for their peers. By identifying emotional connections and their impact in literature children will be able to understand how other people’s actions make them feel and how their actions affect other people. These are skills that encourage children to become responsible group members who care and advocate for each other. 
Students who participate in school-based programs focused on social and emotional
learning benefit in multiple ways as compared to students who do not experience programming in social and
emotional learning. Increases include: 9% improvement in pro-social behavior; 9% improvement in attitudes about self, others, and school; 9% reduction in problem behaviors; 10% reduction in emotional distress; 11% increase in standardized achievement test scores; 23% increase in social and emotional skills (Durlak, 2011).

Adapted From Danielle Gonzalez ®2018© AMAZE ®2015©

We are working to provide a link to more resources with research, books, activities, and information about our equity curriculum. Please stay tuned.