Inclusion and Belonging
The Parkland School District has had a focus on Inclusion and Belonging for a number of years and is pleased to continue its work this school year.
2022-23 School Year Updates
Our school district goals for 2022-23 can be viewed here.
- We continue to meet with students via the Superintendent's Student Leadership Council.
- The SMS Group of students is planning a Cultural Awareness Display at this year Festival of the Arts in May.
- We hosted a Community Inclusion and Belonging Forum in October where we heard from PHS students who have moved here from other countries who shared how they have become part of the fabric of Parkland High School.
- In March 2023, we held a Community Resource Fair that involved 90+ agencies and community groups. The groups consisted of social service agencies, recreational opportunities, cultural organizations, nonprofits and more.
- We hosted our first-ever New Parent Social in March 2023 to help new families make connections with others.
- Our schools continued to conduct climate/culture surveys, host class chats, and incorporate new student activities and peer mentoring to help newcomers feel welcomed and as though they belong.
- Our Inclusion and Belonging Staff Committee has met to review goals and also continues to ensure that staff teach social skills, emotional skills, and behavior skills through the Character Counts/ Mind Up/ School-wide Positive Behavior Programs and Bully Prevention Programs.
2021-2022 School Year Updates
*Created a new Superintendent Student Leadership Council to glean feedback directly from students. Students are working on projects that are aimed to better the school climate. At SMS, students have been empowered to update the New Student Orientation event. At OMS and PHS, students are working on planning events that promote school spirit and inclusivity.
*Continued to meet with Staff Cohort periodically this year.
*Continued the Community Cohort with meetings in December and January.
*Developed a District Equity Statement with input from the Cohorts.
*Kindness Crusade Projects helped foster sense of community and care for others in all schools and were shared during the January 2022 Board Meeting and will be on display during the Parkland Festival of the Arts on May 21, 2022.
*Examples of how Diversity, Equity and Inclusion is taking place in schools has been shared via social media this school year.
* Teacher Resources that celebrate special month-long celebrations are shared by the Curriculum Office at the start of each month (examples are Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month, Women's History Month, etc.) with ideas on how to connect the commemorations inside the classroom.
*On March 11, 2022, all Parkland staff attended a workshop that gave reminders on how to incorporate best practices of inclusion of students with special needs in classrooms.
*Held Lunch and Learn sessions with students groups to help inspire a career in education with a "grow your own" mindset to develop a diverse pool of future educators.
*Partnered with Cedar Crest College to offer a future educator scholarship opportunity.
*On May 10, 2022 from 8:30 - 10 AM, we held our 2nd Annual Community Forum in the Administration Center Board Room. The topic was on Inclusion and the meeting was open to the public. We had about 30 participants. The panelists included: Damian Goodman, Principal, Schnecksville; Brenda DeRenzo, Director of Student Services; Traci Falco, Classroom Teacher; Jodi Barndt, Autistic Support Specialist; and Bobby Lanyon, Parkland Parent of a student with special needs.
This graphic was designed and included in Springhouse Middle School's Spring 2022 newspaper by student Mazie Fleischaker.
2020-21 School Year Updates
Equity and Inclusion Goals and Action Plan and Timeline were developed. An update to Goals and Planning was made to the School Board during the December 15, 2020 Workshop Meeting.
Parkland started this work in 2009 when it formed a Cultural Awareness Committee aimed at breaking down stereotypes by educating Parkland staff on the many cultural backgrounds that exist in Parkland. The goal of that Committee has been to increase awareness and understanding of the many traditions that our students and staff participate in and how Parkland staff may demonstrate compassion and awareness to ALL PEOPLE so that all students and staff feel welcome and able to share concerns. The Cultural Awareness Committee has included guest speakers from faith-based and cultural institutions as well as provided workshops for all levels of Parkland staff. Since 2019, Parkland school leaders participated in Lehigh University’s Greater Lehigh Valley Consortium for Excellence and Equity via their School Study Council where national consultants and District leaders came together monthly to discuss systemic racism and how it has contributed to culture and influenced the framework for our nation’s current public education system.