Throughout the month of January 2011, the Kindergarten throughseventh grade students students participated in the SearsDiversity Awareness Program. Thisprogram was a continuation of the successful program begun by the DiversityAwareness Committee and is a part of the curriculum to help promoteunderstanding and inclusion of persons of all abilities within the Searscommunity. Chairperson GailleeFitzpatrick organized the program along with numerous parent volunteers andfaculty. There was a K-7 Kick-OffDiversity Awareness Assembly in the Auditorium on January 7th at1:15, which was coordinated by Dr. Noell, Karen Noonan and Carrie DeLacruz fromNSSED. Mr. Meech videotaped thisyear’s event and it is available for your viewing by request.
At this assembly, Sears hosted a panelof junior high, high school, and college students. The goal of the assembly was to help the students understandthat individuals with different learning abilities/styles/challenges are justlike them – they want to have friends and feel included. Each speaker, all from local schools(Washburne, New Trier, Elmhurst College) addressed a prepared list ofquestions, facilitated by student moderators from Sears. Once the panel addressed themoderator’s questions, there was an opportunity for the Sears students in theaudience to ask some further questions, prompted by the presentation.
During January, faculty and parentliaisons in K-5 helped coordinate over 40 parent volunteers to conduct twolessons in the classrooms. These lessonsaddressed a wide spectrum of topics related to learning differences. They were designed to promoteunderstanding and inclusion of all abilities within the school community. This program directly supports andcompliments the existing character education curriculum and its mission toensure respect and the value of each student at the Joseph Sears School.
Each year, the new Kindergartenstudents will also be making quilt squares to be part of their grade level’s“Promise Quilt”. These “Promise Quilts” are created by each cohort that comesthrough Sears School to celebrate and promote awareness of the many differentqualities possessed by our student body. Each student makes a print of his/herhand on quilt squares which are then assembled into one large quilt for theirgrade level. The quilts are hung in the hallway outside of the LTC and movewith the cohort as they matriculate through the school. These “Promise Quilts”serve as a daily reminder for all, that it is our unique individual qualities thatcome together to make The Joseph Sears School the truly special community weknow it to be.
If you would like to be a part of theSear Diversity Awareness Program, we are currently looking for parent liaisonsfor the 2011-2012 program. If youare interested, please contact Dr. Noell, Director of Student Services:firstname.lastname@example.org.