Commitment to Inclusion & Respect - Chat and Chew Activities for Families
Highland Park Independent School District has given considerable time, thought, and effort to improve how students and staff feel welcomed, included, and respected at all of our schools. Task forces made up of parents, students and staff were created to study 1) how students and staff learn about understanding and valuing diversity, 2) the district’s current climate and culture and 3) district policies and procedures.
Thoughtful response from our students, staff, and community are important in finding ways for every student, every day to feel welcomed, included, and respected in HPISD. The collective wisdom in this community makes us better and stronger as a school district and provides excellent ideas for continuous improvement.
As a school district, we will always remain committed to having a safe environment based upon mutual respect for all students entrusted in our care.
To help continue these important conversations at home, the Inclusive and Respectful Schools Sounding Board created a platform for family discussions around issues that may affect our students. The Chat and Chew platform presents topics for conversation outside of school. To facilitate the chat, follow along through the courses of a meal: Set the Table by establishing the topic and context for discussion, enjoy the Main Course by considering the provided thought-provoking questions, and savor Dessert by considering the topic’s effect on you and your family. The opportunity to talk can happen at any time, perhaps during carpool, on the way to a sporting event, or while sharing a meal.
This month’s topic for discussion is Celebrating Differences: Cultures and Religions. Read on to find out more about celebrating differences in cultures and religions right here in HPISD!
Set the Table: Watch this short video with your child. You may notice that, while religions and houses of worship may be different, there are many similarities. Video: FIVE
Sometimes we need a little reminder of the good that can come from faiths uniting together for a better world, and that the common foundations underpinning every religion are harmonious. From schools and offices to religious groups and local communities, there is no time like the present to make an effort to reach out and get to know more about the religions that surround us in our everyday lives. Religion surrounds us, and in a variety of formats. Above all, religion universally stands for acceptance, inclusivity, and peace, and there is a lot to be said for all three. (https://greatwithtalent.me)
Scenario- You notice that Rachel, a girl in your class is absent from school at the end of September. When she returns, you find out why. Rachel tells you that she and her family were celebrating Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year. You thought the New Year celebration was on the first day of January. How can you get more information to help you understand both the differences and similarities between the holidays?
Main Course: Reflect on what it means to appreciate similarities in cultures and religions in the video and scenario by using the following questions to facilitate conversation.
- What are some characteristics of your culture and religion?
- How could you find out more about the religions and cultures in the video that are different from your own?
- What impact could finding out more about different cultures and religions have at your school?
- What is to be gained by understanding the differences between other cultures and religions?
- Why is it difficult when others are not accepting of other people’s cultural or religious differences?
- What help do you need from your family members to help you understand cultures and religions that are different from your own?
- How can you use your knowledge of other cultures and religions to initiate a friendship with someone new, especially someone whose culture and religion are different from your own?
Dessert: Take Action and Follow Up later with another conversation!
Give an example of a time when you have recognized and experienced another culture or religion as well as discovered the similarities. Decide on a time within the next week when you can all follow up on your actions.
This month’s topic for discussion is Kindness and Compassion. Read on to find out more about Kindness and Compassion right here in HPISD!
Set the Table: Think about what it means to have kindness and compassion for others as you watch the video and read a scenario as examples of kindness and compassion. Video: Best Buddies Make a Difference
Best Buddies is the world's largest nonprofit organization devoted solely to providing opportunities for friendships, jobs, and leadership for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD). The HP Raiders chapter, at McCullough and Highland Park Middle School, fosters one-to-one friendships between students with and without IDD. Here in Highland Park, Best Buddies kick off the year with ice cream at Howdy Homemade. Best Buddy pairs attend Raider football and basketball games, have game parties, holiday cookie decorating parties, a Valentine's Day party, and attend the Special Olympics basketball tournament together. In the spring, Best Buddies raise funds for the Friendship Walk fundraiser by selling candy sticks and participating in the walk together. This program helps create an inclusive school climate. For more information about the MIS/HPMS Best Buddies chapter, contact Katie Eason firstname.lastname@example.org
Scenario- Palemon is a new student in your class. He is African American and comes from Cameroon, which is in Africa. He speaks mostly French but is learning English. He sits alone at lunch and plays by himself at recess. You notice that he does not talk much to others but he is really good at soccer and has some great moves and tricks. Palemon seems very interesting to you and you would like to know more about him, but your friends do not seem to be interested in getting to know him. How could you get to know more about Palemon?
Main Course: Reflect on what it means to have kindness and compassion for others in the video and scenario by using the following questions to facilitate conversation.
- What does it mean to be kind? What does it mean to have compassion?
- What impact did having kindness and compassion have in the video?
- What impact could having kindness and compassion have in the scenario?
- What is to be gained by having kindness and compassion?
- Why is it difficult when others do not show kindness and compassion?
- What help do you need from your family members to demonstrate kindness and compassion for others?
- How can you use kindness and compassion to initiate a friendship with someone new? How do you know when someone else needs kindness and compassion?
Dessert: Take Action and Follow Up later with another conversation! Give an example of a time when you have acted with kindness and compassion. Notice a time this week when you can demonstrate kindness and compassion for others. Decide on a time within the next week when you can all follow up on your actions.
The first topic for discussion is Being an Upstander. Read on the find out more about Being an Upstander right here in HPISD.
Set the Table: Think about the characteristics of an Upstander as you watch the video and read a scenario of two examples of being an Upstander. Video: Boys Reaction to Bullying will Melt your Heart!
Scenario- A 5th-grade student who was small in stature was being bullied by classmates. The bullies were calling her names, like “Baby”, and making fun of her size because she was smaller than the others. Another student noticed the bullying and immediately stood with the student being bullied exclaiming, “That was a mean thing to say! You wouldn’t want someone to make fun of you.” The teacher then addressed the situation and commended the Upstander for stepping in. In addition, the teacher informed the principal of the situation, who sent home a Letter of Commendation honoring the actions of the Upstander to the parents of the Upstander.
Main Course: Reflect on the characteristics of the Upstanders in the video and scenario by using the following questions to facilitate conversation.
- What is an Upstander?
- What impact did the Upstander generate in the story?
- What is to be gained by being an Upstander?
- What makes it hard to be an Upstander?
- What help do you need from your family members in order to be an Upstander?
- What would you have done in this situation?
Dessert: Take Action and Follow Up later with another conversation! Give an example of when you have acted as an Upstander. Notice a time this week when you can be an Upstander. Decide on a time within the next week when you can all revisit the conversation.