Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Plans for the 2021-2022 School Year

Mural+painted+by+the+Intrinsic+Art+Club+on+diversity+and+inclusion.%0ACourtesy+of+Elizabeth+Huang

Mural painted by the Intrinsic Art Club on diversity and inclusion. Courtesy of Elizabeth Huang

Noa Rabkin, Contributing Writer

Solon High School (SHS) had its first Diversity Equity & Inclusion (DEI) lessons last year. After conducting a survey, the Parent-Teachers Association (PTA) saw that most students did not benefit from the lessons. Last year, teachers taught the lessons but this year, students will facilitate and lead the lessons to their peers.

A group of students met over the summer and created a PowerPoint with information and activities for the lesson. For junior Hannah Olszewski, creating these lessons helped her become more aware of the need for diversity at SHS.

“For me in particular, I learned so much just by being around other people and other people’s experiences,” Olszewski said. “So I hope that the program that we made will help other people see their personal biases and see the experiences of their classmates to maybe help understand and bring us closer as far as how diverse our community is.”

Kelly Fishman, an English teacher at SHS, believes that as a school, it is important to have these lessons so that if a student feels discriminated against, they can come to a teacher and that teacher can help them.

“I want teachers to feel really comfortable and I want that community within a classroom to feel comfortable having the conversations or for people to feel like they can be upstanders because it’s the norm,” Fishman said. “It’s the norm to call something out when you see it.”

In addition, students will be able to participate more in the lessons and will have the opportunity to share their own experiences with the rest of their class.

“This year, we definitely focus on how it would be more effective to us as students in order to make it more accessible to the other people who may not be as open-minded to taking these lessons or think that they’re like a waste of time,” Olszewski said.

Vice Principal Joshua Frazier believes that it is important to acknowledge the equity and inclusion initiative and explains how it can benefit the high school as a whole.

“We want to make sure that all of our students and staff feel welcome, respected, included and valued here at high school,” Frazier said. “The goal is to raise awareness and just continue to get better every day to create this more inclusive environment.”

If students want to get involved and plan the lessons for next year, they should ask an administrator. Teaching these lessons to their fellow peers will help students be leaders and to learn more about the atmosphere at Solon High School.

“I think every individual in this building has to do their part because we’re just a school community, and we all have something to contribute and improve the culture,” Frazier said. “So, I think the way that [students] can get involved is to reach out [and get involved] in the actual planning of these activities. Also, when we’re doing them in the classrooms [they] actually participate and then [living] up to standard in the school community.”

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