ABC news reported a couple of days ago, on May 5th, that “ President Trump railed against the nation’s immigration laws and suggested Saturday that a government shutdown may be necessary to secure his long-promised border wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.”
As Principals what are we supposed to do when we hear that type of rhetoric, especially those of us who work in diverse settings? We are trained to be inclusive.
In order to be great leaders we must believe that every child deserves a chance to be treated equitably regardless of background. When the president puts policies in place to be exclusionary either by erecting a wall or discriminating through immigration policies how are the children of these excluded groups going feel knowing they’ll soon no longer have the safety of our schools? How do you ensure that every child feels safe when they know they’ll be leaving in just a few short months? These three reminders will help your children feel secure in your school while they prepare for the world outside.
This is the technique with which most of us started the school year. At the beginning of the school year we had the power to disperse money for posters, books, speakers and classroom materials that highlight our community's’ diversity. During the year we have used these funds, and with the help of our staff decorated our buildings with images from around the globe. Now at the end of the year as we plan closing ceremonies we can ask students, families, and community members who their cultural heroes are and find ways to display them during that time. This helps reaffirm our commitment to the larger community and creates a positive vibe for the following year.
Just like the interactive software program Rosetta Stone, we want to be interactive with our students who come from different linguistic backgrounds. Something as simple as “good morning” in a student's’ home language will bring a smile to their face and help them feel safe. This small gesture is especially powerful as we make mistakes in pronunciation and cadence. This vulnerability gives them a chance to be leaders and show their strength as they help us improve. As our staff and students see us model this behavior they will follow our lead. This act of personal kindness and cultural sensitivity will help break down superficial barriers that often separate us.
This is a simple tip that must be used judiciously. Apps and technology like Google Translator don’t always address context. When we send newsletters and other communication out to families about upcoming summer programs, using Google Translator is an easy way get information to all our families. If we’re lucky enough to have someone in our district for each language that is spoken, having them review the newsletter is always a good idea. I’ve found that even if there are mistakes the families appreciate us reaching out to them and making that attempt. It shows that we respect them and their culture.
Creating community is the job of the Principal. Using these tips to help keep our schools together, as the anxiety of a summer without us begins to set in, is a way to combat the fear that some of our students feel as national policies change.
What are some ways you help your students and families feel welcome throughout the year, especially here at the end? Use the comment section below to share your thoughts.
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I'm a Principal and an Entrepreneur. I'm the former owner of a food venture Hustling Hoagies, the author of the children's picture books Detective Dwayne Drake and the Alphabet Thief, Detective Dwayne Drake and The Case of the Mathematical Misfit and the ebook Making it as a Male Model in Michigan. I've worked professionally as a model and commercial actor......