Principal Angela Gamez shares hopes of encouraging empathy and conversations about diversity through her ethics operating amongst the students, faculty, and entirety of the learning community.
“My hope is that starting the conversation is the most important step, and that staff education and professional development in this area is the first step in creating a more inclusive environment for all students,” Gamez said.
Gamez hopes conversations among students and the whole community prioritize awareness and compassion for one another, leaving room for mindfulness, and thought on the variety of needs that must be accounted for.
“We began the conversation district-wide last year and into the summer. There is a district diversity and inclusivity committee with administrators, teachers, and parents to discuss what this needs to look like district-wide,” Gamez said.
Plans are in the works on a district scale that are critically considering the diversity of the demographic of students that is ever-growing to this day. Considerations are also responsible by parents of the students and educators that are vocal with the administration for the school.
“During teacher in-service, a couple of our teachers ran a professional development workshop on diversity and inclusivity. Those teachers are also working on building a committee to support diversity/inclusivity on our campus,” Gamez said.
Teachers who have been educated and experienced in developing their teaching style interlocking with inclusivity are in part with the conversation in the school to encourage equity.
“All counselors, administrators, and a few teachers took part in a training called “Speak Up At School” from the Teaching Tolerance group, essentially it is a see something/say something philosophy,” Gamez said.
The Teaching Tolerance group is an anti-biased group that has produced an abundance of accessible resources for teachers and schools to bring up students without any measure of biased prejudices. This tolerance oriented teaching service shared amongst educators of the school is one of the strategies for subtracting biases in the classroom among preconceived notions of the majority.
“I think that the day of service would support the philosophies of thinking outside ourselves and giving back to our community, as well as, seeing life from different perspectives,” Gamez said.
Students have the option to participate in Service Day, in which an entire day is dedicated to community service, usually in many numbers of people.
“There are also many student clubs on campus with a mission to support all students and encourage inclusivity,” Gamez said.
The International Club, Sign Language Club, Spanish Honor Society, UNICEF at DSHS club, and German club, are examples of preexisting opportunities the student body has access to that configures the thought of an open mind, welcoming multicultural, inclusive acceptance and support.
“In everything, a strong sense of empathy, sensitivity, and open-mindedness. A willingness to listen and allow others to be heard,” Gamez said. “I believe any attempt for our school community to grow closer and break down barriers is a success, and I will continue to support and encourage students and staff to find ways to promote inclusivity of all students.”
By Gabby Plasencia, staff writer