Equity Spotlight Award Recipients
2020 – 2021 Equity Spotlight Award Recipients
University Elementary School Parent Teacher Organization, Community Partner
Since 2020 The University Elementary School Parent Teacher Organization and University Elementary School Staff have dedicated their time and efforts to increasing equity and inclusion for students, families, and staff members. The University PTO has worked with University Elementary School staff to increase their knowledge of implicit biases and identify barriers to improve access for students and families. They are committed to developing and promoting an explicitly antiracist culture by intentionally welcoming, supporting, and affirming diverse voices within the PTO. They created the Welcome Table from Dinorah Sapp and the William Winter Institute in Mississippi to promote racial reconciliation and civic renewal. The University Elementary School PTO is developing the Welcome Table to be inclusive of international families at UES. The Welcome Table has indeed been an initiative dedicated to building bridges among our community.
Gerry Carpenter, Will Nicholas, and Larry Williams, Bloomington High School South
Each Wednesday, Will Nicholas, Gerry Carpenter, and Larry Williams spend the first period with the Community-Based students in the band room. Mr. Nicholas, the band director, and Mr. Carpenter, the band-aide, teach the students to use various percussion instruments. Each student has a moment to shine on the drum set. Mr. Carpenter plays different song requests on the keyboard while Mr. Nicholas and Mr. Williams help teach the students rhythm. Mr. Williams, the Adapted P.E. teacher, circulates the room and assists students as songs change. He even picks up some drum sticks himself from time to time. The students become energized, engaged, and proud. This class each Wednesday was born from an effort to continue to creatively engage students in a year that has made some feel disconnected.
Asian Culture Club, Bloomington High School South
The Asian Culture Club has not let the pandemic and requirement of virtual meetings get in their way this year. Mr. Paul Barnhart, a Math teacher at BHSS and faculty sponsor, has provided so many opportunities for the students to meet virtually and engage in activities that the students choose. They have watched movies, studied and practiced art, and have conversed about their shared love and appreciation for Asian Culture. The group is expanding, and when club meetings are challenging, they continue to get creative and welcome everyone to their virtual events.
LGBTQIA+ & Allies Club, Jackson Creek Middle School
Ms. Courtney, Mr. Sellers, Ms. Cox, Mr. Haralovich, and Mr. Donnelly are the founders and faculty sponsors for the Jackson Creek Middle School LGBTQIA+ and Allies Club. The club provides JCMS students a space to build a student community, which provides support to one another and provides education about issues facing LQBTQIA+ students in the school and community. The Club has helped welcome, nurture, and increase the awareness of LGBTQIA+ students and their voices.
University Elementary School (UES)
University Elementary Schools' commitment to equity and inclusion is genuinely inspirational, powerful, and deserving recognition. The teachers, staff, are setting examples observable in the school culture, teaching, and leadership. UES’s commitment to examine, reflect, and grow as a diverse learning community. “UES staff and faculty and PTO are dedicated to meet the needs of our students and families in this ever-changing environment.” Principal Glen Hopkins describes the schools' commitment to equity and inclusion as actions that begin internally. “We must start with ourselves by examining our biases and practices.”
2019 – 2020 Equity Spotlight Award Recipients
Julia Puntarelli & The Black Culture Club, Bloomington High School South
Ms. Puntarelli is a new graduation coach at South. In her first year, she connected immediately with students and became interested in reviving the Black Culture Club. The student leaders approached her with interest to lead the club, and she has worked to bring in some mentors and community partners. Ms. Puntarelli and the student leaders are actively working to create an organization in which all students feel welcome and feel that they can connect and grow. When the connection is often hard to foster, the Black Culture Club is actively seeking to be a resource for Black students at BHSS.
Robert Jordan, Bloomington High School North
Mr. Jordan serves as a Security Guard for Bloomington North High School. However, what he does for our students, families, and fellow staff members go beyond the scope of his job responsibilities. Aside from sharing a great love of shoes with his student and a warming and inviting personality to all who enter the North's door, Robert is a great communicator and motivator of young people. He listens to students and meets them where they are during their highs and lows. Mr. Jordan enhances the learning environment at North because he listens to students with his heart. His actions are why so many students feel supported.
The Down Syndrome Family Connection (DSFC), Community Partner
The DSFC is currently in its 13th year of supporting parents and caregivers of children with Down syndrome. They remain dedicated to building and sustaining a learning environment and building relationships with community partners to provide special needs students opportunities as they transition to independence. The DSFC has worked alongside the MCCSC, Community Transitions Coordinator Jennifer Robinson, and Special Education Coordinator Melinda Bunger to coordinate annual resource fairs. The fairs assist students seeking independence with information about community-based resources and post-secondary education opportunities. The DSFC’s mission is to gain regional recognition as an advocacy-based organization serving individuals living, learning, and growing with Down syndrome. We are proud to spotlight their efforts and energy!
Maria Evans, Bloomington High School South
Evans is an 11th-grader who advocates for a welcoming, embracing and nurturing school environment. Maria plays an active role in the Community Leadership Building group. She is an active participant in the Real Talk Critical Discussion Series. Maria provides input about impacting school culture and is always inclusive of students of all races, genders, sexualities, etc. She does not seek attention through this work, and she is a strong example for her peers.
Montee Simonton Jr., University Elementary School
Monte Simonton Jr. has dedicated himself to building relationships with UES students. Montee conducted programs and activities for Bullying Prevention Month. UES staff members commented that it was so beautiful to see all grades participate. Many teachers said it was the highest level of participation for the school. In past years, University Bullying Prevention Month had not included younger students. Monte's engagement with all students and his ability to positively serve the University Elementary School students is a clear demonstration of his commitment to being culturally aware.
Jovoni Moore & Xavier Moore, University Elementary School
The Moore Brothers created the first-ever Hispanic Heritage Month exhibit for University Elementary to commemorate 2019 Hispanic Heritage Month. The brothers wanted to connect more with their Hispanic heritage and create a learning opportunity, building a sense of community for other Latino students at the school. To make the exhibit, they did unassigned reading, research, and inquiry, including an attended Latina Civil Rights Activist, Dolores Huerta, lecture on the IU Campus.
Rachel Allanson, Unionville Elementary School
Rachel is a 6th-grade teacher at Unionville who infuses her curriculum and classroom environment with inclusive activities that advocate for equality and encourage social justice. She works hard to make her classroom a place where everyone feels safe and seen. Rachel sends personal welcome letters to students before the school year starts; she sends personal letters to students throughout the year and students after their last day. Rachel uses Teaching Tolerance's "Hard History" with students - engages students in courageous conversations about social justice - introduces students to primary sources from the Civil Rights Movement - used a graffiti board strategy to engage students in reflecting on terms such as privilege, microaggression, equality, and civil rights. Rachel encourages students to think about their role in making their world a better place
Angela Cannon, Bloomington High School North
Angela Cannon educates and empowers students of color to pursue personal excellence and create an equitable environment for all students at BHSN in the club she sponsors. Cannon focused on efforts to make students of color feel welcome and have leadership opportunities at BHSN. “There have been many students who otherwise would have been disengaged and unmotivated about participating in extracurricular activities at BHSN.” I have seen them become active participants and leaders of the BHSN Civil Rights Club and Sistas Who Care,” stated Cannon. She encourages the students to believe in themselves and help foster change in our community. Her heart and passion are evident to students, families, and faculty. Angela motivates all of us to do better by believing we can.
The Community Leadership Building Club, Bloomington High School South
The Community Leadership Building club at Bloomington South is committed to anti-bias. They host a Cafeteria Mix-It-Up event each year during all of the lunches and invite all students. The students share ideas and work together to bring these activities and movements to life. They encourage students to meet new people and hear the stories of those around them. With each initiative, the students of CLB work to honor the diversity and stories that makeup Bloomington South.
The Kindness Campaign (Kara Cheslock and Marla Rademachir), Batchelor Middle School
Kara and Marla developed a "Kindness Campaign" in Batchelor Middle School. The campaign involves students taking active roles in fostering an inclusive environment for all students. Students post notes on the lockers of their fellow students who perform kind acts in school; The Kindness Campaign sponsors movies shown during the advisory period themed on kindness. Recently, The Kindness Campaign hosted "Mix it Up Day”— an activity that requires students to lead discussions and activities that encourage building relationships and empathy.