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Equity Spotlight Award Winner

The Equity Spotlight Award is an award that recognizes students, faculty, staff, student organizations and community partners for their commitment to fostering an inclusive learning environment reflective of our mission, vision, and core values.

April 2021 Equity Spotlight Award Winner


Bloomington High School South staff members nominated by Kate Ratliff, Assistant Principal

    • Gerry Carpenter, teacher’s aide in band

    • William Nicholas, band director

    • Lawrence Williams, physical education teacher

Kate writes, every Wednesday, the team of Carpenter, Nicholas, and Williams spend the first period with the Community-Based students in the band room using music to connect with students and teaching them how to use various percussion instruments.  Mr. Carpenter takes song requests from the student on the keyboard, while Mr. Nicholas and Mr. Williams assist the students. Mr. Williams occasionally picks up some drum sticks to join in. 

Their creative engagement with our students through music is especially appreciated when so many feel disconnected.  Student engagement is what inclusive excellence is all about!

March 2021 Equity Spotlight Award Winner


Kate Ratliff, Assistant Principal at Bloomington High School South, nominated the Asian Culture Club. 
Kate writes, 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 in a time where club meetings are challenging, they continue to get creative and welcome everyone to their virtual events.

February 2021 Equity Spotlight Award Winner


Kristin Poage, principal at Jackson Creek Middle School, nominated the LGBTQIA+ and Allies Club and she acknowledges Jackson Creek Middle School teachers Jessica Courtney, Katie Cox, Joe Donnelly, Ben Haralovich, and Williams Sellers, who serve as the founders and faculty sponsors for the club.
Ms. Poage writes, “These faculty members organized this club to give our students a place where they can build a student community, which provides support to one another and provides education about issues facing LQBTQIA+ students in the school and the community. Through their efforts, JCMS has not only built awareness of LGBTQIA+ students, but they have moved us another step towards being a welcoming and nurturing school where all students have a place to belong, and all students have a voice.

 January 2021 Equity Spotlight Award Winner


Lily Albright, principal at Unionville Elementary School, nominated University Elementary School. 
In her nomination, she wrote:
University Elementary Schools' commitment to equity and inclusion is genuinely inspirational, powerful, and deserving of recognition. The teachers, staff are setting examples observable in the school culture, teaching, and leadership. I am most encouraged by UES’s commitment to examine, reflect, and grow as a diverse learning community. 
University Elementary School Principal Glen Hopkins describes the schools' commitment to equity and inclusion as something beyond welcoming students and families' global population “We must start with ourselves by examining our biases and practices.” Hopkins said, “University’s staff and faculty and PTO are dedicated to meet the needs of our students and families in this ever-changing environment.”

kids snowman


December 2020 Equity Spotlight Award Winner 

julia The Black Culture Club and Julia Puntarelli, Graduation Coach at Bloomington High School South.
Ms. Julia Puntarelli's mission was to connect with students in order to achieve a significant impact on a student’s emotional safety, level of engagement, and, ultimately, academic success.
In addition to her responsibilities as the Graduation Coach, Ms. Puntarelli agreed to work alongside student leaders in reviving the Black Culture Club. The Black Culture Club is a resource and space at South where students feel welcome, connect, and grow.  Ms. Puntarelli and the club's student leaders are actively working to develop relationships with community partners and identify mentors.

November 2020 Equity Spotlight Award Winner 


Robert Jordan, Security Officer at Bloomington High School North is the November Equity Spotlight Award Winner. Mr. Layne Kent stated "Mr. Jordan is someone who takes a genuine interest in the well-being of students. He listens to our students and meets them where they are during their highs and lows." Mr. Jordan uses his community contacts to assist families with all sorts of needs from housing, counseling, and college assistance. Recently, Mr. Jordan learned that a student was not attending virtually, so he visited with the student and their family to encourage this student, who has since not missed. The Jordan’s also served as foster parents to a North student who graduated last year and is currently in college.

 October 2020 Equity Spotlight Award Winner


Rosalie Sherwood is a founding member of the Down Syndrome Family Connection. She described how the DSFC grew from a small group of parents that sought to support other parents and caregivers of children with Down syndrome because they wanted to see the best situation they could for their children within education and beyond. 

October is Down Syndrome Awareness Month, and currently, the DSFC is hosting its 13th annual Buddy Walk—their largest fundraiser and family reunion. Despite being unable to be physically present, the DSFC remains optimistic about new opportunities and open to new possibilities. Their mission is to gain regional recognition as an advocacy- based organization-serving individuals living, learning, and growing with Down syndrome. 

Micah Heath, Principal at Arlington Heights Elementary received the Equity Spotlight Award at the Board of School Trustees meeting on Tuesday, October 27th on behalf of Down Syndrome Family Connection. Mr. Heath is very involved with the Down Syndrome Family Connection group.