Diversity and Inclusion themes are woven throughout the curriculum at all three levels. A few examples include:
Excursion and Immersion Topics
Social Justice and Tourism
During this excursion experience, students connect with the wealth of cultural resources related to social justice, racial justice, and global perspectives with an emphasis on how visitors perceive the City of Atlanta.They tour the King Center, the Human and Civil Rights Museum, and the Mexican Consulate to gain an increased awareness of current issues in the struggle for social justice as well as Atlanta’s role in sparking conversation about justice and equality. They use this information to develop a marketing campaign to promote tourism for Atlanta using social justice and civil rights as the draw.
The intersection of Art and Social Justice
Students explore the role that art can play in illuminating and re-contextualizing social issues. The City of Atlanta serves as the research site for examples of “separate but equal,” starting with the glaring examples of the original uses of Galloway’s Gresham Building and the Chastain Arts Center.Students conduct research at the Atlanta History Center, looking at examples of artists who used their work as a vehicle to reflect on social and political issues of their time.
Cultural Diversity within Atlanta
Students go off campus for a deliberate investigation of African, Asian, and Latino cultures through experiences with supermarkets, flea markets, and cultural/learning centers located in the Buford Highway corridor and Clarkston.
Upper Learning students spend a week setting up an apartment for a newly-arriving refugee family, help with the Family Literacy Project with mothers and preschool-aged children, work in the Jolly Avenue refugee garden, and collaborate with Communicycle at the Clarkston Community Center to provide bicycles to refugees for transportation.
As part of the Immersion experience called Culture and Religion Beyond our Walls: Sparking Curiosity, students view five major religions from a historical, cultural and philosophical perspective. Sixth-graders explore Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam and Judaism, all of which sixth graders encounter in the Ancient History curriculum. During the week, students get a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to tour corresponding houses of worship throughout Atlanta. Additionally, students learn about religious/cultural music, dance, food, and the artistry of symbols. The goal is for students come away with a deeper understanding of the concepts of culture and religion, an awareness of various religious and cultural beliefs, and an appreciation for individuality of spirituality.
Leadership and Service
Middle Learning students are exposed to different types of service as they rotate through a variety of meaningful opportunities during their Immersion experience. Students spend time in Clarkston, Georgia, working with refugee children from 40 different countries. They help the children with classes and homework. They have the honor of serving breakfast to people who live much of their lives in the margins. Eighth-graders also have the opportunity to visit the birth home of Martin Luther King Jr., as well as the National Historic Site dedicated to preserving his legacy. In a documentary about his life, he eloquently stated: "When I die, I …want to be remembered for dedicating my life to the service of others." The students not only understand his importance as a result of this excursion, but how fortunate we are to live in a city so rich with history.
Students read books and essays across the curriculum, which challenge them to examine their perspectives on the world by seeing things through the eyes of another. Some examples are: Just Walk on By: Black Men and Public Space, which reflects on issues related to race, gender, stereotype, and discrimination; Tangerine explores racial and socioeconomic stereotypes and how communities differ; Every Single Second highlights racial divide through the evolving lens of a 12-year old Caucasian girl living in Little Italy; Letter from a Birmingham Jail in which Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. defends the strategy of nonviolent resistance to racism; and A Long Walk to Water, which tells a story of refugees in search for their families and for a safe place to stay.
Civil Rights Dinner Party -- As part of their study of the Civil Rights Movement in America, social studies students research key figures of the Movement, and then they pose as their key figures and throw a “dinner party” to learn about each other’s accomplishments.
As a culminating project in geography, students select a human right to examine in detail as it pertains to a particular country and demographic group.Students then prepare a "UN Brief" that they present to their peers who use it to help decide which cause/organization the class will support with money that they raise.Last year, students raised $300 to contribute to the Women and Children Watch Initiative, a NGO that is committed to preventing, eliminating, and providing lasting solutions to gender violence.
Biology classes include AIDS projects that look at global and local issues concerning who contracts AIDS, who has access to medicines, and the subsequent impact on LGBTQ communities, etc. The same inquiry is applied to the study of diseases like rabies, sickle cell anemia, malaria, etc.