On October 11, 2014 at the Robert F. Kennedy Community Schools Campus, more than 15 schools and upwards of 120 students, teachers, parents, and administrators took the time on a Saturday to come together with one common goal: Strengthening school community.
Facing History Los Angeles hosted our 3rd Annual Los Angeles Partnership School Summit on School Culture. In our first year of this summit, we featured the film BULLY and looked at how small steps can make a difference for peers confronting bullying on campus. Last year we considered a short animated film from StoryCorps, Listening Is An Act of Love, to grow beyond just stopping bullying and consider how to build a positive school culture by small acts of compassion. This year, we continued to explore ways to build a stronger community by considering the steps of an "upstander."
As an educator, I've always gotten a little antsy right about now with the anticipation and excitement of a new school year on the horizon. This August brought even more anticipation because my youngest child just started kindergarten. My older two girls are firmly in middle school with their successful navigation of elementary school behind them, but my youngest daughter is just beginning the journey. When I took her for that first day of school, I was surrounded by parents fretting about typical kindergarten concerns. Many gave parting words of advice: Eat all your lunch. Be nice. Listen to your teacher. You'll be okay, I promise! I can relate to all of that of course, but the one real anxiety I have, I don't voice in the kindergarten yard: I hope you aren't caught too off guard when kids ask, "What ARE you?"