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Jan. 30, 2007

Diversity Workshop offered in faculty meeting for first time in six years

by Josie Callahan, Online Features Editor and Copy Editor
Blair's Diversity Workshop is being offered to teachers for the first time in Blair history since 2001 at a faculty meeting on Jan. 29. The workshop is one of 10 activities presented to staff as a segment of this month's faculty meeting.

Diversity Workshop, which is primarily student-run, was brought to Blair in 1998 to serve as an interactive session to address the issues of discrimination and inequality in order to increase understanding and tolerance.

Peace Studies teacher Joann Malone, who first introdced the program nine years ago, says it has been an uphill battle to recruit administrators to offer the workshop to teachers. "We have asked to offer Diversity Workshop to teachers for the past six years with no success," she said. But this year, staff development organizer, Carolyn Johnsen, asked Malone to offer the workshop to teachers in the upcoming meeting.

Johnsen said Diversity Workshop was not included as an option for the quarterly faculty meetings prior to this year because of the length of the workshop. "A usual Diversity Workshop can take four hours, and most teachers cannot devote that amount of time after school to it," she said. To fit the time frame this year, Johnsen and Malone decided to condense the workshop to one hour.

Johnsen, as well as Staff Development Organizer Jennifer Craft, are confident that the workshop will be a positive experience for all teachers. "A workshop like this is important because it makes teachers aware of how to reach every student and help each student achieve and learn at their full potential," Craft said.

Johnsen and Craft plan to continue to include Diversity Workshop in these quarterly faculty meetings, and look forward to the growth of its popularity and involvement. "In the future, we are going to have to offer different levels or stages of the workshop for teachers who have taken it before and those who are attending for the first time," Johnsen said. "The workshop as well as the faculty meetings are evolving, which is very exciting."

Malone said that the workshop will be a rewarding learning experience for the teachers who attend the session and the students who lead it. "The workshop will be a unique opportunity for teachers to hear eye opening stories from students and their colleagues," she said. "Teachers will also get to see that young people are capable of leading sensitive exercises, and most importantly they will have fun and make new friends."

Diversity Workshop will last from 2:15- 3:30p.m. Free refreshments will be served. Other staff activities will include classroom management, professional portfolio, stock investing, turnitin training, monitoring student progress, intermediate webpage design, intermediate power-point, engaging a passive learner and universal streaming videos.




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  • cookie monster on January 30, 2007 at 4:06 PM
    Frankly, I'd rather stab myself in the leg than attend one of those.

    The free refreshments however are a great idea.
  • peace on January 30, 2007 at 5:28 PM
    darn it! i missed it. and cookie don't criticize peoples opinions if u think the world is just peachy the way it is then mind ur business because for some diversity is important and that is the only place u can say what is on ur mind without being judged.
  • john lorenz (View Email) on February 6, 2007 at 4:05 PM
    I am th eprincipal of Ridgewood High School in Ridgewood N.J. and I am interested in talking to someone about this workshop. Thanks,Jack
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