STATE COLLEGE, Pa., March 17, 2017 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- As part of the Wolf Administration's Schools That Teach tour, Education Secretary Pedro A. Rivera visited State College Area High School this week to meet with students and hear their perspectives on the issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion in schools.
"The Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) is committed to helping schools ensure that every learner has access to a world-class education that helps prepare them for success in and out of the classroom," Rivera said. "It is critical that we create a culture of inclusiveness at all schools, where students feel safe, respected, and welcomed. Students can offer valuable input on these topics that shape their daily educational experience and help administrators and policy makers develop resources that will help improve the overall climate of Pennsylvania schools."
The students represented a variety of groups including student government, the Student Senate, the Gay Straight Alliance Club, and the Diversity Club. District superintendent Dr. Robert O'Donnell and high school principal Mr. Curtis Johnson also joined the discussion.
The conversation centered on the importance of student voice and involvement in mobilizing efforts when issues arise that require a change in the school community. Additional discussion centered around the important role teachers can play in promoting a classroom culture that allows for students to share ideas free from judgment or criticism and that student clubs can be a safe place for students to address issues and topics that are important to them while also serving as an effective link between individual students and the administration.
When racially-charged incidents occurred in some schools last November, the Wolf Administration condemned the acts of bigotry and intolerance and releasing a 60-second PSA to promote a message of diversity. PDE also worked quickly to convene a group of stakeholders to solicit their expertise and provided resources to ensure schools' immediate needs were met.
Currently, the Department is preparing a toolkit to provide educators and administrators with a resource to help them prevent, respond to, and recover from bias incidents in their schools.
For more information about Pennsylvania's education policies and programs, visit the Department of Education's website at www.education.pa.gov or follow PDE on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest. A Google Map of all tour stops is available here.
MEDIA CONTACT: Nicole Reigelman, 717-783-9802
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SOURCE Pennsylvania Department of Education