• Continuing the Conversation at Home

    Information and Discussion Starters for Families on SHS Diversity & Inclusion Lessons Fingerprints in green-blue-black We Are All SC celebrating diversity

     

    Academic Shaming

    November 18, 2021

    Dear Solon High School Families,

    Today, your child participated in the first Diversity, Equity and Inclusion activity of the year, which was shared with you earlier this month. 

    The conversation centered around ways to mitigate academic shaming and how academic shaming impacts our students’ mental health.

    As you continue the conversation at home tonight, ask your child to reflect on the discussion today and share with you any struggles they may be having.

    Please remind your child that the adults in their life at school and at home are here to support them.

    With scheduling right around the corner, please keep today’s discussion in mind and reinforce with your child the importance of balance when selecting their courses. As always, if you have any concerns, please contact your child’s teachers, counselor or an administrator.

     

    November 5, 2021

    Solon High School Families,

    As we prepare for our first Diversity/Equity/Inclusion activity of the year, we wanted to share with you the information our students will be discussing. The activity will take place during an extended 2nd period on Thursday, November 18.  

    This activity addresses Academic Shaming, which was identified as one of the most concerning areas cited by students who responded to our May 2021 DEI feedback survey. The activity was developed by a volunteer sub-committee of the larger SHS student DEI committee. We also incorporated feedback we received from the full student DEI committee, our PTA DEI volunteer parent committee, the high school administration and the superintendent and Board of Education. 

    As you review the activity outlined in the linked PowerPoint below, please consider the following: 

    LINK TO Solon High School DEI Activity on Academic Shaming

    • Academic Shaming continues to be a significant  area of concern for our students.  
    • Additionally, our students have identified mental health as an overarching concern, which mirrors national data. This activity includes ways students and adults can simultaneously address mental health and mitigate academic shaming at SHS.
    • The activity includes just a few examples from students and parents about how Academic Shaming manifests at SHS. Our classroom discussions will certainly generate more.  
    • Our goal is to create an environment at SHS where all students feel valued and safe.  We believe it is important to discuss Academic Shaming to ease some of the stress our students feel regarding their academic classes and performance while engaging in the extra-curricular activities they enjoy, holding a job and/or participating in philanthropic community service projects. 

    Our counseling department has put together numerous resources to help students and parents navigate the stressors of academic pressure, which can be found by visiting the following link: School Counseling / School Counseling Home.

    On the 18th, we will send you optional conversation starters so if you choose you can continue the dialogue your child started in school.

    If you do not want your child to participate in this activity, please complete the Academic Shaming Activity Opt-Out Form by November 15, 2021.

     

    Race & Ethnicity: Understanding the Difference and Learning from Personal Experiences

    May 18, 2021

    Dear Solon High School Families,

    Tomorrow, all Solon High School students will participate in our seventh and final Diversity, Equity and Inclusion lesson of the year. The goals of tomorrow’s lesson are to understand the meaning of xenophobia and how it differs from racism, to examine historical incidents of xenophobia, to examine how xenophobia and racism can lead to hate crimes, to understand what constitutes a hate crime, to engage in open and honest dialogue and to listen to and respect the experiences of others.

    The lesson includes information on and discussion of the characteristics of xenophobia, examples of xenophobia in America and throughout the world, information and discussion on hate crimes, a video sharing a victim impact statement on hate crimes, and information and discussion on the United States as a nation of immigrants.

    At the conclusion of the lesson, teachers will again collect ideas from students on actions we can take as individuals and as a collective unit at Solon High School to work to combat xenophobia in our school community. We will share these ideas and resources in the coming days on the Diversity and Inclusion page on the website at https://www.solonschools.org/Page/4964 (SHS homepage under the About Us tab).

    Please take time tomorrow to talk to your students about the lesson. The only way we can create a more welcoming environment in our community and in our schools is by all of us working together, both at home and in the classroom. Below please find suggested questions to ask your children to help start a discussion in your home:

    • Why is it important to be aware of the history of xenophobia?
    • Did your class discuss any examples of xenophobia that surprised you?
    • In what way do you better understand the negative impacts of xenophobia?
    • What one thing struck you the most about your discussion today?

     

    April 30, 2021

    Today, all Solon High School students participated in our sixth Diversity, Equity and Inclusion lesson of the year. The goals of today’s lesson were to understand the differences between race and ethnicity, to engage in open and honest conversations on race and to learn from other’s experiences. 

    The lesson included vignettes of SHS staff members sharing their personal experiences, an individual, self-reflective journaling activity, and discussion exploring topics such as the four dimensions of racism (internalized, interpersonal, institutional and systemic), the racial and ethnic breakdown of SHS, current news headlines, and how racism affects all individuals of color.

    At the conclusion of the lesson, teachers collected ideas from students on actions we can take as individuals and as a collective unit at Solon High School to work to combat racism in our school community. We will share these ideas and resources in the coming weeks on the Diversity and Inclusion page on the website at https://www.solonschools.org/Page/4964 (SHS homepage under the About Us tab).

    Please take time to talk to your students about the important dialogue they participated in today. The only way we can create a more welcoming environment in our community and in our schools is by all of us working together, both at home and in the classroom. Below please find suggested questions to ask your children to help start a discussion in your home:

    • How were you impacted by the shared teacher experiences?
    • What experiences that your peers shared surprised you or had an impact on you?
    • In what way do you better understand what racism is after this discussion?
    • What did you learn about how race differs from ethnicity?
    • What have you seen that gives you hope about improved race relations at SHS and/or in the country?

     

    Ableism: Not All Differences and Disabilities Are Easily Seen 

    February 24, 2021

    Today, all Solon High School students participated in our fifth PTA Diversity and Inclusion lesson of the year. The goal of today’s lesson was to help students better understand the definition of ableism, gain an understanding of the various disabilities that affect people, identify derogatory terminology and how these words lead to stereotyping and discrimination and to determine actionable steps we can all take to create a more inclusive environment for all students at SHS. 

    In addition to participating in an immersion activity about the effects of disabilities, the students viewed a presentation that covered topics such as types of disabilities (visible and invisible), explored the commonalities we all share at SHS, and examined ways students can get involved at SHS to make a difference by viewing testimonial videos from student peer leaders and staff members.

    At the conclusion of the lesson, teachers collected ideas from students on actions we can take as individuals and as a collective unit at Solon High School to work to combat ableism at SHS. We will share these ideas and resources with you in the coming weeks on the PTA Diversity and Inclusion page on the website at https://www.solonschools.org/Page/4964 (SHS homepage under the About Us tab).

    Please take the time to talk to your students about the important dialogue they participated in today. The only way we can create a more welcoming environment in our community and in our schools is by all of us working together, both at home and in the classroom. Below please find suggested questions to ask your children to help start a discussion in your home:

    • What impact did today’s immersion activity have on you?
    • What did you learn about the impact of words as it relates to ableism?
    • What are some of the ways you could get involved with your peers at SHS to make a difference?
    • In addition to the use of derogatory language, what are some of the other ways ableism occurs at SHS an in society in general?

     

    Body Image: The Mirror of Social Media is Not a Full Reflection of Who We Are 

    January 28, 2021

    Today, all Solon High School students participated in our fourth PTA Diversity and Inclusion lesson of the year. The goal of today’s lesson was to help students better understand how media impacts how we feel about our bodies, the outside influences that affect our body image, how these influences lead to discrimination and stereotyping, and what we can do to mitigate the negativity that surrounds body image.  According to our student body survey in the fall of 2019, 38% of SHS students have experienced discrimination based on their height and/or weight.  This was the 2nd highest area of discrimination as reported by our student body.

    In addition to completing a self-reflection activity about how we see others and ourselves, the students viewed a presentation that covered topics such as social media usage and how the use of social media filters and photoshopping apps affect body image. Each class then held a discussion about body shaming they have witnessed or experienced and how stereotypes about body image can lead to discrimination, eating disorders, etc.  Resources were shared with students on how to seek personal assistance and how to support their friends. 

    At the conclusion of the lesson, teachers collected ideas from students on actionable steps we can take as individuals and as a collective unit at Solon High School to work to combat the body image discrimination and stereotypes that occur in our midst and improve our culture at SHS. We will share these ideas and resources with you in the coming weeks on the PTA Diversity and Inclusion page on the website at https://www.solonschools.org/Page/4964 (SHS homepage under the About Us tab).

    Please take the time to talk to your students about the important dialogue they participated in today. The only way we can create a more welcoming environment in our community and in our schools is by all of us working together, both at home and in the classroom. Below please find suggested questions to ask your children to help start a discussion in your home:

    • How did today’s lesson shed light on your personal social media use?
    • How many of the images that you see on social media do you think are photoshopped?
    • How often do you use social media filters and why do you think you need to use them?
    • How have you witnessed body shaming at school, in social settings, in the community?

     

    Building Bridges: Honoring and Respecting Religious Differences 

    December 4, 2020

    Today, all Solon High School students participated in our third PTA Diversity and Inclusion lesson of the year. The goal of today’s lesson was to make students more aware of the religious diversity at Solon High School, understand how our religious diversity adds value to our school and understand how to identify religious discrimination and stereotyping.  In addition to sharing statistics on the religious background of our student body and the United States (see below), students were also presented with testimonials of religious discrimination and stereotypes their fellow SHS students have encountered throughout their lives. 

    2019 US Religion Statistics                              2019 SHS Religion Statistics

    (source – Pew Research)                                 (source – 2019 student survey)

    Christian – 65%                                                 Christian – 46.3%

    Atheist/Agnostic/No Religion – 26%                    Atheist/Agnostic/No Religion – 20.6%

    Jewish – 2%                                                      Jewish – 18.3%

    Muslim – 1%                                                     Muslim – 2.7%

    Buddhist – 1%                                                  Buddhist - .5%

    Hindu – 1%                                                      Hindu – 7.4%

    Other Faiths – 3%                                             Other Faiths – 3.7%

    No Answer – 1%                                               No Answer - .5%

    Please take the time to talk to your students about this important dialogue. The only way we can create a more welcoming environment in our community and in our schools is by all of us working together, both at home and in the classroom. Suggested conversation starters for at-home discussions:

    1. Ask your child about a time he/she has witnessed religious discrimination or stereotyping in the school or the community.
    2. What stood out to you about the comparison date between SHS and the United States?
    3. Have you ever hid your religious beliefs because you were afraid of discrimination?
    4. How did the student testimonials make you feel?

    Solon High School PTA Diversity and Inclusion Lesson Religious Discrimination

    Boxes & Labels: Unpacking the Discrimination and Privilege of Classism

    October 30, 2020

    Today, all Solon High School students participated in our second PTA Diversity and Inclusion lesson of the year. The goal of today’s lesson was to examine how classism exists at Solon High School and how we, as individuals and as a collective, can work to address it. Specifically, we asked our students and staff to consider the labels we use to identify ourselves and others, and the boxes in which we put ourselves and each other. Students also discussed the stereotypes they use to identify individuals based on the groups they are a part of or the classes they take, and how these labels/boxes lead to discrimination of some and privilege for others.

    We also shared pertinent data from last year’s survey with our student body. The number one area of discrimination as identified by the student body was Academic Classes and Achievement. 41.8% of our student body has experienced DISCRIMINATION in this area.

    At the conclusion of the lesson, teachers collected ideas from students on actionable steps we can take as individuals and as a collective unit at Solon High School to work to combat the classism that occurs in our midst and improve our culture at SHS. 

    Please take the time to talk to your students about the important dialogue they participated in today. The only way we can create a more welcoming environment in our community and in our schools is by all of us working together, both at home and in the classroom. Below please find suggested questions to ask your children to help start a discussion in your home:

    1. What labels do you see being used at SHS?
    2. How does the box you put yourself in or others put you in contribute to your sense of value at SHS?
    3. Have you ever not taken a class because you felt it didn’t match the box you put yourself in?  Why?
    4. How do the labels used at SHS lead to shaming of individuals or groups of students at SHS?

    Building Common Understanding: Definitions of Discrimination, Bias, Stereotype, Prejudice

    September 30, 2020

    Today, all Solon High School students participated in an interactive lesson and discussion on diversity and inclusion. This is the first PTA Diversity & Inclusion lesson of the 2020-21 school year and continues the work we began last year to examine and improve our culture and climate at Solon High School.

    The purpose of today’s lesson was to establish a common understanding of the terms discrimination, stereotyping, racism and prejudice, laying the groundwork for six to eight upcoming lessons we will be conducting throughout the remainder of the year.  

    During the discussion, students were given an opportunity to analyze situations they might witness or experience and then engage in meaningful conversations with their classmates and teachers.

    Please take the time to talk to your students about the important dialogue they participated in today. This is work we all must do together, even if it means stepping outside of our comfort zone from time to time. It is our hope that this will deepen communications between families and our school community so that we ALL can be agents for change.

    Words and Actions Always Matter

    February 20, 2020

    Earlier this year, we shared with you the first steps for the work of our school’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee. Since then, more than 1,400 of our SHS students took the anonymous Climate Survey to provide important feedback about student attitudes and perceptions of the educational environment here at SHS. Additionally, our parent and staff Diversity and Inclusion Committee has met several times to review the data gleaned from the survey and begin outlining our next steps.

    Today, during second period classes, our students and staff embarked on the critical work of addressing the challenges revealed in the Climate Survey. Students viewed a presentation created by committee members sharing statistics and individual stories about how students in our school are at times hurtful and not accepting of one another based on their academic ability, socio-economic status, race, religion, ethnicity, gender and gender identity, and sexual orientation, among others. The video challenged students to realize that their words and actions always matter – whether it is in person or online.

    Following the presentation, students engaged in discussions examining ways they may have been unkind in the past or how they stepped up to support a friend or peer experiencing discrimination or cruelty. Moving forward, our committee is developing monthly activities for our students and staff to deepen the dialogue and realize meaningful results in improving our school culture for every student every day.

    We encourage you to continue this discussion at home. At the bottom of this message are a few questions to help you start the dialogue. We are also providing links to several articles that help provide perspective on issues facing students and families today. We will send similar articles to you regularly and keep an archive on the SHS counseling web page.

    Thank you for your partnership as we work to positively shape our SC culture and support every one of our SHS students.

    Conversation Starters:

    • Have you ever heard derogatory comments in your peer group and how did you intervene? Did you let it pass?  Did you stand up? Why do you think you responded the way you did?
    • When have you stood up for someone who was discriminated against?
    • Have there been times that your actions or words could have been or were interpreted as discriminatory?
    • What can we do here at home to support you more? Are there ways in which we are adding to your stress?