Middle School Diversity Engagement
The Germantown Academy Middle School expects its students to honor the Civility Pledge and be outstanding citizens. Building on the curricular projects of Lower School, GA’s Middle School engages conversations about difference and diversity through:
Annual Middle School community reads such as Wonder, by R.J. Palacio, Notes from the Midnight Driver, by Jordan Sonnenblick, and Counting by 7s, by Holly Goldberg Sloan, allow faculty and students to begin each year with thoughtful and meaningful conversations about how individuals bring their own identity and diverse experiences with them to GA.
The building blocks of welcoming communities are relationships. Strong relationships, both peer-to-peer and student-teacher, are the foundation of GA’s Middle School. Important relationship-building work is done through the advisory program, in the classroom, and through a version of the Restorative Practices disciplinary process.
We embolden our Middle Schoolers to become independent in thought, confident in expression, compassionate in spirit, collaborative in action, and honorable in deed through all-school assemblies, clubs, class-trips, special days, a comprehensive Health & Wellness program, and our classrooms. Assemblies have included presentations by Dr. Michael Fowlin, Marc Elliot and Emily Bazelon.
Students Taking Action for Respect (STAR) is a student club that seeks to promote conversation and activities about the school's role vis à vis diversity and difference. It ties together the individual strands of diversity efforts mentioned above and allows for a space where students engage their school and school culture purposefully and intentionally. They are currently working on a proposal for a system that promotes GA's mission in everyday behaviors within the student body as well as a student-led reboot of Mix-It-Up Day.
Mikal-Michele L. '18 was one of 11 middle school students and 5 faculty who participated in the Philadelphia Multicultural Resource Center’s third annual Middle School Diversity Conference at The Haverford School. While the theme of the conference was activism, for Mikal-Michele, it was much more:
“When I thought about diversity I always pictured a classroom filled with a bunch of kids with different skin tones. I thought diversity was just something physical. Little did I know that there were all different examples of diversity. Diversity in the mind. Diversity in the classroom. Diversity in the soul. Whether we all know it or not, we are all diverse. None of us are the same. We don’t look the same, we don’t talk the same, and none of us think the same….the main thing [at the conference] that really touched me were the stories, and I wouldn’t trade this experience for anything.”