Expose students to different cultures, says presenter in diversity study group

Milford. Attendees also discussed survey questions.

| 10 Jun 2021 | 10:06

Ed Gragert of Delaware Valley Action gave a well-received presentation on ways to expose young people to an abundance of diverse cultures while zeroing in on music, art, civics, math, geography, history, and other subjects.

His presentation was part of the Delaware Valley School District’s Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Committee’s June 7 meeting held on Zoom.

For more information about the International Education and Resource Network (iEARN) Project Book under discussion, visit: iearn.org/pages/iearn-project-book. And here’s the teacher’s guide: iearn.org/assets/resources/32498_iEARN-Teachers-Guide.pdf.

E.K. Guyre, who is running for school board, called these ideas a terrific way to expose young people to other cultures they cannot experience directly in Pike County. “This sounds like an amazing opportunity for the DV district,” she said.

James Campistrous asked how a global vantage point speaks to a local focus on diversity, equity, and inclusiveness.

Dr. Peg Schaffer, the assistant superintendent, who handles human resources and curriculum development, said a state-sponsored diversity program with scientific backing may become part of training at DV starting this fall.

School board member Cory Homer, who coordinates the committee, said he is looking into how other schools do their diversity training.

Meeting participants also discussed the district’s community survey. Karen Puiu said some items were inappropriate, noting that children mature at different rates. Parents need to be more involved, she said. Puiu said the survey angered her because parents weren’t included in creating it.

Kim (last name not given) wanted to know what was inappropriate about the survey. Mark (last name not given) asked, “What was the source of the survey questions?” These questions were not addressed.

Parent Deb (last name not given) said she wanted to see more “moral teaching.” She also said teaching kids about diversity and inclusion should begin at home.

Zoom meetings are held at 6 p.m. on the first Monday of the month, except holidays. The next meeting is tentatively set for July 6. A direct link to the meeting may be found on the district’s website, dvsd.org, as the meeting time approaches.

Homer said study group meetings are not recorded so there’s no way to listen to them after they conclude. “It’s just always been that way,” he said.

Superintendent John Bell moved to review the school’s “policies, procedures, practices, curriculum, instruction and student mental health initiatives” with “input from faculty, staff, students...to help make DV more welcoming and inclusive” in response to community outcry after school board member Dawn Bukaj posted and promoted transphobic comments on social media. The Milford-based TriVersity Center for Gender & Sexual Diversity wrote a letter to the school board in March asking Bukaj for a retraction.

Anyone seeking more information about the diversity study group may email Homer at chomer@dvsd.org.