I’m just back from my ISACS Accreditation Team visit to Baker Demonstration School, a Preschool – 8th grade Progressive school north of Chicago (right next to Northwestern University). It is always fascinating to delve into another school’s philosophies and practices for a few days (and the little ones were cute, though really I missed my teenagers). The ISACS accreditation process, which as many of you know, we go through every seven years, is a rich one. Last year, we hosted an Accreditation Team here, and that group produced a Visiting Team Report with commendations and recommendations in every area that we will work on and report back to ISACS on in the next few years.
One area of focus for us this year is the diversity in our curriculum, and that is what the faculty spent their time on this past Wednesday afternoon. First, history teacher Trent Apple and Goshen librarian Lindsy Serrano shared a presentation about their summer trip to India, sponsored by the Henrion Grant (awarded to a faculty member each year for travel). Then, faculty gathered in departmental groups JK – 12th grade to begin a dive into how diversity – in all forms – is represented in the SFS curriculum and classrooms. We’re using some questions and standards from Teaching Tolerance to examine carefully what we teach, how we teach it, what opportunities we provide, and more.
Today was our final Community Service day for the fall semester, and this afternoon’s paired activity was the first half of what we call Cultural Day. Each year, we have two Cultural Day afternoons, centered around themes. The 9th grade’s is media, the 10th grade has the arts, the 11th grade focuses on the legal/justice system, and the 12th grade looks at transition to college and life. Today’s adventures included stops at the Center for Investigative Reporting (9th), the Brown Theatre (10th), and District Court (11th), plus some dialogue around car maintenance, how to talk to professors, and more (12th). We will have three additional Community Service days in the spring semester!