Students and staff at Silverton High School have been taking extra steps to promote kindness and respect in the weeks following the recent election. Their goal is to make sure that every student feels safe, welcome and accepted at school at all times.
“Since the election, we’ve been talking more about who we are and what kind of school community we want to be,” said SHS Principal Justin Lieuallen. “In addition to student assemblies and staff trainings, we’ve been working every day to enhance our culture of unity and acceptance.”
One way the students have been sharing their beliefs and values is through the creation of posters and digital messages about character, courage, kindness and celebrating diversity and differences.
“We want students to feel empowered to share their thoughts, beliefs, and opinions in respectful ways. This is a great example of how it’s happening.”
According to Lieuallen, SHS students and families are stepping up to challenge.
“I have received several emails and phone calls from students, parents and community members who have expressed an appreciation for our efforts to address matters of harassment, bullying and intimidation, but we realize this is not a one and done response. We are also looking at long range plans that will further strengthen the connection of all students and families to the high school and community,” said Lieuallen.
Some of the efforts underway to build community at the high school include:
- working to ensure students are involved in at least one club, sport or activity;
- establishing equity-based focus groups led by trained staff members; and
- increasing the cultural relevance across curriculum.
The SHS team is also planning to promote a Latino Parent Club that will partner with school leaders to address the education needs of Latino families.
“We want to make sure that all families have a voice and feel connected to our school,” said Lieuallen, who added that the district is continually striving to hire staff members who are both highly qualified and represent the demographic of the school.