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Read what participants in the very first UnityWorks Training Institute have to say...
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The UnityWorks K-12 School Program is designed to educate staff and students about living in a diverse society, to promote culturally-responsive teaching, to increase equity and reduce prejudice, to improve race relations, to close achievement and opportunity gaps, and to encourage positive multicultural change. Check out our website and our new video for details.

Pilot Program Ready to Grow!
 
Our pilot program in Yakima is off to a great start with the completion of the first UnityWorks Training Institute (see details below). This spring, we will move forward with plans to expand to additional cities across Washington State and beyond.  If you are interested in establishing a UnityWorks program in your area, you can download an application form here.  The next training session will be held in Yakima, WA, August 10-14, 2015.
First UnityWorks Training Institute a Complete Success

The excitement was palpable as the first UnityWorks Training Institute ended on Friday, Feb. 6, and the four site teams shared their newly-developed Diversity Action Plans.
Skin color demonstration
The participants were enthusiastic about what they had learned:
 

“I’ve been going to professional development workshops for 25 years,” said one school principal, “and this is by far the best one I’ve ever attended. I’d like our whole staff to have this training.”

“I truly enjoyed the UnityWorks training,” wrote a middle school teacher. “It was eye opening to say the least!” 
 
“It was awesome!” wrote another teacher. “We all grew…and hopefully this new energy can be transferred to our colleagues!”
 
“I wish all my teachers had taken this course,” said another. “I would have had a very different experience in school.”
Stereotyping activity
The 40-hour intensive training covered the following topics:
  • What is Race?
  • Dimensions of Diversity
  • Culture and Communication
  • Stereotypes, Prejudice, Discrimination
  • Color Blindness & Equity vs. Equality
  • Multiple Perspectives in the Curriculum
  • The Power of Language
  • The Achievement Gap
  • Teacher Expectations & Student Achievement
  • Disproportionate Discipline
  • Culturally Responsive Teaching
  • Diversity Challenges at Our School
  • Value of Diversity & Need for Unity
  • Creating a Culture of Inclusion
  • Developing a Diversity Action Plan
Multiple perspectives role play
Principal Victor Nourani explains his team's artistic creation
The Reality of Race
 
When the discussion turned to race, the group was asked: What is race and how many races are there?  The responses included 5, 25, 100, 300, 500, 3500 and 10,000. Only one person answered “one.” At the end of the day, after studying a number of articles on the topic, looking at research from the Human Genome Project, reading quotes from the various world religions, and participating in a number of practical demonstrations, every person left knowing that we come in different shapes, sizes and colors, but there is only one human race. Many said they were eager to share this new understanding with their students.
 
Participants also considered the concept of “colorblindness,” an idea which may be well-intentioned, but which negates the life experiences of people of color. Even if an individual can ignore a person’s skin color, society does not. Noticing color and speaking about race are not forms of racism. However, claiming to be “colorblind,” insisting that “we’re all just human,” and refusing to have those sometimes-difficult conversations—all contribute to the problem.  Better to be “color aware and prejudice free.”
Lego sculpture symbolizing the human race
Integration of the Arts

Towards the end of the training, small groups took turns sharing their highlights from the course through short artistic presentations using sculpture, music, drama, dance and poetry. The Lego construction to the left, created by members from different site teams, symbolizes the human race in all its diversity―held together by the “cord of love.”
Thank You! 
We thank our generous donors for making this first
UnityWorks Training Institute a reality.

 
Save the Date
Our next UnityWorks Training will be held this summer
in Yakima, August 10-14, 2015. Please see our website for details
.
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