The “Who Are We” professional development series was born from a desire to understand diversity at CHS at its core. Carmel High School is made up of thousands of unique individuals whose identities enrich our community every day. Inspired by some insightful teachers, we sought to hear more student voices at Carmel High School. We wondered what personal student needs are there and how we could meet them. The result was a seed of a question: Who are we?
With intersectionality at the heart of our work, we designed a series of voluntary professional development opportunities to meet and learn more about our diverse student population. The series started with a kick-off event in February where a small group of students from a variety of backgrounds and needs shared their experiences within Carmel Clay Schools. Every session we learn more about the LGBTQ+ community; those with cognitive, physical, or learning variabilities; our students from different religions, cultures, and races; our ENL community; students with mental health challenges; and those with varying socio-economic needs.
"Things like the 'Who Are We?' events are incredibly beneficial for both students and teachers. I personally decided to participate because I wanted to share my experiences with my teachers to help them gain a better understanding of what it has been like for me at school," said sophomore Caitlin (they/them). "Students' identities are not often talked about in classrooms so I think it was important that teachers got the opportunity to hear us and learn from us. When we brought the panel up with the members of the Gender-Sexuality Alliance, they were super excited to share their thoughts on what teachers should know, as well as their stories about how they have been treated.
I hope that teachers walked away from the panel thinking about how they can make a difference with their students. I want teachers to be able to learn from their students as well as create a safer environment for them. I think this panel was a step in the right direction to that goal, and I hope we keep this momentum going so we can continue to build a better future for all students."
CHS administration is currently setting up additional audiences with student volunteers through clubs and groups. Any interested students should reach out to their teacher about future participation.