Creating a Sense of Belonging for All
The Avonworth School district is committeed to ensuring that our schools are places of belonging for all members of our school community. In order for every child to reach their full potential, their learning environment, activities, and experieences need to ensure that they are nurtured, valued, and have a voice.
The School District has focused its efforts to create and maintain an environment where all belong in the following areas.
Attracting and retaining a diverse staff is extremely important. Students from diverse backgrounds need to see reflections of themselves in the adults with whom they interact. Likewise, it is just as important for white students to develop meaningful school relationships with adults of color. The faculty and staff at Avonworth include representation from African-American, Asian, Hispanic, and Middle Eastern descent and is one of the most diverse in the western Pennsylvania region.
Having a curriculum that is representative of a diverse world and multiple perspectives is imperative in order for children to learn and grow to become productive members of their communities. The Avonworth School District evaluates curriculum for cultural responsiveness through the curriculum review and evaluation process. Social studies curricula are written to encourage meaningful conversations and examination of multiple perspectives. Teachers implement projects to build awareness of bias, discrimination, and the value of inclusiveness. The English Language Arts canon offers a diverse list of authors and perspectives of themes and cultures. A class titled Race, Class, Gender was added to the High School course list in 2018.
Avonworth Primary Center partners with Easter Seals of Western PA to annually host “Building Disability Awareness” for our Kindergarten learners. This interactive program promotes awareness through hands-on activities with adaptive materials and specialized equipment. Students explore physical disabilities by learning about and trying equipment. First and Second graders participate in “Kids on the Block” tolerance and diversity puppet show provided by The Children’s Institute. This program teaches students about Cerebral Palsy, Hearing/Vision Impairments, Asthma, Spina Bifida, and Down Syndrome. Following the puppet show, students are encouraged to ask questions and interact with the cast to learn more about the content presented. Additionally, The Chiudlren's Institute provides teachers with supplemental materials to use with students throughout the year.
The Avonworth School District has engaged its professional employees in professional learning with Herring Seminars to build a more equitable and inclusive environment. Further, the Avonworth School District includes professional learning on unconscious bias in its induction program for all new teachers. Staff have also participated in training through the Mentor Partnership of Southwest Pennsylvania and Mental Health First AidMental Health First Aid
Avonworth School District supports a school culture that encourages kindness and belonging through programming such as #bethekindkid. Avonworth also has a student advisory group and diversity and inclusion committee because we value student and community voice. The District also supports a number of student clubs such as the Social Justice Club, and Gay-Straight Alliance, and the Unified Club.
The High School supports a Unified Sports Indoor Bocce team. This program, sponsored by Special Olympics, promotes a message of inclusiveness and belonging.