|Program:||PRIDE -- Power Represented by Individuals who value Diversity and Equality, Philadelphia, PA|
|Contact(s):||Jerry Clark: (215) 886-4350|
|Purpose:|| To discuss and process issues relating to race and ethnicity |
Abington Friends School is a co-ed, K-12 day school under the auspices of the Abington Monthly Meeting, a constituent of the Religious Society of Friends (Quaker). It is located in suburban Philadelphia. Of the 240 students in the Upper School, approximately 15% are students of color. The Quaker philosophy of the school mandates sensitivity to all races and religions, as well as a commitment to nonviolent resolution of conflict. Until about five years ago, however, the school lacked a mechanism for high school students to discuss and process issues relating to race and ethnicity. In 1992, two young African American women sought out a teacher who would sponsor a group that would create a forum for discussions on race, education in conflict resolution, and celebration of the variety of cultural traditions students bring to the community. The idea was immediately embraced by a large number of students in the community, who dubbed the group "PRIDE." Today, more than a third of the Upper School student body participates in the planning and implementation of activities sponsored by PRIDE.
Focused luncheons bring together students to discuss particular issues such as the Million Man March, the role of youth in improving race relations, affirmative action, and how to break down in the school community. Cultural celebrations such as Black History Month, Chinese New Year, International Day, Harvest Festival and Winterfest honor cultural diversity and create a sense of familiarity with cultures that seem on the surface to have little in common. Service Learning Projects, such as participation in the Greater Philadelphia High School Partnership Program and the establishment of a mentoring program with a predominantly Latino elementary school in Philadelphia, foster a sense of responsibility to the wider community as well as a deeper understanding of the social causes of racial discord.
Outcomes and Significant Accomplishments
PRIDE has had a direct impact on the broader school community. An All-School Committee on Diversity has been formed, consisting of administrators, faculty, parents and students, to promote equity and diversity. A Director of Diversity and an Associate Director have been hired to ensure that all curriculum and policy decisions take into account the educational benefits of maintaining a diverse student body. Curricula have been revised to insure the inclusion of marginalized voices. Admissions and faculty hiring policies have been instituted to increase the numbers of teachers and students of color. Ultimately, though, the greatest impact has been in student attitudes as young people practice positive ways of communicating about race.
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