Category Archives: Diversity

The Fierce Urgency of Now: Follow the Light

Written by Dr. Brandy Lovelady Mitchell

The account of Mercy Health’s incredible journey of strengthening and diversifying their workforce has graced multiple platforms over the last several years. It is a story of triumph rooted in visioning, reflection, intentionality and alignment.

Recently, I had an opportunity to hear several of Mercy Health’s employees reflect on their journey, and in addition to the previously mentioned descriptors of their success story, a phrase Jill McFarlane used activated my thinking. McFarlane provided refreshed language and stimulating rationale for a cognitive shift that I hope my beloved profession wrestles with as we enter another intense season of hiring. McFarlane talked about “cultural fit”. Continue reading The Fierce Urgency of Now: Follow the Light

Build it and they will come!

Has anybody been around cinema long enough to remember a couple of the famous lines from Kevin Costner’s 1989 film, A Field of Dreams: “build it, and he will come” or “go the distance”? Now I have to admit, the film I automatically think of when I hear Kevin Costner’s name is “The Bodyguard.” Blame it on the soundtrack, but I digress – tee hee hee!

Kevin Costner’s character in A Field of Dreams, Ray Kinsella, was practically mocked, ridiculed; and he almost went for broke for building a baseball field on land that had historically been used for farming – something predictable and something that upheld current social patterns. Perceptions, relationships and other variables were immediately strained, as Ray felt compelled to transform the land and eventually the hearts of the people in his community. Why would Ray change what on some level was working? The land was familiar, traditional and it just “fit” into the existing community, expectations and cultural patterns. Continue reading Build it and they will come!

Resiliency isn’t just for students

Written by Patricia Ward, Mindful Schools

Everyone can agree that stress levels in schools are at an all-time high, not just for students but for teachers and staff as well. A promising practice that is being used in schools all over the world and right here in the Grand Rapids area is Mindfulness.

Mindfulness is the new ‘running’ for health and wellness. Twenty years ago, if someone said ‘I’m going out for a run’ you would want to know what they are running from. Today, people know running (or walking) is one way we take care of our physical and mental health. Thirty years ago, Mindfulness was an intervention used primarily with adults that were suffering from stress, chronic pain or depression. Today it is being integrated into schools all over the world to help students with attention, emotional regulation and empathy for self and others.

What is Mindfulness?

Mindfulness is the practice of paying attention — to thoughts, physical sensations, and the environment — without constantly feeling the need to judge what’s happening or to make it other than it is. Mindfulness is a way of meeting our experience with the presence of mind to respond skillfully to life’s challenges, rather than reacting based on intense emotions. Continue reading Resiliency isn’t just for students

Paul Gorski: Cultivating Equitable Classrooms

Paul C. Gorski is the founder of EdChange and the Equity Literacy Institute. He has spent the last 20 years working with educators, schools, and school districts around the world committed to strengthening knowledge, skills, and leadership related to educational equity. Since earning his doctorate in Education at the University of Virginia he has worked as a district-level equity consultant, a teacher educator, and an author and designer of diversity-related resources for teachers.

Paul has written more than 60 articles and chapters, as well as, written, co-written, or co-edited 10 books on educational equity including Case Studies on Diversity and Social Justice Education (with Seema Pothini) and Reaching and Teaching Students in Poverty: Strategies for Erasing the Opportunity Gap. Paul’s Web site for educators, the Multicultural Pavilionhas won more than a dozen awards and hosts nearly one million visitors each year.

Paul will be visiting Kent ISD on Thursday, May 3rd to talk about Cultivating Equitable Classrooms and Schools for Each Student. 

Continue reading Paul Gorski: Cultivating Equitable Classrooms

Gorski helps Educators Understand Barriers of Poverty

In March 2014, Kent County Health Rankings were released. It found that 23% of children in Kent County live in poverty, up from 20% the previous year; the national benchmark is 13%.  

How might our strategies for teaching and relating with families in poverty change if we truly understood the barriers they experience – barriers that have nothing to do with their cultures or their attitudes about school or their desires to learn? Continue reading Gorski helps Educators Understand Barriers of Poverty