Welcoming Schools - A project from the Human Rights Campaign Foundation

Twelve Schools and Districts Honored at Welcoming Schools Seal of Excellence Event

By Eric Cameron, May 05, 2014

Teachers, students, administrators and community members came together this past Friday for a very special event honoring schools and districts across the country that have gone the extra mile to create safer learning environments.

The inaugural Welcoming Schools Seal of Excellence Award ceremony was held Friday evening at the J.J. Hill Montessori Magnet School in Saint Paul, Minnesota.

Ten schools and two school districts (listed below) were recognized for demonstrating high standards of implementation of Welcoming Schools in the areas of Leadership Development, Professional Development, Family Engagement, and Classroom Strategies.

Special guests at Friday’s event included Saint Paul Mayor Christopher B. Coleman and State Senator Scott Dibble.

J.J. Hill students presented results of a student research project charting incidents of bias related to race and gender in their schools and an essay about gay politician, Harvey Milk (read the essay below).  A student performance of Cyndi Lauper’s “True Colors.”  brought the crowd to their feet.

The event also featured a special screening of the Welcoming Schools professional development film What Can We Do? Bias, Bullying, and Bystanders.

What Can We Do? spotlights teachers from J.J. Hill and Hiawatha Leadership Academy in Minneapolis generating open conversations with students about the impact of bullying and the power of students standing up for each other.

Thanks to all our honorees for their incredible advocacy to create safer, more inclusive learning environments, and thanks to all those who joined us Friday night in celebrating this critical work.

Welcoming Schools provides resources, training and technical assistance to help elementary schools take a comprehensive approach to school climate and bullying prevention. The Welcoming Schools approach is LGBT-inclusive, and creates school climates that welcome all family structures and all students. 

Schools and Districts Honored:

  • Acorn Woodland Elementary School – Oakland, CA
  • Berkeley Arts Magnet – Berkeley, CA
  • Berkeley Unified School District – Berkeley, CA
  • Brouillet Elementary School – Puyallup, WA
  • Carver Elementary School – Maplewood, MN
  • Castle Elementary School – Saint Paul, MN
  • Garden Oaks Montessori Magnet – Houston, TX
  • Hiawatha Leadership Academy – Minneapolis, MN
  • J.J. Hill Montessori – Saint Paul, MN
  • Malcolm X Elementary School – Berkeley, CA
  • Mirror Lake Elementary School – Plantation, FL
  • Puyallup School District – Puyallup, WA

Harvey Milk Essay Read at Ceremony

I’m Jack Obee. I’m in the fifth grade in Mr. Bachhuber’s class (at J.J. Hill Montessori). For Peace Day, each class picked someone who has had a big influence on peace. My class picked Harvey Milk.

Harvey Milk was the first openly gay politician. He helped pass a gay rights ordinance for the city of San Francisco and became a hero in the gay community and an icon in the San Francisco community.

His career was short. Eleven months. But in that time he changed history and the U.S.. Government. He had a seat on the Board of Supervisors.

He was born May 22, 1930 and was assassinated on November 27, 1978 by Dan White, a fellow supervisor who has angry about losing his job. His strength and courage changed U.S.. history and paved the way for equal rights for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people.

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Film: What Can We Do? Bias, Bullying, and Bystanders

WATCH: What Can We Do? Bias, Bullying, and Bystanders »

  • See experienced educators in action using Welcoming Schools’ lessons.
  • Engage students in real conversations on bias and bullying.

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