Welcoming Schools permits us to envision our students as their best selves now and also who they will be 15 years from now, as they are leaders in academics but also in their communities.
Heidi Johnson, Educator, Hiawatha Leadership Academy
Schools that prove themselves to be exemplary in implementing the HRC Welcoming Schools approach can earn the Seal of Excellence by completing the required benchmarks.
Schools earning the Welcoming Schools Seal of Excellence (SOE) will demonstrate, with documentation, the following benchmarks:
Policies/regulations/procedures are in place and enumerated to include all aspects of diversity. This may be done on local, district and/or state levels.
Welcoming Schools Leadership Team is established or integrated into an existing committee. The Leadership Team will include a cross-section of the school community including administration, classroom teachers, non-instructional staff and possibly family members. The team will meet monthly during the academic year.
School staff must complete the following Welcoming Schools modules:
Staff development sessions will take place over a period of 1-3 years and must be delivered by an authorized Welcoming Schools Facilitator.
Annually, every student in the school must be provided with a minimum of three Welcoming Schools lessons, books or activities as a part of the structured curriculum.
School will have ongoing public displays (bulletin boards, newsletters, and artwork portraying Welcoming Schools' themes such as “Love Makes a Family”, “Be Who You Are” or “Ally Superheroes”.
School will host, minimally, one Family Night, for family/community members sharing the Welcoming Schools approach through panels, movies, book readings and information sessions.
Books from Welcoming Schools bibliographies are publicly available to all students in the library/media center and classrooms.
A Welcoming Schools Climate Assessment will be used to gauge the success of developing a more inclusive school by working with the HRC Welcoming Schools program.
Demonstration of larger community-based support for this effort.