Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
in the Berkley School District
The Berkley School District is committed to keeping diversity, equity and inclusion at the forefront of its goal of creating an environment where all staff, students and community members feel a sense of belonging.
Many diversity, equity and inclusion goals and strategies are embedded in the new strategic plan. The plan was adopted in April 2022. This strategic plan officially embeds these new DEI goals into the work that is being done daily.
Below are details on the work that has been done so far. This webpage will be updated as work continues and as the District learns of new resources for the community.
Berkley Schools staff understand this work is never complete, and will always strive to learn, grow, change and adapt.
District Core Beliefs
As a District we work hard to lift up, encourage and support each and every child, to make sure everyone feels loved. All are welcome here no matter the color of their skin, who they love, how they identify, if or how they worship, their family income, where they live, what they look like, their abilities or what language they speak. And, in truly welcoming people we want to know their stories. We want to know what’s important to them and what hurts them and where they come from and how they think. We want to understand and appreciate and celebrate our differences. In truly welcoming someone we want the best for that person. We want that person to live their life to the fullest extent of their potential.
All of our elementary schools are committed to learning and growing with the diversity, equity and inclusion work. Each building has the autonomy to provide programs and learning opportunities to staff and students. Below you will see highlights of DEI work from each elementary school. These lists are not all encompassing and will continue to grow as learning continues.
- Commitment to adding books to the media center collections that reflect all students and their backgrounds
- Resources posted to building websites
- Supported a Super Guy Program for four years that has focused on having male role models volunteer in the building
- All new books added to the Media Center are vetted through a diversity audit by the media specialist. This ensures that the collection reflects all aspects of society and specifically the diverse families attending Angell.
- Respect Circle and Family Circles encourage the celebration of students who demonstrate kind, safe and productive behavior and promote cross-age mentoring
- Building team focused on social and emotional learning, using Onward, Cultivating Emotional Resilience as a basis for the work to support students and staff
- Diversity Alliance began in 2021 - a student group committed to learning about diversity, equity and inclusion and sharing their learning with the school
- Peer to Peer support for students with disabilities
- Multi-cultural band aids available for students and staff in the office
- Respect Circle to highlights all students and their outstanding accomplishments and kindness toward others
- Hosted parent panels in 2021 to understand the Black parent perspective and experience at Norup
- Discussed Cultural Competency goals with parents during October 2021 Zoom "Conversations w/Principal" as well as at PTA meetings
- Students and staff engage with lessons on diversity, equity and inclusion through the Leader in Me curriculum
- Mentoring program for Black students started in 2018, in collaboration with BHS
- "No Name is the Same" collaborative inquiry assignment in Schoology with suggested books for students/families to read
- Zoom meeting with current and former Black Rogers students to learn about their experiences in school with regards to race and diversity
Our middle schools are committed to learning and growing with the diversity, equity and inclusion work. Each building has the autonomy to provide programs and learning opportunities to staff and students. Below you will see highlights of DEI work from each middle school. These lists are not all encompassing and will continue to grow as learning continues.
- Commitment to enhance libraries in each middle school to reflect all students and their backgrounds
- Partnerships with Defeat the Label and No Place for Hate
- Gay/Straight Alliance established and active since 2018-2019 school year
- Black Perspectives Club established by the request of students in 2020
- Hope in a Box curriculum purchased
- Principal Paul Yowchuang met with Black students to discuss their Norup experiences with regards to race and diversity
- Black Perspectives Club held a Q&A with representatives from Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs)
Anderson Middle School
- Media Class established a Heritage Month video series highlighting Hispanic heritage, Native American heritage, Black History Month, Women's History Month and Arab-American Heritage Month
- Book talks with Media Specialist cover a variety of genres, historical time periods, and a diverse group of authors when presented to students
- Peer to Peer and LINK programs to support students with disabilities
- Religious Diversity Journeys program available to all seventh grade students
- Partnership with Equal Opportunity Schools beginning in 2016
- Established an Equity Team
- Held a student panel to discuss experiences of Black students in AP classes
- Created an anti-racism learning library in the main office
- Held a student panel to discuss experiences of Black students at BHS
- Changed graduation robes to one color for all genders
- Peer to Peer club and LINKS program to support students with disabilities
- African American Literature course available to all students
- Partnered with Defeat the Label
- The student Diversity Council at BHS has hosted/continues to host the following
- Workshop with the Anti-Defamation League
- Black History Month assembly
- Challenge Day
- Culture Fest
- Women's Career Fair
- Gay/Straight Alliance established in 2020
- Sources of Strength program to support students with mental wellness strategies
- Allocated funds for Library Media Center to purchase additional literature from BIPOC authors
- Hosted HBCU Virtual College Visits in 2021
- Teachers have received Berkley Education Foundation Mini-Grants to purchase multicultural items for their classroom house areas as well as diverse puzzles and manipulatives
- Staff has reviewed classroom libraries to identify deficits in "non-stereotypical" and culturally diverse books
- New books were ordered to enhance hallway bench libraries as well as classroom libraries
- During the week of the young child, families shared the story of their child's name and a favorite photo. These were read within the classroom as well as posted throughout the building.
The Berkley School District created a comprehensive Emotional Health and Wellness Resources Webpage for the school community. Visit this page for many additional resources, articles, community programs and more.
Below is a list of videos the District has produced over the last few years showcasing diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives. The titles below link to videos on the District's YouTube account.
- BHS Diversity: A Walk Through Black History
- BHS Diversity Council Course
- BHS Diversity Council Studies Prejudice and Bias with ADL
- 2018 BHS Culture Fest
- Stepping Up, Stepping Out Challenge Day 2018
- Sources of Strength Zumba
- Berkley High School is Berkley Strong
- MLK Day: A Day On, Not a Day Off
- MLK Day Event Honors Dr. King, Highlights Giving and Collaboration
- 2019 Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service
- AMS Peer to Peer
- BHS Fall Play Enlists Panel for Inclusion
- Berkley Difference: Mentors
- Administrative Team is studying Cultural Competency and how it relates to education
- The team is reading Culturally Responsive Teaching and The Brain: Promoting Authentic Engagement and Rigor Among Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Students
- A committee focused on this work prepares monthly lessons for the team
- The goal of the work is to invoke systemic change not only in our District but in the greater community
- Partnership with the Berkley African American Parent Network
- Focused on creating an accessible website and digital experience for all users
- Added Juneteenth to the District calendar and learning resources for the public on social media
- Supported students rights to kneel during the National Anthem
- Created the position of Wellness Coordinators to help prepare materials to support mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic for both students and staff
- Created a social/emotional wellness page on the District website
- Annual MLK Day of Service, a Day On, Not a Day Off, in partnership with Royal Oak Schools
- In Spring 2021, committed to a $100,000 investment in diversifying classroom and media center libraries, District-wide
- In 2021, a District-wide team of educators is studying and 16 teachers are piloting new elementary social studies curriculum, inquirED's Inquiry Journeys, to ensure the lessons taught are culturally responsive, inquiry-based and align with national standards.
Staff Professional Learning
District-wide Berkley Schools staff members have participated in professional learning on topics related to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. Examples of this learning are listed below.
- All staff have engaged in discussions and learning about equity vs equality and diversity, equity and inclusion
- Many administrators have shared podcasts with teachers such as Nice White Parents
- All early childhood lead teachers attended cultural competency training through MiRegistry as well as completing a "Supporting Diversity in the Classroom" training. In addition, all lead teachers attended a two part training on Promoting a Sense of Belonging: Creating Equitable Classroom Environments
- Angell staff watched A Danger of a Single Story as a conversation starter focused on knowing each other's stories but also being mindful to not make sweeping judgments based on a single story
- Pattengill staff are engaged in a book study about Cultural Competencies as well as Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?: And Other Conversations About Race
- Six Rogers teachers & Principal Beth Meacham participated in Courageous Conversations About Race, with Dr. Jay Marks at Oakland Schools, in 2018
- Rogers Principal Beth Meacham, BHS Assistant Principal Shamika Womble and Supervisor of Instructional Services Mary Coughlin are on the Oakland County Council for Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Social Justice
- Berkley High School purchased "We Want to Do More Than Survive: Abolitionist Teaching and the Pursuit of Educational Freedom" by Bettina Love, for all teachers
- Berkley High School staff have engaged with professional learning through Equal Opportunity Schools on the following subjects: Structural racism, implicit bias, belonging and cultural responsiveness
- BHS principal Andy Meloche participated on Equal Opportunity Schools’ national panel discussing diversity, equity and inclusion practices at Berkley High School in 2021
- Over the course of the last couple years, staff had the opportunity to engage with the following Professional Learning sessions:
- Cultural Competence: An Approach to Supporting the Social-Emotional Needs of Diverse Students - Dr. Jay Marks
- Trauma Informed Teaching
- Welcoming and Inclusive Classrooms: Sexual Orientation & Gender Identity
- Safe and Supportive Schools for Transgender Students
- Understanding ADHD, Anxiety and Autism Spectrum Through a New Lens
- Supporting English Language Learners
- Creating a Better World for LGBTQ Students: GLSEN
- Equity for Multilingual Learners
- Creating an Inclusive Environment
- On May 4, 2021, all District staff participated in a learning session with Dr. Bryant Marks from the National Training Institute on Race & Equity (NTIRE) on Hidden Bias in School Systems
- On August 26, 2021, all District staff participated in further learning with Dr. Bryant Marks on implicit bias and hidden bias in schools
Resources for the Community - Diversity, Inclusion & Racism
- Take an implicit bias test
- American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry Racism Resource Library
- Racial Equity Tools
- Microaggressions - Mini Lesson from the ADL
Oakland Schools Home Partnership series: Participant Slidedeck Home Partnerships Race, Racism, and Anti-Racism
- American Psychological Association: Resources for Parents, Uplifting Youth Through Healthy Communication About Race
- Teaching Tolerance: Race and Identity
- Race Conscious: Raising Race Conscious Children
- Embrace Race
- How to talk to kids about race and racism - Parent Toolkit
- How to talk to your children about protests and racism - CNN
- Article for teachers: A simple way to self-monitor for bias
- What is White Privilege, Really - Learning for Justice
- Microaggressions Are a Big Deal: How to Talk Them Out and When to Walk Away - NPR
- Sesame Street: How to be an Upstander Song
- Sesame Street: Racism Episode Part 1
- Sesame Street: What is Racism
- Sesame Street: Town Hall on Racism-June 2020
- Sesame Street: Power of We
- Talking to kids about racism in the media - Dr. Kira Banks on YouTube
- Cracking the Codes: Joy DeGruy "A Trip to the Grocery Store" - Understanding White Privilege
- Multicultural Book Room
- Black Lives Matter Instructional Library
- Asian American Pacific Islander books recommended by Shuli de la Fuente-Lau, creator of Instagram @AsianLitforKids account
Learn more about Juneteenth by visiting these websites:
Heritage Month Guide
- January: None to date
- February: African American History Month
- March: National National Women’s History Month, Irish-American Heritage Month
- April: March 13 to April 15 is National Deaf History Month
- May: Asian Pacific American Heritage, Older Americans Month and Jewish American Heritage Month
- June: Gay Lesbian Pride Month
- July: None to date
- August: None to date
- September: National Hispanic-Latino Heritage Month (Sept. 15-Oct. 15)
- October: National Disability Employment Awareness Month, National Italian American Heritage Month, LGBT History Month
- November: National American Indian Heritage Month
- December: None to date
Resources for the Community - LGBTQ+
Resources & Toolkits
- Creating Safe Space for GLBTQ Youth: A Toolkit
- Some Considerations When Working with LGBT Students of Color
- LGBTQ+ Bullying: Making Schools Safe for LGBTQ+ Community
- I Think I Might Be.. Resources by Advocates for Youth: These resources are written by LGBTQ young people, and provide answers for young people thinking about their sexual orientation and young people who find that the gender they were assigned at birth does not fit them.
- Creating Safer Spaces for LGBTQ Youth Toolkit: Advocates for Youth
- The Genderbread Person - Printable
Organizations to Support LGBTQ+ Youth
- CenterLink Founded with the mission to build sustainable LGBTQ community centers, this organization now has over 200 locations in 46 states and five countries. Aside from strengthening local LGBTQ communities, the organization also provides networking, technical assistance and training, and capacity building services.
- GLAAD With a national focus on leading conversations about equality for the LGBTQ community and informing the media narrative, this organization works with news and entertainment media of all formats and communications and digital strategy outlets to ensure the public is provided with powerful stories about the LGBTQ community that advocates for greater equality.
- Gay & Lesbian International Sport Association With an international reach, GLISA brings together international sports federations, human rights organizations, associations representing sport teams, clubs from major regions, and other stakeholders to facilitate partnerships for building bridges between sports and the LGBTQ community.
- Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network GLSEN’s mission is simple: to ensure every member of school communities feel respected, regardless of their sexual orientation. This is accomplished through educating teachers, students and the public about the common pressures faced by LGBTQ students and working to remove barriers to success.
- Get Equal GE focuses on equipping the LGBTQ community and their allies to fight against inequalities and to push for progressive change. Whether organizing direct action efforts, hosting local community meetings, training members in tactics of direct action or providing professional consulting, the organization is committed to continuously fighting for equality.
- Human Rights Campaign HRC is the largest organization fighting for the civil rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans. The organization currently has over 1.5 million members, all focused on making true equality for all possible. The organization has a number of research publications outlining equality indexes on areas such as healthcare, employers, states and corporations.
- Matthew Shepard Foundation By erasing hate and building compassionate and accepting communities, the Matthew Shepard Foundation hopes to empower LGBTQ individuals to challenge and address discriminatory behavior in their schools, neighborhoods and homes.
- National Center for Transgender Equality Identifying as America’s premier social justice advocacy organization for transgender individuals, NCTE works at the federal, state and local levels to leverage political capital and change laws encouraging discriminatory behavior. The organization has a particularly helpful “Know Your Rights” section of their website with information on housing, healthcare, employment, and more.
- National Gay & Lesbian Task Force Since 1973, NGLTF has focused on building the political capital of the LGBTQ community through activist training, advancing pro-LGBT legislation and raising the profile of LGBTQ interests and causes. The organization is also an excellent resource for learning about the beliefs and platforms of those running for public office in regards to LGBTQ interests.
- PFLAG Through support, education and advocacy efforts, PFLAG seeks to unite the LGBTQ community with friends, families and allies. By doing so, the organization hopes to further equality efforts and lessen discriminatory practices. Currently, there are more than 350 chapters and over 200,000 members.
- TransYouth Family Allies TYFA is focused on supporting children and families to create support systems offering encouragement and acceptance regardless of sexual orientation. Main areas of work include educating the public about discrimination, working to eliminate oppression and violence, and forming alliances to ensure support services are in place for LGBTQ individuals. The organization has a number of outreach initiatives and resources to accomplish this mission.
- The Attic Youth Center This Philadelphia-based organization is an excellent example of how LGBTQ youth centers can empower and inspire local teens that identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or questioning. Some of the services offered include life skills, mental health counseling, supportive programs, community engagement, and social activities. AYC also provides a number of resources at both the local and national level.
- Genders & Sexualities Alliance GSAs are student run clubs operating in both high school and middle schools that provide support, socialization, and activism activities for LGBTQ youth. The overarching goal is to fight against homophobia and transphobia; providing leadership and activist training for group members and encouraging them to advocate for nondiscriminatory policies and greater equality accomplishes this.
- International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer Youth and Student Organization IGLYO is an internationally focused advocacy and activism organization focused on representing the interests of LGBTQ youth. To accomplish this mission, the organization hosts conferences, provides educational materials, and offers the general public many opportunities to get involved.
- It Gets Better Project The mission of the IGB Project is to give LGBT youth across the world hope that things do get better. In response to raised incidents of students committing suicide after being bullied in school, syndicated columnist Dan Savage created the organization to provide both inspiration and resources, including pledges and educational videos.
- The Trevor Project With suicide rates noticeably higher among LGBTQ youth than their straight peers, the mission of The Trevor Project is incredibly important. By providing a 24/7-crisis intervention service, online community, and educational programs, the organization seeks to be both life saving and life-affirming.
- YouthPride Since 2009, this organization has prevented 151 LGBTQ youth suicides through innovative programming and excellent resources. Whether offering daily after school activities or support and discussion groups, the Atlanta-based organization engages youth and empowers them to advocate for themselves. The organization also provides counseling and free HIV testing.
- Affirmations in Ferndale, MI. Affirmations LGBTQ+ community center has been the hub for southeast Michigan LGBTQ+ communities and it’s allies for the last 30 years. It provides a welcoming space where people of all sexual orientations, gender identities & expressions, and cultures can learn, grow, socialize and access the vital support they need.
Activities & Events for the Community
21-Day Equity Challenge - United Way for Southeastern Michigan
The 21-Day Equity Challenge is an opportunity to expand your knowledge and understanding of the historic and persistent inequities that play a role in our social and economic landscape here in Southeastern Michigan.
- Free to participate
- Open to anyone
- Runs weekdays May 21 – June 18
- Sign up on the United Way SEM website
LGBTQ+ Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity, and Gender Expression! What does it all mean?
Talk Early & Often presents a webinar titled “LGBTQ+ Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity, and Gender Expression! What does it all mean?” On May 20, 2021 from 6:30 - 8 pm, parents and guardians are invited to participate in an open dialogue about sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression. This webinar will share stories of LGBTQ+ youth and provide straightforward answers and resources.
The featured speaker for this webinar will be Kim Phillips-Knope, Project Lead, Michigan Department of Education, LGBTQ+ Students Project. This webinar will be moderated by Barb Flis, Founder of Parent Action for Healthy Kids and creator of Talk Early & Talk Often. For more information and to register, visit the Parent Action for Healthy Kids website.