Each October, Laurel Springs School takes an active role in supporting National Bullying Prevention Month by holding Unity Week, five days devoted to bringing students and faculty together and raising awareness about an important issue that affects us all.
“Unity Week has been a valuable initiative among our school’s community in recent years, as it brings together our global network of students, teachers, and staff to share in a memorable experience,” says Alyssa Polakowski, Laurel Springs’ School Counseling Manager. “By the end of the week, we’ve learned so much about one another, celebrating our differences and learning how we’re similar, it really demonstrates the camaraderie that is possible in an online learning environment despite the distances between us.”
Unity Week was partly inspired by Unity Day, the Parent Advocacy Coalition for Educational Rights’ National Bully Prevention Center’s signature event in combating the act of bullying. The event also seeks to empower young people to take action within their homes, school, and towns.
“It is truly heart-warming to see the concepts of unity and inclusion being promoted throughout our school and spread among our students,” says Ms. Polakowski. “We often hear later about how this spirited energy flows into our students’ local communities as well.”
In addition to promoting an end to bullying in our schools and communities, this year the Laurel Springs Counseling Department is seeking to foster a true sense of cultural awareness among our students. With a truly multicultural student population that spreads across nearly 100 countries around the world, our faculty recognizes the importance of fostering togetherness within our diverse community and celebrating our unique differences, traditions, and beliefs in a safe, nurturing environment.
The decision to focus on the concept of cultural awareness was prompted by College Counselor Jackie Berrier, who cited the ADDRESSING Model developed by Dr. Pamela A. Hays.
“When most people think about culture, they think about race or ethnicity. But culture has many dimensions, some of which are recognized in the ADDRESSING Model,” says Ms. Berrier. “At different times, different parts of your culture may be more salient than others. For example, you may recognize the cultural aspect of your age when you are trying to explain how to use an electronic device to your grandparents. Having these dimensions make you both unique to some and similar to others.”
Dr. Hays, a clinical psychologist and popular public speaker, created the ADDRESSING framework to help understand the complexity that comes with identity by considering the individual characteristics that contribute to influence it. Such factors include:
- Developmental and acquired Disabilities
- Socioeconomic status
- Sexual Orientation
- Indigenous heritage
- National origin
By introducing these concepts to the Laurel Springs community, the Counseling Department aims to help students develop a deeper understanding of themselves as well as their place in society and in the world. “We want to highlight the many aspects that make up who students are while learning about others in our efforts to promote Global Cultural Awareness,” says Ms. Berrier.
2018 Unity Week Schedule of Events
Our Counseling Department encourages students to participate in this week’s series of online events that allow students to think critically and contribute ideas and opinions for how to bring our community closer while making bullying a thing of the past.
Tuesday, October 23rd
Join our College Counselors and your peers at 3pm ET | 12pm PT for a virtual get together to discuss unity and the global community of Laurel Springs School. (Please check your email for a link to this event.)
Wednesday, October 24th
“Orange” you glad you’re a part of the Laurel Springs global community? Wear orange in honor of Unity Day while holding up signs with words of kindness and respect. Be sure to tag Laurel Springs School in your social media photos, along with: #UnityDay2018 and #LSSConnect. Email photos to email@example.com.
Thursday, October 25th
Ask yourself, “Who Am I?” and explore your cultural identity with inspirational words or poem submissions posted on our online bulletin board. (To gain access and post, check the LMS announcements page.)
Friday, October 26th
Demonstrate your understanding of cultural awareness along with your appreciation for our global community at LSS joining a live event for Laurel Springs’ students. (Please check your email for a link to this event.)