When schools reopen and students finally return to campus, diversity will continue to play an important role in the educational curriculum. For each school and educator, diversity education can take shape in a number of creative ways.
As part of the City’s long-term goal to foster a culture that embraces unity, Chandler’s Diversity Office and Human Relations Commission offer mini-grants of up to $1,000 to teachers, schools, nonprofit organizations and community groups to use towards celebrating and educating about diversity.
In February of this year, CTA Humphrey’s Elementary School hosted its Annual Multicultural Festival, an initiative created by educators at the school and funded by the City’s Diversity Education Mini-Grant.
CTA Humphrey’s Annual Multicultural Festival
According to Myra Felix, a Special Education teacher at CTA Humphrey Campus, the school’s annual event includes week-long festivities celebrating diversity and cultures around the world.
Teachers, administrators, parents and students from every grade level participated in the week-long festival. The event included classroom-based curriculum, speakers from different cultures and ethnicities, grade-level song and dance, and community performances showcasing a variety of cultures.
The week-long festivities culminated in an evening celebration open to friends and family, which included rehearsed performances by the student body, as well as food trucks, games, crafts and a walkabout showcase prepared by students of different countries from around the world.
The Multicultural Festival was born more than two years ago after educators at CTA Humphrey wanted to help students celebrate their own diverse cultures and learn about new ones.
“We are a really unique campus with a diverse group of kids,” Felix said. “We took a look at our demographics survey and saw that our large community really was from everywhere, not only one or two different countries. This is a celebration of all of us — to increase awareness and appreciation of the different cultures, to continue establishing a feeling of inclusion for our students, to understand traditions of different communities and to promote respect.”
Felix said the celebration is a wonderful way to help students embrace differences in other students’ cultures and backgrounds, and to help them feel excited to promote their own cultures.
“This year, I was speaking with a student who told me that, because she speaks Spanish, people always assume she is from Mexico, but she is actually from Bolivia,” Felix said. “I think it's wonderful that they can embrace those differences, and that they can see that we’re all American but we came from different places.”
Diversity Mini-Grant Scholarships Making the Difference
The CTA Humphrey Multicultural Festival is one of the events made possible by the Diversity Education Mini-Grant Scholarships from the City’s Diversity Office. Felix filled out an application and was notified that the school would get $1,000 to spend to help put on the event.
“The first year it was a godsend,” Felix said. “Every year we do it, teachers want to change counties, so we’ve been able to purchase new flags for the classrooms, as well as lights, signage and marketing materials.”
Without the grant funds, Felix said the festival would not have been able to become what it is today.
“Out school is not a wealthy school, so we have a very limited budget,” Felix said. “I spend all of the money when we get it. The City is very good at communicating and we always send in the budget and photos to show what we’ve been able to do with their support.”
Diversity Mini-Grant Scholarships
As teachers and students prepare for their return to school in the fall, it is not too early to begin preparations for events aimed at diversity education for the upcoming school year.
Funded proposals will foster diversity education for youth ages 5-18 and will promote the Human Relation Commission’s mission “to promote mutual respect and inclusion in Chandler” and work toward the “elimination of prejudice and discrimination; and to promote amicable relations among all racial, cultural, religious, age, gender, disabled, socio-economic and national groups within the community.”
Visit the City’s Diversity Office to apply for a Diversity Mini-Grant Scholarship for 2020-2021. The applications will open August 3.