“If I can help somebody as I pass along, if I can cheer somebody with a word or song, if I can show somebody he's traveling wrong, then my living will not be in vain……….”Martin Luther King
As we approach the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. I had to reflect on this great quote. Many will remember his famous I have a dream speech, which will be recited all over this great nation of ours over the next few days. This particular quote intrigues me because it makes me evaluate the district overall to make sure that what we do each and everyday is making a difference for our students and staff as it relates to education. Goals are set and maintained daily to make sure what we do is not in vain.
We often hear the catch phrase “We value diversity.” Here in the School District of Janesville, we don’t only value it we embrace it daily. We realize that our students are not all the same, this is the reason we set our mission statement as: To serve our community by educating every child. There is power in these eight words, this statement indicates that as a district we will embrace and educate each and every student in the district.
How do we embrace diversity? We make it part of our day-to-day culture. We are focused on and committed to the broadest definition of diversity in the workplace. With the help of the District Equity Leadership Team (DELT), we will reach our full potential as an organization by utilizing the diverse pool of talents, abilities, ideas, and viewpoints of our students and employees. To that end, the School District of Janesville will provide equal employment opportunities to all qualified persons and create an organizational culture where people of diverse backgrounds, cultures, races, religions, ethnicities, and experience are fully included, valued and respected.
How do we make this happen? We focus on Standards of Professional Behavior:
o Listen to others’ thought/opinions.
o Be respectful with parents, students, community, and staff.
o Create a caring workplace where compassion and understanding are demonstrated
o Have empathy for others.
o Recognize differences in others.
o Honor individual differences and create opportunities that are adapted for diverse learners.
o Respect cultural differences.
o Promote a caring atmosphere within the workplace.
o Demonstrate a caring attitude witnessed by all
By focusing on these behaviors we continue to embrace diversity.
The Martin Luther King Day celebrations in our area begin tomorrow with YOUTH, Making the World a Better Place, a Martin Luther King Jr. commemoration at Blackhawk Technical College.
The School District of Janesville will be well represented, but before I highlight our participation, I think we should all think about why we celebrate Dr. King’s life, especially on the January 20 national holiday.
Martin Luther King, Jr. Day is observed on the third Monday of January each year, which is around the time of Dr. King's birthday on January 15.
Dr. King was the recognized leader of the 1960s civil rights movement and championed a nonviolent activist strategy that led to the enactment of historic nondiscrimination laws both at the state and federal levels. His work inspired his generation to end racial discrimination. His dream of people being judge by their character and not by the color of their skin lives on past his assassination in Memphis in 1968.
Similar to Dr. King’s struggles for equality, the day commemorating his life took time to be recognized. President Ronald Reagan signed the holiday into law in 1968, but it was not officially observed in every state until 2000.
At tomorrow’s event, three School District of Janesville students will be recognized for their MLK essays. They are:
Angela Zrnich, Madison Elementary School; Carlie Curtis, Franklin Middle School; and Emily
Steinhorst, Craig High School.
Music will be provided by the Craig High School Women’s Chorus.
This is a free community event at Blackhawk Technical College, 6004 S. County Rd. G, Janesville, WI from 3 to 5 p.m. tomorrow – January 11, 2014. I hope to see you there.