SPN is identified in the Sharon Public Schools 5-Year Strategic Plan (Fall 2012) to support the schools “to identify current issues for community members and to promote strategies that address cultural proficiency concerns.” SPN members have worked with school personnel to offer workshops to high school clinical staff in March 2012 and the entire faculty in May 2013.
Workshop goals for participants are to:
- educate them about some of the cultural differences in town
- provide opportunities for them to hear the stories of recent immigrants,
- provide opportunities for them to talk about how their work has been affected by the community’s growing diversity
Workshops for the schools focus on the experiences of parents, students, school faculty, and staff.
At the request of town leaders and police officials, SPN developed Cultural Awareness Protocol Charts Cultural Awareness Protocol Charts to increase understanding of customs and non-verbal gestures used by different cultural and religious groups in Sharon. SPN’s cultural awareness workshops grew out of work on the charts, as ways were considered to share the information in a dialogue with town employees.
Students in the town’s English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) classes and other residents from diverse backgrounds contribute to the workshops by sharing their experiences about coming to the United States. Workshops have been conducted with the public works and administrative office employees, town police officers, and library personnel, reaching approximately 100 town employees. SPN also has consulted to other communities.
Ultimately, it is intended that workshop information will increase participants ability to interact effectively with the increasingly diverse population they serve. This work stems from a collaboration among SPN partners, Stoughton/Sharon Literacy Volunteers, the Sharon Adult Center, and the Sharon Public Library, together with the Sharon Police Department and Town Offices.