The Sharon Public Schools Strategic Plan FY2013-FY2017 includes working with SPN to address cultural proficiency in the school community. Click HERE for details.
Students in Sharon Public Schools (SPS) interact with fellow students from many different backgrounds on a daily basis. As a result, they often are more aware of Sharon’s rich diversity than their parents and other adults. Among the 3500 students, 34% are non-white and 21% have a first language other than English (MA DESE). Sharon also participates in METCO, Inc. and was one of seven suburban schools to collaborate with Boston when this program began in 1966.
SPS Initiatives: A wide variety of programs is offered throughout the schools to enhance students’ understanding of the value of diversity and to help them learn about their classmates from all different backgrounds. Several programs focus on the environment within the schools, while others focus on increasing students’ awareness of the world through opportunities for study, travel and student exchange programs. Students are challenged to examine their individual responsibility for making the schools, the community, and the larger world a better place for all people.
Programs focusing on the school environment include the Teen Speak-Out and the Anti-Defamation League’s A World of Difference program at the high school, the CHILL (Changing Hate into Love and Learning) program at the middle school, the DUO (Do Unto Others) and Experiencing Differences programs at the elementary schools, as well as other cultural awareness, respect building, and bully prevention initiatives. The high school also has an active Gay-Straight Student Alliance.
SPS has developed a Global Competence Program to enhance high school students’ skills for effective engagement in the increasingly interdependent world of the 21st century. SPS also offers Mandarin Chinese, French, Spanish, and Latin, as well as a fifth grade Foreign Language Exploratory Program (FLEX). Students at the high school can enjoy opportunities to travel to places such as France, Spain, Ecuador and Cuba, and the high school is in its fourth year of an international student exchange with the Gaoxin-Tangnan School in Xian, China.
The Opportunity with SPN: The Massachusetts Association of School Superintendents (MASS) maintains that global education is essential for “economic, political, and security concerns,” and to prepare our citizens to work for “understanding, cooperation, and world peace” (Global Education: A Call to Action, 2008). MASS encourages schools to include a global perspective in all aspects of education, and to seek partnerships with organizations and businesses outside the schools to achieve these goals. Membership in SPN helps SPS engage in program collaborations and grant writing opportunities with other SPN Partners to provide additional multicultural and multigenerational experiences for students and staff, as well as for members of the community at large.