It is our responsibility as educators to give students the space to confidently engage in candid conversations about difficult topics. Each year, the PCD community identifies a theme to frame year-long explorations through open dialog, guest speakers, and workshops. The goal is to put relevant but oft ignored topics on the table and provide a safe, provocative environment in which to deepen understanding of the topic itself as well as the many perspectives that surround it in our school and the world. Topics like race and gender, and family and heritage color our world but rarely are afforded a forum in a school setting to discuss them freely, confront our personal biases, and openly share our different points of view. By making it OK to express a different opinion, by demonstrating what it means to be respectful of each other's differences, we ready ourselves to help make a complicated world better.
Students emerge from these year-long inquiries with unexpected outcomes—each taking away something new and unique to add to his/her own experiences. Students often discover an appreciation for someone he/she never would have taken the time to know, a commitment to social justice, and/or a new sense of belonging.
By providing varied forums for exploration and expression, everyone has a voice and is heard.