Teacher with children

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. – Jefferson County Schools (JCS) honors the diversity, cultures, and traditions of the students and teachers who make up each school community. To celebrate that diversity and learn more about different cultures, the Cultural Unity and Equity Department (CUE) has worked with CUE school advocates and ambassadors to develop respect and civility-themed months for the 2021-2022 school year.

            Jefferson High School Junior and CUE Ambassador Solomon Logan said the hope is to reach more people than traditional Heritage Months that occur throughout the year.

           “We have a lot more diversity than just race, and with these themes, more people can fit into that box.”

           Logan said that each theme will engage schools on what civility and respect look like from different backgrounds, then encourage communities to share those ideas.

           “We have months that still focus on specific cultures,” he said. “But it will be more than just a Black History Month. We can reach a lot more people.”

           That cultural awareness is something Washington High School Junior Alina Cooper said is a priority for her.

           “I definitely want to share about my culture, and I just want to know about other people.”

           Cooper, an exchange student from Ukraine, said she was excited to be a part of this project as a CUE Ambassador.

           “I was always interested in learning about the cultures of others because I know that people who live in different countries are different from Ukraine.”

           The themes chosen for each month from October to May will honor both the differences and commonalities of participants in a way that fosters mutual understanding. Schools are encouraged to facilitate conversations and activities designed to teach more about the deeper layers of culture and diversity.

           October’s theme asks: “What do respect and civility look like to you? Here is what respect/civility looks like in my family.” Student CUE Ambassadors will focus on anti-bullying and how Mexican Americans honor their dead via Dia De Los Muertos/Day of the Dead. A complete list of each month’s theme is available online at www.jcswv.org.