PCHS Staff Commitment to Social Justice
Our vision is to become a cohesive and constructive community for students to learn who they want to be. As staff members, we are fully committed to our mission statement. Together we will cultivate an uplifting environment where students are inspired and empowered to pursue their personal aspirations. We will not tolerate and we will stand against any form of hate or discrimination based on race, ethnicity, religion, gender, abilities, sexual orientation, citizenship, or socioeconomic status. Our goal is for all students to know that they are safe, valued, and respected.
Why is Campus Unification Important?
Too many students spend their high school years feeling isolated and navigating social and educational structures that make connecting with others difficult. Many of them graduate feeling relieved that this stage of life is over. Educational experiences like this can have a long-term, negative impact on how they perceive themselves and others, and can lead them to continue choosing separation over unification in other areas of life.
This is why we facilitate discussions and activities that examine these tendencies, challenge our diverse community members to connect with each other rather than isolate themselves, and encourage every student, teacher, and administrator to participate in building a community that intentionally moves forward together. We want each student to graduate feeling supported, empowered, valued, and ready for the next stage in life. As a group, students should feel proud of themselves and the friends they have made along the way.
Community Day: Anti-Bullying
Community Day is a day where all classrooms participate in a school-wide activity geared toward social and emotional learning. Our first of topic of the year was anti-bullying. For this topic, we launched our PCHS Anti-bullying: Choose Respect Campaign Project, where students were presented with a challenge to come up with their own anti-bullying campaign, complete with a PSA and an infographic poster. Two winners will be selected to showcase their campaigns on our school’s website, campus, and at our next Community Day in November. Check out the students actively engaging in the classroom and lunch activities, as well as the info-booths hosted by our very own student leadership social justice group, Justice League, and off campus help agency, Teen Line. As a unique experience our health class participated in a Teen Line presentation lead by a teen line representative.
PD for Pali Faculty and Staff: Creating Bias-Free Classrooms
Our staff had the opportunity to experience Creating Bias-Free Classrooms as a part of their professional development. Creating Bias-Free Classrooms is a teacher-training program that uses professional youth actors and live improvisational theater to equip educators to build inclusive learning environments for students targeted by homophobia. Our teachers were inspired to practice equity and equity pedagogy skills to see first-hand how their actions could affect the simulation classroom. Teachers also heard personal testimonies from students who performed. These students were victims themselves of homophobia and shared what they think teachers could do to help similar situations for other students.
In honor of Earth Day being celebrated this coming weekend, Pali students and staff got together on Wednesday, Apr. 18, for the monthly community day. The special activity began in 3rd period classrooms, with an inspiring video of humanity and the environment, and was followed by a Pali-made video educating everyone on simple actions to be more environmentally aware and care for our planet. While the videos made students feel as if they can make an impact in the future, the main event began in the center quad as students from the EAST class sold bracelets made of recycled materials and the Pali Ambassadors encouraged students to pre-register to vote. The community day was topped off with a large whiteboard displaying the students’ promises to saving and protecting our planet, as well as a speech from Nick Melvoin.
- Katherine Veloso; Tideline
As schools across the nation made their way out of their classrooms to participate in the 17 minute national student walk-out on Mar. 14, Pali went above and beyond. With support from PCHS Administration, Justice League and Leadership joined forces once again to recognize, remember and show respect to the victims of the Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland, Florida, and to raise awareness on gun violence.
Students and teachers alike, were encouraged to walk out of their classrooms during the final 10 minutes of 1st period, to begin a march that would fill Bowdoin St. with chants and posters all demonstrating students’ demands for change. Waiting for them when they got back were booths set up for those ages 16 and above to participate in the change making process politically by registering or pre-registering to vote.
As students shared their opinions with each other, and showed off their creative posters and banners insisting that “enough is enough” and “never again”, multiple speakers, including City Council member, Mike Bonin and Westside Area Representative, Daniel Tamm, expressed their own encouragement for young people to keep advocating for the change they want to see in the world.
Justice League worked along side Human Rights Watch and Leadership to foster the new student concern form that features an outlet for students to realize their rights and voice their worries in a process that highlights the section of the Student Bill of Rights that was violated. The new form also addresses a chain of administration that the complaint has to go through to be properly recognized.
The student concern form, the monthly community events and the messages of support are all a part of Pali's mission to promote unification and satisfaction amongst the student body. - words and photos by Katherine Veloso for the Pali Tideline
Room J110 is made up of remarkable students coming from different backgrounds, ethnicities and cultures with “special needs.” Its bringing their needs and differences together that create a bond of union. “Diversity is our strength, Unity is our goal,” is the message that room J110 has promoted on their classroom door. Anyone on our campus will be able to read that message and be reminded that we have a diverse school (our strength) and we can bring that diversity together(unity) to create a bond within the Pali community. Below, the students of J110 dressed in their favorite sports gear to show Pali school spirit and support for the upcoming Special Olympics.
Justice League Dodgeball Day!
Justice League dodge ball day is now a new tradition at Pali to aid in helping to break down self-segregation on our campus. The day was a success! Students and teachers where enjoying the afternoon together listing to music and playing dodge ball!
The Justice League is a leadership organization made up of Pali’s most prominent social and cultural groups. They include the Latino Student Union (LSU), Black Student Union (BSU), Asian Student Union (ASU), Genders Sexualities Alliance (GSA), Human Rights Watch (HRW), and He for She (an intersectional feminism group). This collective was assembled to show our campus and community that our diversity is one of our greatest strengths, that we support each other, and that we are a unified front. On October 3rd, we introduced the Justice League to our campus and gave the leaders from each club a chance to introduce themselves and their mission. The Justice League will organize monthly activities designed to help break down self-segregation on our campus, and you can follow everything they put together right here!
Over the summer, Pali teachers and staff participated in a day of workshops and seminars hosted by the Museum of Tolerance that provided training on how to promote inclusion, appreciate diversity, and intentionally build community together.