History of the Americas Class Launches PSAs to Promote Culture Change

Autumn Blackwell, Junior

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Students in Mr. Craig Maki’s International Baccalaureate History of the Americas course are working to promote positive school culture change at Kenwood High School this school year.

Students in a national survey identified common issues that are present in all school climates. Some of these issues identified in the survey were fights, cutting class, bullying, and lack of respect as just a few of the issues that affect a school’s social culture. These issues can affect student-teacher interactions, student-student interactions, and parent-teacher interactions.

Students in Kenwood’s IB “History of the Americas” course  are looking to be proactive in addressing these universal themes. The IB students will create public service announcements about school climate to run during the morning announcements throughout second quarter.

“Students disruptive in the halls and classroom are disruptive to the students passionate about learning,” said junior Anthony Luckart, a student in the IB program.

Their project is based on the review of an online survey called “Youth Truth” that 1,000 high school students from all over the country responded to. The IB students are focusing on issues that they feel are relevant to Kenwood High School and are excited to be a part of the growing positive environment and image here at Kenwood.

The IB students targets goals are peer mediation, a student counselor hotline for students to call when they do not feel comfortable speaking to an adult, and suggestions on how to respond to disagreements and fights between students to help solve rather than create more problems.

“A positive school culture can encourage greater effort and productivity, improve collegial collaboration for both students and staff, support successful change, build commitment and pride of students and teachers for our school,” said Principal Brian Powell. “We have made great progress over the last few years in building our positive school culture and I am very grateful and appreciative for the team of students and teachers we are building here at KHS!”

These issues don’t only affect the students and their learning; they also affect the teachers and their teaching.

“When a teacher is distracted addressing negative issues in the school it takes away from the quality learning time of the other students that are there to engage in their learning.” said Mrs. Glenn, a teacher at Kenwood High School.

Addressing these issues and bringing about positive school culture changes could be the start of a new era—for the school and community, but also an encouragement for other schools to follow Kenwood’s lead in being proactive in building positive school climates.

“We want to create a warmer environment so students do better in school now and in life later,” said junior Angela Atkisson, an IB student.

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History of the Americas Class Launches PSAs to Promote Culture Change