The No Place for Hate Excellence Awards were created for those schools that excel in helping to create a culture that is safe and welcoming for all. This may be based on a specific activity or a year-long culmination of activities that significantly impacted their school community. It may also be based on the commitment they have made to the No Place for Hate framework, whether it is their 14th year or the first. Congratulations to our 2021-2022 recipients: Belleview Elementary School, Lucile Erwin Middle School and Highlands Ranch High School.
Belleview Elementary School (Cherry Creek Public Schools) – is a first year No Place for Hate School. However, the work to get to this place started a few years ago. With the help of Belleview’s parent/caregiver-run Diversity and Inclusion Committee, school leaders were seeking a means to meet the purpose of building “relationships with families, administrators, and students so that all voices are heard, acknowledged, and respected [and to] highlight the beauty of [their] diverse school, and create a positive learning environment where all students feel included.” They agreed that No Place for Hate was the way to go.
With superspeed, teachers Jennifer Gorjidooz, Aimee Youngblood, and Cody Saroni joined forces to guide the amazing 40-plus students on the No Place for Hate committee in creating activities that would lead them to their mission of inclusion. Highlights included participation in the No Place for Hate Kick-off Event which featured author Amanda Gorman, as well as Inclusion Week in which meaningful discussion, one of No Place for Hate’s main goals, was focused upon. You can sense the high level of commitment to this goal by students and staff when you hear that “[m]any students on the committee noted that when they went to present information in the classrooms that many teachers opened up conversations with the committee members and the class.”
“Winning this award is such an honor and complete surprise to all of us and for myself and the teachers that have led this work, we feel humbled by this because this is the work of our students. So, allowing our students to bask in the experience winning something that they designed and embraced is just wonderful. We don’t feel like this was the work of the adults, but our students.” Principal Dulsky
Lucile Erwin Middle School (Thompson School District) – is a twelfth year No Place for Hate School. The list of reasons why Lucile Erwin is receiving a No Place for Hate Excellence Award is quite long. Not only has Lucile Erwin Middle School demonstrated merit in their No Place for Hate activities this school year, we are also recognizing the longevity of NPFH at Lucile Erwin and that the work there is an exemplar of creating, promoting, and maintaining a school community that values inclusivity, empathy, and safety for all of those connected to the school. NPFH at Lucile Erwin has been implemented with care, purpose, and creativity consistently for 12 years.
For six of these 12 years, Julinda Dixon, Director of Choirs and Drama, has proven invaluable to Lucile Erwin’s work in truly showing that their school is, indeed, No Place for Hate. Beyond providing her expertise to ensure that activities are differentiated and educationally sound, she makes certain that the No Place for Hate student committee do the bulk of the work. “Have faith that your students will be the leaders of this group, you will just facilitate. Listen to them, use their ideas. You’ll be amazed what kids can do when they have the chance to lead! Wouldn’t we all like to live in a better world? No Place for Hate helps teach us all how to make that more of a reality.”
Highlands Ranch High School (Douglas County School District) – is in their third year as a No Place for Hate School. Propelled by a now-graduated student, No Place for Hate at Highlands Ranch High School was, is, and always will be student-led. Surrounded by baddies attempting to rid the community of equitable educational and inclusionary practices, the No Place for Hate heroes at Highlands Ranch High School, guided by sponsors Georgina Quintana, Gina Bernacci , and Principal Dr. Christopher Page, have combined their unique powers to promote and maintain a safe and welcoming culture. Team Falcon, like the animal that gives them their name, is fast moving, can rapidly change direction, and has exceptional powers of vision.
The purpose and power of implementing No Place for Hate at Highlands Ranch High School is said best by Dr. Chris Page, Principal, “What an amazing tool NPFH provides, for kids to come home and have ongoing discussions with their families, with their communities about the discussions they started at their school. Sometimes parents struggle, I know, because I’m a parent, on how to engage your kids in those deeper conversations, those deeper dialogues, but NPFH creates such a safe space at schools, that now that dialogue can begin in schools, continue at home and continue to grow.”