HONORING THE DIVERSE BODY OF CHRIST

As a Christian institution with a Christ-centered mission, Mount Paran Christian School believes it is our biblical obligation to lead our students in modeling all that Jesus has commanded in Mark 12:30-31. 

 

Diversity Teachers

 

WHAT IS CommUNITY?

MPCS is committed to becoming an environment diverse and inclusive in a way that reflects God’s Kingdom. Human and financial resources are allocated to assist in establishing leadership, driving professional development, and cultivating a Christ-centered environment both welcoming and nurturing. 

The efforts to date include the following:

  • participation in race awareness workshops
  • increased hiring of diverse leadership and staff to guide school efforts
  • establishment of a taskforce to develop awareness, understanding, and action strategies
  • engaging a consultant research group to gather and analyze community data
  • collaborating with other schools
  • development of culturally relevant field trips
  • investment of taskforce time in researching purpose-driven literature and films
  • raising student awareness of the international student experience in our culture

 

Diversity at MPCS

 

PARTNERSHIP IN Community education

DiversityHS civilrights teachers.jpgThrough a three-year relationship with the Center for Civil and Human Rights, MPCS teachers and administrators from various divisions attended an all-day workshop conducted by Teaching Tolerance, called "Confronting Implicit Bias: Facilitating Difficult Conversations in the Classroom,’"about race and racism. The workshop tackled the importance of identity, assessed comfort level in talking about race, prompted awareness of our own implicit bias, and gave tools and resources to facilitate healthy conversations with others.  

This workshop was the first of many that MPCS faculty and staff will attend. The center will also host MPCS seminars and opportunities for students and families to visit and learn more about diversity and inclusion in our country and the world. 

Watch this student-led morning devotion on Colossians 3:12-14 and how we are ALL made in God's image.

Curriculum Connections

In order for our students to thrive in a multicultural world they must learn, understand, and come to appreciate the impact of culture itself. As a school we are dedicated to building a more multicultural curriculum that prepares our students for global citizenship and helps them to understand the significant historical experiences and basic cultural patterns of different ethnic groups. Our curriculum looks to address contemporary issues and the social problems confronting them, while also exploring the experience and personal lives of the different individuals and/or groups these issues and problems effect. 

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Spanish

In Mrs. Coleman’ s Spanish 3 course, students discuss and utilize data collected by the Pew Institute to discover and gain an accurate portrayal of what it means to be Latino in the United States. Students hear varying perspectives from Latinos with different cultural backgrounds to understand the complexity of defining the Latino as a single group while noting the cultural, racial, and linguistic diversity. Students are also able to dscuss how Latino culture is impacting mainstream American culture.

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History

In Mrs. Stilz’s “History Through Film” class, students are able to take a look at the various perspectives of history not evident in a textbooks alone. Using the 2016 documentary 13th directed by Ava DuVernay, students analyze the 13th Amendmet while specifically addressing the clause that states: “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.” Students receive a different look at the meaning, intentions, and effects of the abolishment of slavery from first-hand viewpoints and develop a true revelation of the nation’s history of racial inequality.

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Social Studies

Through a collaboration of Kindergarten, 5th grade Social Studies, and 12th grade Honors Government classes, students come together to learn about and celebrate the blessings of immigration, citizenship, ethnic groups, and the challenges that developed during the early 1900s in the United States. During this collaboration students demonstrate flexibility, collaboration, risk taking, and formed relationships across grade levels, race, gender, and ethnic backgrounds.
 

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Literature

Our 11th grade American Literature curriculum challenges our students to consider the topic of race in America. This is accomplished through the study of literature from a variety of diverse perspectives beginning with the oral traditions of Native Americans to the early slave narratives of Olaudah Equiano to the abolitionist narratives of Frederick Douglass. Female authors and poets are also analyzed and their gender-specific challenges are explored. The culminating activity is the grade-level analysis of Lorene Cary’s Black Ice and the correlating panel discussions with members of the minority community. The ultimate goal is to foster a “boundary-free” environment where genuine conversation can occur between people willing to respect one another, honor legitimate inquiry into a challenging topic, and commit to an open-minded willingness to walk in another person’s shoes. From this, growth as people and as Christians is an inevitable outcome.

International Fair Photo
CommUNITY logo image

 

“‘And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ The second is this, ‘you shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”

—Mark 12:30-31

What is the CTF?

The CommUNITY Task Force (CTF) consists of MPCS faculty and staff members who represent the various disciplines and divisions in the school community. The taskforce is led by Catina Taliaferro, Director of Diversity and Inclusion. CTF has developed a multiphase plan focused on ensuring our school community is united as it seeks to represent the Body of Christ:

  • collecting data from the MPCS community to identify opportunities to strengthen cultural unity
  • evaluating institutional practices, policies, curriculum, and traditions to ensure they are welcoming and inclusive with no unintentional bias
  • identifying and implementing ongoing training to equip faculty, staff, and other constituencies
  • formulating messages which value cultural differences
MPCS CTF leadership
CTF Members:
  • Jill Brown

  • Dr. Deborah Davis
  • Stephanie Dunn
  • Joel Hazard
  • Reggie LaGrone
  • Viola Lussier
  • Kathleen McCook
  • Julie Ray
  • Catina Taliaferro
  • Alison Wilbur
  • Maria Williams

diversity-and-inclusion Ethnicity at MPCS
Quilt of a Country MPCS mural

MPCS Diversity Initiatives:

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International Fair

Held bi-annually, our community comes together to celebrate the cultural diversity amongst the families of MPCS. The International Fair includes more than 20 family-hosted booths representing various countries with samples of unique foods, crafts, dances, music, and traditions. Students have the opportunity to "travel" with a passport through the countries represented among the exhibits. In addition, many of our grade levels perform cultural songs and dances that reflect the rich diversity that make up our school community

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Quilt of a Country

Ninth grade English read Anna Quindlen's "Quilt of a Country" and John F. Kennedy's "The Immigrant Contribution". These essays were combined with a survey on common myths about immigration in America. 

Currently, the largest immigrant population is from Mexico, and students studied the ways in which Hispanics are enriching both the culture and the economy in the US. Additionally, students were given the task of identifying key infrastructures in this country built by immigrants. Discussion in class centered around the idea that every citizen is an immigrant.

Each student created a "quilt square" to celebrate his own unique identity and culture, and the quilt squares were put together to create a unified quilt. The quilt is a beautiful metaphor for the celebration of both identity and culture; it is a visual representation of Leviticus 19:34.

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National Art Honor Society

As part of our school’s participation in National Hispanic Heritage Month (September 15-October 15), MPCS art students spent many hours studying and emulating Hispanic artists Frida Kahlo, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Cundo Bermudez, Tarsilla do Amaral, and others. 

Student art representing these artists were displayed in the lobby of the Mulkey Building as a culmination of their studies. Each piece was accompanied by a short bio on the artist, explaining the style and background.
 
In addition to this gallery of art, the students also participated in the 2017 Marietta Chalkfest where they recreated a masterpiece of Mexican artist Frida Kahlo. Student artists worked tirelessly with chalk from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. on their beautiful rendition. Their remarkable efforts resulted in placing third in the 2017 Marietta Chalkfest!
 
“At MPCS we strive to include all aspects of our school in the Visual Arts work we put forth,” said Jill Hooley, high school art teacher. “These pieces encompass what MPCS is all about, celebrating diversity and cultures as well as fellowship amongst our students and community!”
 
National Hispanic Heritage Month is celebrated each fall, recognizing and highlighting the contributions made by and the importance of Hispanic and Latino Americans to the United.

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"Students With King" Field Trip

Our U.S. history students attended the annual “Students With King” fieldtrip at the Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change in Atlanta.  It was a powerful morning filled with tours of Ebenezer Baptist Street Church and MLK’s childhood home. The event included a question and answer session with a panel of Civil Rights leaders and family members. Students received a blessing of lessons discovering King’s philosophy of nonviolence and the importance of “Agape Love,” or the love of God operating in the human heart, used as a weapon against evil and injustice. 

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Diversity Roundtable

MPCS partnered with Prestonwood Academy and Grace Community School (both in Texas) to co-host a national Diversity Roundtable workshop for Christian schools across the country. 

"Christian Schools Together in Conversation" was a two-day event held on the campus of Prestonwood Christian Academy in Plano, Texas. Speakers for the event helped provide participants with specific plans of establishing and maintaining a diversity program in their school community. These experts in the field provided excellent training and a platform for Christian educators to dialogue and work together in valuing the diversity of the Body of Christ.

We are proud of the part MPCS played in making this event possible and look forward next year's event.

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International Students

Mount Paran Christian School welcomes international students each year who are interested in joining the MPCS community, culminating in graduation. We open our doors to students who are eager to engage in the school’s programs and who will embrace the opportunities available in academics, athletics, and the arts.

With 10 years of experience working with international students, MPCS international graduates have continued their education at many excellent U.S. colleges and universities as well as those abroad.  

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Professional Development

Members of the CTF as well as many other staff and faculty will be participating in diversity and professional development seminars, conferences, and webinars during the school year. These include but are not limited to:

September 20 - Teaching Social Justice 101
November 2 - Facilitating Critical Conversations
February 21 - Teaching Tolerance Curriculum
April 18 - Facilitating Critical Conversations

MLK Field Trip