Teaching children awareness of diversity in a homogeneous area

Percy L. Abram, PhD explains how his school teaches students about diversity in their community
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Teaching children awareness of diversity in a homogeneous area

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We try to teach our students about the history of the area in which they live. My community is a rather homogenous community. And we know that many of the students who come to school don't interact with students from different ethnic or racial backgrounds on a daily basis. What we do at my school is we teach them about the history of Santa Cruz, who the original families were who made up the area. We talk to them about the native populations and the interaction of Native Americans with the Spanish. And as part of that we then explore the question, well why aren't native populations part of the make up of the school presently? Santa Cruz has a really rich background of immigrants coming to the area. It had one of the largest Chinatowns on the West Coast for a number of years. And we bring in families who were part of that Chinatown to talk to our students about how their community was decimated over the years. And our students begin to realize that the land which they are inhabiting, the school which they attend now looked very different generations ago. Therefore we talk to them as they get older about how those changes came to be and what groups ultimately kept their footing in the area.

Percy L. Abram, PhD explains how his school teaches students about diversity in their community

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Percy L. Abram, PhD

Head of School

Percy Abram is the Head of Gateway School.  Gateway School is a Kindergarten – 8th grade independent school in Santa Cruz, CA.  Prior to joining Gateway School, Dr. Abram was the Upper Division Director at Brentwood School in Los Angeles.  An LA native, Dr. Abram received his B.A. (Economics) and M.A. (Education) degrees from UCLA, and his M.A. (Sociology) and Ph.D. (Education) from Stanford University.  Dr. Abram and his wife are the parents of a 10-year old daughter and 7-year old son, and despite running a school and being responsible for 260 students each day, he still finds parenting his most challenging job.

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