Posted: Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Berea Middle School has been named this year’s recipient of the William “Bill” T. Wylie VALUED Lives Award for School Excellence in Diversity. The award is presented by the Greenville Chamber of Commerce and the Riley Institute at Furman in partnership with Upstate Chambers. This is the first year an award has been presented to a K-12 school.

The VALUED Lives Award recognizes excellence in diversity by acknowledging six valued practices:

V—encouraging value for personal expression and experience
A—fostering awareness and self-reflection
L—promoting learning and inclusive teaching
U—uniting communities by involvement and service
E—demonstrating equity in the school’s programs, staff, and practices
D—engaging in continuous dialogue and meaningful interactions

Berea Middle School utilizes a wide variety of activities that promote the inclusion and involvement of all students. The Second Step Bullying Awareness Prevention Program educates students about statistics related to bullying as well as gives them tools and resources to prevent bullying among their peers. Project Assist is a club in which students are paired with a trainable mentally disabled student to serve as mentors. My Sisters and Me club promotes communication, friendship, and understanding among females from all cultural and ethnic backgrounds.

Staff members must complete Capturing Kids’ Hearts training to make them aware of the many challenges students face and how best to communicate with them. The Title I office also offers regular informational meetings with Hispanic parents to keep them actively involved. The Title I program offers a weekend backpack food program so that students have food while they are not at school.
Berea Middle recently implemented its own Berea Bulldog Growl news show, produced entirely by students who represent the many different ethnic groups within the school. Also, the school has a full-time Hispanic Parent Involvement Coordinator. The Bike Club allows students who are identified as at-risk to participate in weekly bike rides with adult mentors that not only teaches life skills, but builds their self-confidence.

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