By Emma Castleberry
In 2018, ArtSpace Charter School in Swannanoa was designated as a No Place for Hate (NPFH) school with the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) of the Washington D.C. region. No Place for Hate is a student-driven program that happens in four phases: establishing a student committee, signing the No Place for Hate pledge, assessing the school climate and, finally, implementing activities to improve it. “The ADL offers resources and education materials to provide opportunities for students to engage deeply and meaningfully in anti-bias efforts,” says ArtSpace counselor Kira Broadwell. “ArtSpace weaves NPFH anti-bias education into the work we do school-wide.”
ArtSpace is currently in the fourth phase of the program. The student committee is planning and executing regular school-wide activities, such as the creation of a large, heart-shaped puzzle with an anti-bias term on each piece. Each classroom is discussing the terms and decorating their piece of the puzzle to be assembled and displayed. “This work is important because our students and community represent beautifully diverse and layered backgrounds,” says fifth-grade teacher Heather Burrows. “Our students deserve to learn in an environment that honors and respects where they come from, both physically and emotionally.”
The NPFH designation will align well with ArtSpace’s four pillars: respect, effort, leadership and service. “The future of NPFH will continue and refresh the ties of parent education, communicative pieces between parents/community/school staff and work on incorporating anti-bias into not only our classrooms but the overall culture of our school,” says school social worker Rachel Barlow.
“At Artspace, we see and understand that our students are the future of our community and country at large, and know with the right tools and education that we can set a precedent for respect, inclusion and equality in our society.”