Walter R. Sundling Junior High School, (Palatine, IL). Walter R. Sundling Junior High is one of the first schools in the district and the state to adopt and implement Culturally and Linguistically Responsive Teaching (CLR). As a racially diverse school, Sundling’s strength is its many cultures as well as the diversity of languages spoken.
In an effort to increase our teachers’ abilities to validate and affirm their students’ home cultures, the school continues to provide CLR training over the last two years. Teachers have become skilled in building communities in their classes based on the Rings of Culture, including race, ethnicity, gender, orientation, religion, age, socioeconomic status, and nationality. This has enabled Sundling teachers to have the difficult conversations that have been imperative for students’ identities, connection, and well-being.
At Sundling, accepting individual differences extends well beyond multi-cultural nights, it is a way of conducting oneself on a daily basis. We work with our students, using CLR methodology, to see how differences in one another do not make one person right and the other person wrong – quite the contrary. Our students learn that differences are related to that person’s circles of culture, and everyone has the right to be validated and affirmed.
In conjunction with the district, Sundling has worked to provide age-appropriate learning activities which help students express their concerns about inequality and civil unrest in a safe environment. We also have provided families with talking points and resources to address concerns at various grade levels. Our clinicians are on hand to individually address students who have concerns and or anxiety related to ongoing unrest.