Heritage Panel starts with a fun yet intensive two-day training where a diverse group of 25 to 30 students and two to five teachers or administrators make a commitment to discouraging bullying, harassment and discrimination at their school.
Over the course of the training, teachers and students will discuss important but often ignored issues that affect their school experience, such as cliques, race, gender, cultural backgrounds and exclusion. Deep discussion, plus fun games and team building exercises, bring the group closer. Faces in the crowd become friends by the close of the second day.
Heritage Panel is an ideal way to empower middle school or high school students to be leaders in making their school a more welcoming, inclusive place. Additionally, educators get crucial support and new tools to teach conflict management.
Following the training, Heritage Panelists share what they have learned through presentations given to their classmates. Heritage Panelists share their personal experiences, and a teacher-moderated discussion with the audience follows. Students are challenged to think about how their actions affect school culture, and what steps they can take to change their school for the better.
Many schools have a Heritage Panel Club that meets regularly. Heritage Panelists become positive role models within the school and are often sought out by other students as confidants or mentors in dealing with issues at school. In the past presentations have been given to an assortment of classes across grade levels andsubject areas, to the PTA and to community organizations.
The Heritage Panel program is facilitated and coordinated by AmeriCorps members.
For more information about the AmeriCorps program, visit their website.
For more information about Heritage Panel, check out this video.