Addressing Bias and Building Community at Your School

Apr 02 2021 0 Comments


Diversity and inclusion


If there is one sentiment shared by teachers and administrators all over the world, it is that there is never enough funding for all the programs that you want to provide for the children you educate. It is a decades old problem, and it seems that budgets are decreasing at a time when children need more help than ever.

How Scott Elementary Addressed Bias Among Students

When I first met the principal of Scott Elementary School, he described his concern for students who felt like the “other” instead of included in the school community.  He shared his concerns about conflicts between students that involved biased language, and interactions between students that were prejudiced, offensive, and hurtful.

As part of their efforts to create a more positive and nurturing environment for all students, Scott Elementary School piloted my Why is Different Awesome? Social Emotional Learning Program with their 4th grade class. Their goal was to develop a community in which their diverse student body all felt included, recognized, and supported.

At the end of the program, the principal shared, "Why is Different Awesome? is an excellent complement to our existing SEL curriculum.  It not only supports individual self-reflection but it influences the way students see, understand, and value others.  It also creates space for age appropriate conversations that are quite relevant and timely on issues of diversity and inclusion."

Why Is Different Awesome? SEL Program Can Help

We are in a time when diversity and inclusion is top of mind in schools and businesses across the world. Additionally, not only have racial issues and inclusivity been at the forefront of our minds, but many kids throughout the country have spent the last year attending school at home, no longer accustomed to interacting with children outside of their immediate families or with people who look, sound, and act differently than they do. I know that many parents and educators are concerned about how students will manage after an unprecedented 12-18 months of non-traditional learning.

The Why Is Different Awesome? Social Emotional Learning  Program encourages learners to embrace their unique qualities and teaches them to respect differences in others. It teaches these concepts using a combination of discussion, journaling, and sharing, the topics explored include friendship, disability awareness, racism, bullying, and standing up for others. The expected outcome of the program is to create and cultivate a school community where students have a greater understanding of the importance of each of their peers, regardless of how different they are.

Funding for Social Emotional Learning Programs

The teachers and principal at Scott Elementary School were so pleased with the program that they wanted to expand it. The principal applied for and was awarded a Naperville Education Foundation Annual Grant in the category of Diversity and Inclusion.  As a result of this grant, all children in grades 3 through 5 will participate in the Why Is Different Awesome? Social Emotional Learning Program during the 2021-22 academic year.

I share this information with you because obtaining a grant like the Naperville Education Foundation Annual Grant is not easy to do. Earning the grant is a strong indicator of the importance of including this type of social emotional learning material into the school curriculum. It also confirms that the lessons included in the Why Is Different Awesome? Social Emotional Learning Program are truly beneficial to children when added into your school’s curriculum.

Let's schedule a time to chat about the challenges at your school related to bias among your students. During our call I will provide an overview of my program and how it will help promote an inclusive environment. I will also share funding options. To set up a time for a conversation, email me at, or click on my calendar link to set up a time for a conversation.


Stacey Montgomery
Creator, Why Is Different Awesome? Social Emotional Learning Program

@2021. Stacey Montgomery. All rights reserved.



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