Social Justice Committee encourages Inclusivity
The Social Justice Committee in the Wooster City School District is a group comprised of staff members who come together to promote positive change in the schools in the district.
The committee includes representatives from WHS, Edgewood and the elementary schools, and it is headed by Jennifer Crum.
The Social Justice Committee is a part of The Wooster Way, and serves as a tool that can be used to for empower the heart, body, and mind of students, according to WHS representatives, Amanda Terakedis, administrative intern, and Julianna Hamad, guidance counselor.
This committee provides appreciation and acceptance of all students, regardless of learning disabilities, race, gender or socioeconomic status.
“The ultimate goal of the committee is to provide equitable learning environments for all students,” Molly Mahaney, special needs and intervention specialist representative said.
Ashley Heffinger, Cornerstone Elementary Intervention Specialist, says being a part of the Social Justice Committee gives her an opportunity to advocate for students and help establish equality for students in grades K-4.
“As an intervention specialist, my part is speaking up for students with learning disabilities and making sure that they are receiving high quality instruction, support within behavior and effort, and motivation to keep doing their best,” Heffinger said.
The Social Justice Committees have also formed in 28 other schools from Wayne and Stark County, including: Orrville, WCCS, Rittman, Triway, Dalton and Waynedale, according to Terakedis.
Under the District Social Justice Committee of staff members, students from WHS were picked to be involved in positive change for their own WHS Social Justice Committee, advised by Terakedis.
“Wooster High School identified our diverse subgroups of students based on socioeconomic status, gender, race, religion, etc. We then seeked out representation for each of these backgrounds by finding one student who could represent that,” Terakedis said.
The Social Justice Committee has provided valuable lessons and has helped staff members advocate for all students.
“I have always wanted to work with a district that aligns with the belief that each young person has the opportunity to thrive, given certain contextual factors are put into place…School is no longer just a place for academics, and the values of Social Justice that we endorse help us to educate students on how to treat others—even those who are not like them,” Hamad said.
The Social Justice Committee is still in the early stages and has developed a district social justice action plan that hopes to coordinate with the district’s school-wide plan, according to Heffinger.