Kallenbach creates IA club as place to discuss diversity

Counsel 1A was established at the beginning of the year among several staff as an approach to civilly discuss racial, financial, and other social issues with students who might be affected.
The group was formed by Social Studies teacher Nicole Kallenbach.
“Counsel 1A is a group of teachers that would like to make sure that everybody feels welcome in our school. We formed it at the beginning of the year, just trying to figure out how welcome people feel, if there are any concerns, whether that deals with race, money, etc.,” Kallenbach said.
The 1A group had plans to organize into a club allowing students to join under Kallenbach and other staff member’s mentorship starting next year.
“We have decided if we really want to create change, we want students to get involved. What we are looking at doing is forming a club with students [that] will begin next year,” Kallenbach said.
1A counsel decided the group would be of more benefit if both teachers and students were involved. Kallenbach and other members planned to form the club into a more inclusive environment, inviting students to join in on discussions. 1A was an abbreviation for First Amendment in order to base the clubs ideal around free speech. The club intends to be a safe place for students to feel comfortable discussing social, economic, or any other related differences.
“We didn’t really know what direction we were headed in when we first started it, we just knew as teachers, we wanted to make it better. We’ve met a few times and have spoken to a few students that have some concerns,” she said.
Kallenbach and fellow council members understand that there are steps in creating a welcoming, comfortable space for students to discuss sensitive topics.
“We just want people to feel welcome. There’s kind of two parts to that. One part is educating students and faculty on different types of students that go here and educating them on how we make everybody feel welcome and then the other part of it is to make sure that once people are educated, they act on that education. We want to help students if they feel like they’re not being treated well. We want to be able to step in and mediate those situations too,” Kallenbach said.
1A Counsel had planned to have a fishbowl discussion with students the first Friday after Spring Break.
The idea was to determine a direction for the group.That will now have to wait until Fall.
“The first Friday after Spring Break, we’re going to have a panel of students get together and talk about some topics to investigate some of our issues,” Kallenbach said. Story was supposed to appear in March issue.