Step 2: The Diversity Committee
If you want to go fast go alone, if you want to go far go together
Step 2 Goals…
- Find parents, staff and students willing to take part in a Diversity Committee
- Have your first Diversity Committee meeting
- Get the committee working well together
- Meet monthly to oversee and deliver the programme
What is the Diversity Committee?
The Diversity Committee is a group of people (usually 8-12 people) who meet each month to guide the Yellow Flag programme in your school. The committee should be made up of representatives from the staff, students and parents in the school. It is great to include people from diverse cultural backgrounds as well as students from the dominant cultural group, so they can learn from each other. Ensure that young people take up leadership roles on the committee. You could include…
- Students of different classes, age groups and abilities
- Students from diverse cultural backgrounds
- Students from the dominant cultural group
- Teachers of different subjects
- The school Principal and Link Teacher
- Parents from diverse cultural backgrounds and the dominant cultural group
- The Home School Liaison Officer
- Special needs assistants
- Members of the Board of Management
- A local community group representative (e.g. from a Traveller or other ethnic group organisation)
Get in touch with the Yellow Flag office to discuss the make-up of your Diversity Committee. Schools can aim to have 6-10 students, 2-3 parents, 1-2 community reps, 2-3 teaching/support staff. In the past including students from 4th Class (in primary school) and 1st year (in secondary school) in the Diversity Committee appears to work best. In this way, when final year students leave the committee, there are still students on it that know the ropes.
Why do we need people from culturally diverse backgrounds on the Diversity Committee?
Our culture, beliefs and background help make up who we are. We see the world in a certain way because of the experiences we have had. For example, while it is normal for some people to eat rice for breakfast, it is normal for others to eat cornflakes! Sometimes it is hard for us to know or understand different peoples’ culture, as we are so used to our own ways of doing things.
Inviting people from diverse cultural backgrounds helps open our eyes to the experiences, beliefs and ways of others. They can tell us things we don’t already know! From each other we can learn how to include everyone and value what each person has to offer. When schools help students to believe that they are important, then students are more willing to build pride in the school and pride in themselves.
Why we need to include people from the dominant cultural group on the Diversity Committee
Including students whose families have a long history of living in Ireland is also important as they too have a culture to celebrate and lots to learn about other cultures. They have a crucial role to play in building support for the programme within the dominant cultural group. Including them can allow for real intercultural communication about the issues that are important to all of the school’s communities and how to address them.
Who could we ask to join our Diversity Committee?
How will we get people to take part?
The best way is to go out there and ask them! When you let people know about the Yellow Flag programme (Step 1) put the idea in their heads, then see who would be willing to join. There are lots of ways you can do this …
- Put a sign up on the Yellow Flag Noticeboard asking people to join
- Send out letters or texts to parents
- Phone or chat to key people that you think could help
- Recruit students to tell others about it
- Make Yellow Flag meetings fun and different
- Value peoples time, offer some snacks or drinks at meetings
- Reward special efforts made by team members
How will we get good people to take part in our Diversity Committee?
How can we get the committee to work well together?
Committee meetings work well when ….
- People can get to know each other and feel relaxed
- Everyone knows and understands what the committee is doing
- Each person can have a chance to talk
- People listen to each other
- A plan (or agenda) is made for the meeting
- A leader (or chairperson) takes charge of the meeting. He or she can help people to stay on track and ensure that everyone has a chance to speak.
- A record (called minutes) of the meeting is written
- The work of the committee is taken seriously and acted on by school leadership
- The meeting is at a time that suits most people
- Meetings don’t go on too long! (30-60 minutes)
Ask the committee members– pair and share!
What can I give?
What will help us to work well together?
A Yellow Flag Worker from the Irish Traveller Movement will come to your first meeting to help you get going – get in touch with the Yellow Flag office to arrange a date.