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A curriculum developed by four graduates of the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh College of Education and Human Services’ Master’s in Educational Leadership program has been recognized by Wisconsin State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Evers with a “Standing Up for Rural Wisconsin Schools, Libraries, and Communities” Award.

The curriculum is among ten projects recognized by Evers, all of which serve to bring people together to improve life in their rural communities.

Developed by Jamie Bartol ’08, Penny Graham’08, Jen Kouba’08, and Kelley Thrasher’08, all Berlin Area School District first-grade teachers, the “We Are More than a Flesh Colored Crayon” curriculum was designed to reflect the changes in their rural community.

Through this social-action-infused curriculum, first-grade students were given an expanded outlook on issues of diversity and community and were exposed to relevant social issues at an appropriate level. Additionally, the teachers were able to model a social action approach for other grade levels.

The curriculum project also helped create mentorships and partnerships in the school, library and community through enhanced educational opportunities, service-learning opportunities and increased community awareness of bullying, diversity and acceptance.

“The challenge of dealing with issues of social justice is often viewed as unique in rural schools, but it is a challenge we must all address for the sake of equality,” said Marguerite Parks, associate dean of the College of Education and Human Services, who nominated the teachers for the award. “These teachers have not only transformed their curriculum to be truly social-action-oriented, they have taken a stand for an education that is inclusive of all students.”