HCPSS Cultural Proficiency Reaches Across the Country

Carolyn Devlin joined Glenelg High School as a counselor three years ago. She became a counselor to further pursue the relationship building, communication skill development and conflict resolution aspects of her previous roles in sales and customer service. Here she blogs about her son’s cultural proficiency experiences as an Atholton High School student, and how he is continuing to take part in similar initiatives in college.

I wanted to share my enthusiasm for the work that the HCPSS Cultural Proficiency team has been doing. Their impact recently had a ripple effect across the country in Boulder, Colorado.

My son, Rogan Devlin, a 2016 graduate of Atholton High School, was invited during his senior year to participate in the pilot Student Voice Circle program at his school by Atholton counselor Phil Cohen and teacher Jennifer Street. Over this last summer, Rogan also participated on a student panel at the two-day HCPSS summer conference “Student Voice for Inclusion and Equity.” These experiences were extremely positive for Rogan and encouraged new and respectful relationships with unfamiliar peers and staff members.

Recently I flew out to Colorado to be with Rogan, now a freshman at the University of Colorado Boulder, for his 19th birthday. He shared that in lieu of his regularly scheduled journalism class the week prior, the professor invited students to attend an on-campus symposium on cultural proficiency and the current campus culture. In one of the sessions, the topic of raising cultural awareness and acceptance on Boulder’s campus was discussed. Rogan shared his experiences with Student Voice at Atholton and the summer conference with the audience. As fate would have it, the event organizer was sitting in on that breakout session and was inspired by Rogan’s story. After the session she asked Rogan if he would participate on a student panel to create a similar initiative on campus as Howard County’s Student Voice model.

This new opportunity for my son, and potentially his school, is a direct result of the great work that the HCPSS Cultural Proficiency team is doing. This team is modeling cultural sensitivity and excellence in equity and inclusion for school system employees, giving us the tools to take back to our school communities, supporting our implementation efforts, and making its way across the country to the Boulder campus community.