Liberty’s EDUCATE creating more equity and opportunities with House system

Liberty 8th grade social studies teacher and EDUCATE sponsor Rachel Harris wanted to find a way to make House games more accessible and equitable for all students. The House System consists of eight houses at Liberty and there are often competitive games and activities to earn House points leading up to the overall House champion at the end of the year. Liberty also has an FLS (functional life skills) program and sometimes these games and activities on House days are not always easy for those students.

So, Harris went to her EDUCATE students and suggested a life size board game. Thus, Liberty Land was born.

Harris and her students worked with the FLS teachers on what would be a good board game. Together they came up with the idea of Candyland but using the House system. It was even made large enough to accommodate a wheelchair, while the colors and shapes also provide an additional educational tool.

EDUCATE students, as well as several other students, have spent 50-60 hours painting and working on the life-size board game, which will be used for House days beginning next year. The board game needs a few final touches, such as a spinner, but Harris and the students are excited about having this accessible and equitable tool that will help more students find success during House day games. They are even planning for other human size games, such as a Connect Four.

EDUCATE began with an idea and four members to create a diversity club at Liberty Middle School. Over the years it grew, and it was during the pandemic that the members decided that it was important to spread its impact to both Lincoln Middle School and the high school. They worked during the spring and summer of 2020 to develop a proposal for, then superintendent Dr. Jason Henderson, to approve the club at the other two schools.

Since 2016, the focus of the club has been to celebrate diversity and promote inclusion. This year the club began to include in its focus the idea of equity which is the heart of District 7’s mission – empowering each student to achieve personal success.

This focus on equity has led to discussions of what equity is and working toward more equitable situations in the school community.

The game board is a result of those conversations.