Everyone is Welcome at Creekside
“Everyone is welcome here,” reads a display in the hallway across from the library at Creekside Elementary School. “In (the) library, we share similarities and celebrate our differences.”
The bulletin board is filled with welcoming phrases in about 40 languages, penned by teacher librarian Julie Siefkes. The display also includes interesting facts about some of the languages, and is bordered by flags from many countries.
“So many kids walk by and say ‘That’s my language,’” Siefkes said. “When one of our new students from the Ukraine noticed this,” she continued, pointing to the Ukrainian flag, “his reaction almost made me cry.”
Among the languages featured on the display are Polish, Romanian, Dutch, Italian, French, Mandarin, Korean, Hawaiian, Ukrainian, Spanish, Japanese, Urdu, Turkish, Arabic, Hindi, Amharic, Telugu, Swedish, Bengali, Irish and more.
“At Creekside, we are fortunate to have families and students who speak approximately 20 different languages,” Principal Amy Allison said. “We embrace our diversity especially through morning announcements, when students share different celebrations in which they participate; and through special events like our Cultural Night hosted by our PTSA. These opportunities allow us to learn from each other.”
Across the district this year, families have shared that they speak 28 languages in addition to English. Like Creekside, many of our buildings throughout the district have signs, displays and art in multiple languages, as well as flags from countries around the globe.
Above, the bulletin board in the downstairs hallway at Creekside Elementary. Below, Siefkes stands with the display that she created.
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