WEAC’s Great Schools Cultural Exhibit


Award of Excellence
WSPRA Cultural Diversity Communication Program

This program was a 2004 Spectrum Award-winning Cultural Diversity Program. For further details about the program contact, Anne Eagen-Waukau, WEAC Media Consultant, 262-789-6000, waukaua@weac.org.

Local school districts were required to include the provisions of Wisconsin Senate Bill 31 (biennial budget) in their local school curriculum by September 1, 1991. As part of the curriculum effort, the legislation required that the state superintendent of schools develop a curriculum for grades four through twelve on Chippewa treaty rights, in cooreration with the American Indian Language and Culture Education Board.

Three additional requirements which affect local school districts and teacher training institutions were also part of the initiative. One required that local school boards provide an instructional program at all grade levels designed to give pupils an understanding of human relations, particularly with regard to African Americans, Hispanics, and American Indians. The second required post-secondary teacher training institutions to include the study of Wisconsin Indian history, culture, and tribal sovereignty as part of the human relations code requirement for teacher licensing, beginning July 1, 1992. The third statutory provision, included in the 20 Standards (i.e. part of DPI’s audit on public schools), required each school district to include instruction on tribal groups in Wisconsin, twice at the elementary level and once at the secondary level, commencing Sept. 1, 1991.

The Wisconsin Education Association Council’s Human Relations Committee developed a resource catalog to provide educators with easily available and professional development materials that can be borrowed without cost for use in teacher in-service, discussion groups, and classroom settings.

The Wisconsin Education Association Counsil was given the opportunity to exhibit, for free, at the opening night of Peter Buffet’s “Sprit – The Seventh Fire,” at Milwaukee’s Lakefront. We had one day to plan an exhibit and gather materials, with the focus being Native Americans. This was accomplished by tapping into the resources of WEAC’s Human Relations Committee, which works diligently in getting information out to teachers through its resource catalog on a variety of issues, including educating students about Wisconsin’s Native American people. We were able to obtain already printed copies of the catalog, as well as print outs of the Native American Education Portion of the information offered on WEAC’s web site. We also were able to obtain the committee’s posters of eminent Native Americans that were used on the Great Schools display, as well as samples of the materials offered. We also posted a photo and short story about the event on our web site.

The evaluation was based on the comments from people who stopped by and the quantity of materials taken – about 100. We also have requests coming in via our web site. We were also asked to exhibit at the event a second time.

About the author

The Wisconsin School Public Relations Association (WSPRA) is a professional association representing schools, school districts, educational associations, consulting agencies and organizations. WSPRA is a state affiliate of the National School Public Relations Association (NSPRA). 4797 HAYES ROAD | SUITE 103 | MADISON, WI 53704 | PHONE: 608-241-0300 | WSPRA@AWSA.ORG