Seal of Excellence

Seal of Excellence

“HRC’s Welcoming Schools permits us to envision our students as their best selves now and also who they will be 15 years from now, as they are leaders in academics but also in their communities.”

- Heidi Johnson, Educator, Hiawatha Leadership Academy

What is the Seal of Excellence?

Schools that prove themselves to be exemplary in implementing the HRC Welcoming Schools approach can earn the Seal of Excellence by completing the required benchmarks.

Who Has Received The Seal of Excellence?

  • Acorn Woodland Elementary School (Oakland, CA)
  • Berkeley Arts Magnet (Berkeley, CA)
  • Brouillet Elementary School (Puyallup, WA)
  • Carver Elementary School (Maplewood, MN)
  • Castle Elementary (North St. Paul, MN)
  • Garden Oaks Montessori Magnet (Houston, TX)
  • Hiawatha Leadership Academy (Minneapolis, MN)
  • J.J. Hill Montessori (St. Paul, MN)
  • John F. Kennedy School (Boston, MA)
  • Malcolm X Elementary School (Berkeley, CA)
  • Mesa Elementary (Boulder, CO)
  • Mirror Lake Elementary School (Plantation, FL)
  • Schenk Elementary School (Madison, WI)
  • Nuestro Mundo Community School (Madison, WI)
  • Gardner Pilot School (Boston, MA)

How Does My School Receive The Seal of Excellence?

Schools earning the Welcoming Schools Seal of Excellence (SOE) will demonstrate, with documentation, the following benchmarks: 

1. Policies and Procedures

Policies/regulations/procedures are in place and enumerated to include all aspects of diversity. This may be done on local, district and/or state levels.

2. Leadership Team

Welcoming Schools Leadership Team is established or integrated into an existing committee. The Leadership Team will include a cross-section of the school community including administration, classroom teachers, non-instructional staff and possibly family members. The team will meet monthly during the academic year.

3. Staff Development

School staff must complete the following Welcoming Schools modules:

  • Creating LGBTQ Inclusive Schools
  • Embraciong Family Diversity
  • Creating Gender Inclusive Schools
  • Preventing Bias-Based Bullying
  • Supporting Transgender and Non-Binary Students
  • Intersectionality: School Practices with an Intersectional Lens
  • Welcoming Schools Law and Policy Review

Staff development sessions will take place over a period of 1-3 years and must be delivered by an authorized Welcoming Schools Facilitator.

4. Planned Lessons or Activities

Annually, every student in the school must be provided with a minimum of three Welcoming Schools lessons, books or activities as a part of the structured curriculum.

5. Bulletin Boards/Newsletters

School will have ongoing public displays (bulletin boards, newsletters, and artwork portraying Welcoming Schools' themes such as “Love Makes a Family”, “Be Who You Are” or “Ally Superheroes”. 

6. Family Nights

School will host, minimally, one Family Night, for family/community members sharing the Welcoming Schools approach through panels, movies, book readings and information sessions.

7. Books and Resources

Books from Welcoming Schools bibliographies are publicly available to all students in the library/media center and classrooms.

8. School Climate Assessment

A Welcoming Schools Climate Assessment will be used to gauge the success of developing a more inclusive school by working with the HRC Welcoming Schools program.  

9. Additional Artifacts

Demonstration of larger community-based support for this effort.

Download PDF of Benchmarks