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ERIC Number: EJ762400
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2007-May
Pages: 9
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 25
ISSN: ISSN-0094-0771
Student Theater Confronts Controversy to Create Safer Middle School Communities
Shollenberger, Kathy
Middle School Journal (J3), v38 n5 p32-40 May 2007
In middle schools, teachers and administrators talk quite a lot about changing school climate. Because the age is a difficult one, the adult vision of change can vary: a school without bullies, without homophobia or sexism or racism, a school in which students take the lead, a school which functions as a genuine community. This is important conversation, but the author states that she has often been frustrated by the lack of concrete success, whatever the reason--student or adult resistance, an already jam-packed plate of activities and missions, or lack of follow-through. Safe Place Theater (SPT), a student theater troupe with climate change as its agenda, restored the author's faith in the possibility of measurable progress. SPT took root in an environment more fertile than average. Georgetown Day School (GDS), a mission-driven independent school in Washington, D.C., was founded in 1942 as the first racially integrated school in the district. GDS has a long history of encouraging all members of its community to question their assumptions, challenge stereotypes, and work for social justice. In this article, the author describes how SPT successfully changes the school climate at GDS with regard to controversial issues, particularly gender and sexual orientation. (Contains 1 figure.)
National Middle School Association. 4151 Executive Parkway Suite 300, Westerville, OH 43081. Tel: 800-528-6672; Tel: 800-528-6672; Fax: 614-895-4750; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Middle Schools
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: District of Columbia