When we are not intentional about creating a sense of belonging at school, it is as if we are bringing boxed macaroni to a potluck. No effort or personal touch to contribute meaningfully to the shared experiences of the school community. Ultimately, the absence of intentional effort can result in a less inclusive, less vibrant, and less welcoming school environment.
Potluck gatherings are about sharing the best each person has to offer. When you bring something to a potluck, you want it to be the best mac and cheese or fried chicken anyone's ever had. It's a chance for everyone to contribute the best parts of their culture, unique and delightful, for everyone to enjoy. Are our classrooms welcoming enough for everyone to bring their best? Do they feel safe?
Some people might hold back at a potluck if they feel they need more time to feel comfortable. They might bring drinks, paper plates, or silverware—just the basics. But if the space is safe and welcoming, they'll roll up their sleeves and bring their best dishes, knowing they won't be judged harshly. When I think about a potluck, I want everyone I invite to be there, bringing their best.