2022-2023 Embracing Our Differences Educator Ambassador Program Comes to NewGate School in Lakewood Ranch

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Pictured: Embracing Our Differences speaker Ben Jewell-Plocher, Learning and Engagement Director, Educator Ambassadors Program. Photo courtesy of NewGate Montessori School.

Last Wednesday, NewGate International Montessori School’s Lakewood Ranch Campus hosted the initial 2022-2023 Embracing Our Differences Educator Ambassadors Program meeting. This gathering is the first of six sessions that will be held through the end of 2022 and into 2023 recognizing and facilitating discussion amongst returning and newly applied ambassadors to the program. Teachers, guidance counselors, and administrators learn about Embracing Our Differences (EOD) aligned topics and are taught to identify them within their own educational environments. Topics are also researched by ambassadors to create innovative projects that they present to their colleagues. Ambassadorship means continuing education as an educator and applying EOD’s values of inclusion and belonging to one’s everyday interactions with students, associates, the greater academic community of Sarasota County and beyond.

Over dinner, EOD Director Ben Jewell-Plocher led 33 educators from around Sarasota and Manatee counties in a series of presentations and stimulating activities aimed to familiarize attendees with one another by focusing on Embracing Our Differences art exhibits and quotes from previous years. NewGate’s Secondary Program Instructor Amy Kremer-Treibly stated “I enjoyed hearing that the Ambassadors program had such great interest this year that they decided to take more applicants into the program.  Ben Jewell-Plocher, the director of the program, organized several interesting activities for the ambassadors to get to know one another over dinner, and he involved us in hearing and sharing quotes from prior years of the art exhibit which were all very inspirational.” Kremer-Treibly went on to share a quote from 2020 by 12th grader Angela Zhong in Cypress, Texas “‘To open your arms to people who are different is to open your mind to infinite possibilities.’” 

At the core of EOD is its drive to share a message of inclusion and belonging to students and school communities countywide. With this message in mind, Jewell-Plotcher shared the good news that the Embracing Our Differences art exhibits will be showcased in three communities this year: Bayfront Park in Sarasota, Butler Park in North Port, and at State College of Florida in Bradenton.

Pictured: Embracing Our Differences speaker Ben Jewell-Plocher, Learning and Engagement Director, Educator Ambassadors Program. Photo courtesy of NewGate Montessori School.

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