School & Youth

Empowering students to become allies, advocates, and agents of change. School & Youth

Our Programming

The Diversity Center of Northeast Ohio’s School & Youth Team provides year-round diversity and inclusion centered workshops, conferences, and retreats.  These programs empower youth and youth-serving professionals throughout Northeast Ohio with the skills and abilities to build communities where everyone is connected, respected, and valued.  Students who participate in these programs learn how to become leaders and change agents in their schools.

Our School & Youth programs are customized to the specific needs of the students and educators that we serve.  We allow participants to explore aspects of diversity and build skills in a non-threatening and open environment.  We have a variety of options that are able to fit within any budget.

Spring Middle School Conference Wednesday, March 4, 2020 
Spring High School Conference Friday, March 6, 2020

The annual Spring Middle School and High School Conferences bring together students and educators from throughout Northeast Ohio.  Students are given the opportunity to meet and form groups with students from different schools, backgrounds, and regions and participate in a series of workshops on diversity and inclusion.  Programs for educators will also be included.

At this year’s conferences entitled, “Social Justice: Youth Voices and Social Change”, students will engage in dialogue that will give them the ability to recognize the importance of their voices.  From educating themselves on the history of current issues impacting our society, to learning critical skills that could help usher potential change within their communities, the students can begin to identify how to harness the power of their voices.  Students will also have the opportunity to participate in exercises that focus on building trust, improving their ability to communicate, engaging in problem solving, and developing a plan with moving parts.

Whether as an individual or as a collective group, we want the students to leave the conference having the courage not only to speak for themselves and others, but to sound the calls to action that can foster effective societal change and combat the injustices they experience or see daily.

Click here for more information on the Spring Middle School Conference 

Click here for more information on the Spring High School Conference 


Fall High School Retreat: TBA

The Diversity Center of Northeast Ohio’s annual Fall High School Retreat is a unique, three-day opportunity for students and educators of all backgrounds, throughout Northeast Ohio, to come together to explore topics of social justice and diversity.


Scheduling now for the 2019-2020 School Year!


The Diversity Center’s student programs promote understanding, respect, and inclusion through facilitated conversations, simulations, and hands-on activities. YouLEAD (6-12) and YouLEAD Junior (K-5) are our premiere on-site student leadership programs.  Grounded in Social and Emotional Learning, these series of workshops promote the development of self and social awareness, relationship skills, and self-management, and responsible decision making, and action.  Throughout their participation in this series, YouLEAD participants are empowered with the awareness, knowledge and skills needed to be leaders in today’s ever growing, diverse, and changing environments.

After participating in YouLEAD:

  • 88.13% of students agree that they are empowered as an individual to identify diversity challenges within their surroundings and become a positive change agent as a result of the workshop.
  • 90.47% of students agree they are challenged to make better decisions based upon program learning.
  • 78.54% of students agree they have been given the opportunity to understand different perspectives based upon listening opportunities from their peers.
  • 73.49% of students agree that they were reminded to review their own perceptions of others and show appreciation for various diversity differences.
  • 75.28% of students agree that through the program they have been able to practice positive communication skills, both verbal and listening.
  • 85.52% of students agree that they can use what they learned in the session in their daily life.

YouLEAD Junior

(Grades K-2)

  • Diversity 101
  • Anti-bullying
  • Problem Solving and Teamwork
  • Better Together
  • #Rethink Beauty: Self-esteem

YouLEAD Junior

(Grades 3-5)

  • Diversity 101
  • Anti-bullying
  • Problem Solving and Teamwork
  • Better Together
  • #Rethink Beauty: Self-esteem

New: Summer 2019!

  • Gender
  • Race & Ethnicity


(Grades 6-8 and 9-12)


  • Diversity 101
  • Problem Solving & Teamwork
  • Anti-bullying

Identity Specific Topics:

  • #RethinkBeauty (Body Image & Stigma)
  • Gender
  • Sexual Orientation
  • (Dis)Ability
  • Religious Tolerance
  • Race & Ethnicity
  • Socioeconomic Simulation
  • #RethinkAmerican

Capstone Topics:

  • Social Justice: Joining the Movement
  • Student Leadership

Student Facilitation Training

This training helps students refine their leadership and group facilitation skills; provides tools to build community in their clubs, organizations, and schools; and improves their ability to host brave and honest conversations about social justice and diversity topics. Students learn the importance of verbal and nonverbal communication, and practice skills like paraphrasing and the use of open-ended questions in group discussions. These guided discussions and collaborative activities enable students to take on community leadership and peer mentor roles, and assist in small group activities during other DCNEO events and workshops.

Culture and Climate Survey

A school’s culture and climate reflect the behaviors, interactions, attitudes, norms, and perceptions within the school.  These dynamics impact the experiences of everyone in contact with the system.   The experiences of students in relation to diversity, acceptance, inclusion / exclusion and support, influence their growth and development, individual and collective experiences, performance, and outcomes.

The Diversity Center is available to help you assess your institution’s culture and climate for diversity through our Culture and Climate Survey.  This 25-item survey includes a series of questions that gauge the culture and climate of the educational environment, through a diversity, equity, and inclusion lens.  The results of the survey are provided to the school, along with recommendations which can be used to address challenges or further support your various stakeholder groups.


  • Identify the needs of the population surveyed
  • Identify areas of strength and opportunities for growth through a diversity lens
  • Provide strategic plan related or programmatic recommendations

Diversity Through the Arts 

The Diversity Center’s arts-centered  diversity education program integrates music, visual, theatrical, and English language arts with lessons focused on inclusiveness, tolerance, race relations, and communication skills while promoting students' creativity, leadership, and academic  success.

Click Here for more information about Diversity Through the Arts.

Adult Programming and Consultation Services

Professional Development

The Diversity Center is committed to working with educators and youth-serving professionals to create classrooms where all students are connected, respected, and valued. This environment fosters a healthy learning community in pursuit of academic excellence. Educators and youth-serving professionals can become influential advocates for social justice in schools, districts, or programs with tools and resources shared in the following workshops. Recommended program descriptions are included below, additional program descriptions are available upon request.

  • Unconscious Bias and Micro Messages
    • (we recommend this as a foundational professional development program)
  • Building Relationships and Creating Inclusive Environments
  • Creating Culturally Responsive Curricula and Classrooms
  • SAGA (Sexuality And Gender Acceptance): An LGBQ&T Workshop
  • Racial Equity
  • Diversity in Thought using the Hermann Brain Dominance Instrument
  • Socioeconomic Inequality
  • Diverting the School to Prison Pipeline
  • Introduction to Restorative Justice Practices
  • Senior Leadership Team Workshop Series

Diversity Climate Survey

Measuring an organization’s diversity climate is a best practice for understanding the impact of diversity and inclusion within an organization, tracking and measuring success, and identifying ways to support staff. An organization’s diversity climate can be understood as the extent to which diversity is valued and employees are included in an organization. Inclusion can be measured in the extent to which individuals feel a sense of social cohesion, and the extent to which fair employment practices are implemented for all employees. 

As a way of gathering data on the climate for diversity, equity, and inclusion, The Diversity Center of Northeast Ohio utilizes an anonymous online platform to gather participant feedback data. This data is analyzed and compiled into an analysis report SCHOOL. The analysis includes overall data, significant disaggregated findings, and qualitative comments. Quotes from qualitative comments are used as additional evidence to support (or show a different opinion) of what the quantitative data shows. This can serve as important baseline data and can be used to inform future diversity and inclusion work.

The survey covers six main areas:

  • Demographic Information: Participants are asked to fill out demographic questions using the most up-to-date best practices for demographic data collection. This data is used to report demographic data of who answered the survey, and to present disaggregated information for questions with significant findings (i.e., if every or most participants who reported that they are a person of color also reported certain types of discrimination).
  • Perceptions of Climate: Partcipants fill out questions, based on their experiences and observations, about how a variety of different social identities are treated within the context of the overall organization and within their specific department.
  • Professional Development Opportunities: Participants fill out questions about their perceptions of trainings and professional development offered through organization.
  • Experiences of Discrimination and/or Harassment: Participants answer questions about a variety of different instances of discrimination and harassment as it relates to their personal experience and what they have witnessed, and how it relates to social idenities.
  • Deeper Experiences of Organizational Climate & Deeper Experiences of Social Cohesion: Participants fill out a series of questions related to their experience in their job and their social experiences in the workplace.

Implementation of Restorative Justice Practices

At The Diversity Center of Northeast Ohio, we offer introductory workshops that serve to provide an overview of Restorative Justice Practices, including key concepts, theoretical frameworks and an overview of basic practices.  The introductory workshops are included in our standard list of offerings for administrators and educators. 

In addition to our introductory workshops, we are able to partner with you to fully implement and begin practicing Restorative Justice.  Our implementation of Restorative Justice Practices into a school district’s culture includes multiple half and full day trainings with faculty and staff, leadership development of school-based implementation teams, meetings/community-based trainings, strategic planning, and data collection from relevant stakeholders. The scope of this project would be determined in partnership with you, prior to its beginning.

At The Diversity Center, we aim to give our clients the tools to empower their own school communities to utilize Restorative Justice Practices. By the end of implementation, a school system will be using Restorative Practices on their own, with minimal assistance from the Diversity Center. Please schedule a time with us to discuss and identify the scope of the implementation of these practices that you would like to consider for your school district.

For more information on Educator Training please contact us at

#Rethink Series

The Diversity Center, in partnership with Goldfarb Weber Creative Media, is proud to present #RethinkLabels, a video and corresponding two-day lesson plan for reducing bias and stereotypes in the classroom.

Click here to download this FREE lesson plan

#RethinkLabels with Spanish subtitles. Watch by clicking the link below

Click Here: 

Watch the 2016 #RethinkLabels follow up video!


Our Team:

Amanda Cooper, Ph.D.
Chief Program Officer
Email • Bio 

Melodie Gonzales
Program Coordinator
School & Youth
Email • Bio

Kaila Johnson, B.A.
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Consultant,
Higher Education and Young Adults  

Brian Anthony, M.P.A.
Sr. Program Associate
School & Youth

Email • Bio

Becca Frick, M.A.
Program Associate
School & Youth

Email • Bio

Simone Hutchings, M.A., M.T.S.
Program Associate
School & Youth

Email • Bio

Em Richards, B.A.
Program Associate
School & Youth

Email • Bio


Click on the links below to learn more about how our programs
meet Ohio State Learning Standards

Diversity Through the Arts

and promote
Social Emotional Learning


Sign up to receive news and updates from School & Youth Programs

Privacy by SafeUnsubscribe