Our Voices

Centering Human Rights Through a Whole School Approach

Education is essential to a healthy, democratic society, and informed action for social justice is the result of instruction with intention.

This is why Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights partners with schools to provide education and advance a whole school approach grounded in human rights.

Through this unique program, we help partner schools assess their unique areas of strength and opportunities for growth; we work with schools to engage and teach students and educators about advocacy, organizing, social justice, and the importance of protecting, promoting, and defending human rights.

Rather than adding to the existing curriculum or dictating a program, we teach schools how to use a framework for human rights education to shape and strengthen existing programs, and identify areas for increased creativity, collaboration, and change with students, teachers, and the community.

Our HRE program builds awareness and understanding of the basic rights shared by all. Our goals are to help people understand human rights, value them, and take responsibility for respecting, defending, and promoting them through three key strategies:

  • education about human rights, including history, principles, and law
  • through a human rights practice, supporting educators with SEL- and learner-centered pedagogies
  • increasing advocacy for human rights, teaching others to accept diverse opinions, positively resolve conflicts, and defend human rights on individual and systemic levels.

Using the Whole School Model, we help build a culture where protecting human rights is an active practice integrated into educator pedagogy, lesson plans, and the whole school’s climate.

Our approach seeks to realize human rights education in four key areas: students, educators and school leadership, school, school culture and the larger community.

We work with partner schools to provide resources, professional development, programming, and general guidance. Our level of involvement is dictated by a work plan we create together; our goal is always that the school owns the work, and we merely provide support.

Why would you want to be a RFK Human Rights Centered school? We provide schools with access to human rights defenders, youth leadership opportunities, professional development and, ultimately, certification as a RFK Human Rights School and recognition on our website.

If you are interested in learning more about the RFK Human Rights whole school approach or becoming a partner school, please email Karen Robinson at [email protected].