Advocacy Letter

Post election Advocacy Letter

by Paula Perlman

November 13, 2016

Background. On the day after the election, at Royal Oak Middle School in Detroit, Michigan there was a disturbing incident among a small group of 7th graders in the cafeteria.  They chanted “build a wall” as some Latino students were present.  Immediately, in this community supported school noted for a Commitment to Excellence, parents and students became concerned for their safety.  

To address the issue the local Police have a greater presence on the campus.  A consultant who does staff development on diversity and justice issues was pre-arranged, prior to the incident, to come in at this time.  The PTA provides parent workshops.  There have been opportunities for dialogue and discussions about how and what you say makes an impact.  The Superintendent, Principal and teachers are interested in how they can do more to be a community “ inclusive and caring where all know they are valued, safe and welcome.”

To learn more about the school go to:

 After reading the article below from the Detroit Free Press, I was inspired to respond to the Superintendent and Principal of the school.  

On the website, if one wants to connect with the Superintendent there is a form to fill out requiring name, email,  phone number and the message.


Dear Principal Todd Noonan and Superintendent Shawn Lewis-Lakin, 

As a mother, a US citizen and a professional creative problem solving  facilitator,  I was moved by the disturbing “build the wall” incident. I admire your dedication to “providing a safe, secure and supportive learning environment for all [you] students”  where bullying is not acceptable. 

In this letter, I encourage you to consider the four step Creative Problem Solving model that your staff and students can learn to apply when facing challenges, both big and small.  This approach will prepare your students and staff to deal with this incident and future complex problems. Through various tools, the Creative Problem Solving model teaches deliberate use of creativity to solve problems,  how to ask questions that open up possibilities, how to consider many options, then evaluate and select the most novel and useful solutions and how to learn to implement and apply these solutions in the real world.  

Bloom’s Taxonomy of thinking defines creativity as the“highest level of development among cognitive processes.” By combining creative, imaginative and intuitive thinking skills with critical thinking skills, problems which appeared to be obstacles, become opportunities for growth.

Sadly, your school is not the only one dealing with the aftermath of the election.  I look forward to the possibility of assisting you to address this challenge while at the same time developing the creative potential in your faculty and students.


Paula Perlman