The Riley Institute at Furman University has recognized Tanglewood Middle School with the 2020 William “Bill” T. Wylie VALUED Lives Award for School Excellence in Diversity. Tanglewood joins a group of prestigious individuals and organizations in the Upstate who have been recognized for their tireless efforts at being diversity champions.
The tagline at Tanglewood Middle is School is, “It Takes a Village.” School staff and students weave this belief in community in efforts to advance their students. Tanglewood is part of a diverse community inclusive of a student population consisting of 42 percent African-American, 43 percent Hispanic, 10 percent White, and 5 percent two or more races.
The school views its diversity as an opportunity to expose students to different cultures and perspectives, celebrating students from over 15 countries annually, showcasing them in annual celebrations aimed at recognizing all students, and bringing families together to share their customs to learn from one another.
The school hosts an annual Hispanic Heritage celebration along with a month of events, including a community food expo where parents representing more than 15 countries provide dishes to the faculty and staff. In addition, they host an annual Black History celebration with a month of activities, ranging from faculty performances, student speeches, guest speakers, and daily facts and competitions.
Understanding the value of community, the school has each country represented in flags that line the main hallway, conduct over 100 home visits each summer as a way to invite families and community members to the school, hosts a block party at the beginning of each year with community churches, local radio stations, and community resources, and started each year for the with a celebration of students by inviting members from the community to high five and handshake students and parents as they walk in.