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Creating inclusive communities: Any ideas?

Since September, a few of us in our school have been trying to share with colleagues and administration the importance of truly valuing diversity and creating a more inclusive community.  We have attended various conferences and workshops and recently brought in Gene Batiste, NAIS (National Association of Independent Schools) Vice President of Leadership Education and Diversity, to speak to the faculty.  As with any such effort, it is not easy to make a true change until the the top of the institution decides to embrace the idea.  As someone once said to me "diversity is a journey not a destination."  Gene Batiste said  that it is a process, you move from diversity to a multicultural school to equity and justice.  It is also a process on a personal level as each member of the school community becomes more aware and hopefully takes more responsibility in assuring an inclusive community.

 

I have been at our school for seven years and I believe that it is a wonderful place.  There is a real sense of community.  I feel it is my responsibility, along with everyone else's, to make sure that all students, parents, and faculty feel welcomed and the same sense of belonging.

 

I also  think that to educate our students successfully it is really important to expose and immerse them in diversity.  It can help them learn more about themselves, their family and the cultures of the people around them.  This can help them develop a positive sense of self and others and support a healthy development.  In addition, it can cultivate an environment in the classroom and the school where hopefully open conversations can take place.  It provides opportunities for the students to develop skills that make them more effective in their interactions and communication with people from diverse backgrounds. 

 

I also think that it is important to develop awareness among the staff and faculty of our school for the benefit of our students, our families, and ourselves.  It is essential that we build a community that allows and helps each teacher reach his/her full potential if we aspire to help all students reach their full potential.

 

 

 

I know that there are many schools that are ahead of us in their efforts.  I would like to invite anyone who knows of a model that has worked, a good workshop, a speaker, a book, an activity or anything else that could be helpful to us moving forward to please share it with us here or at naomi.alexandra.scholasticblog@gmail.com

 

 

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