Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Practices at The Discovery School
At The Discovery School, we value and celebrate people from all cultures and backgrounds. We are intentional in the curricular choices we make to include those voices and experiences typically marginalized in more traditional programs. Our students and faculty purposefully lean into difficult conversations surrounding race, sex, gender identity, national origin, and other inequities in our world. We have open communication with our faculty and students about implicit bias and its impacts on our lived experiences. We firmly believe that these conversations are imperative to achieving our mission as a school, and we will continue to open our minds and hearts to help build a better world for each and every human being on our planet.
In August 2020 and January 2021, Discovery faculty and staff participated in the Critical Consciousness Institute led by James E. Ford. During the Critical Consciousness Institute, our team dove into difficult conversations about race, inequity, and our responsibility as educators to help fill those gaps and support all of our learners. Following our training with Mr. Ford, teachers remarked that they felt more comfortable having conversations with students about the riots in Washington DC in an age-appropriate manner.
We have begun the work at all levels of instruction. Teachers at all levels have been intentional in incorporating various narratives and perspectives in their classrooms.
- Classroom libraries have been stocked with books written by diverse authors and featuring diverse characters.
- As a class, teachers and students have been reading and discussing books about the civil rights movement.
- In math, students have engaged with building images of Martin Luther King Jr. using counting patterns.
- Foundational Elementary students were inspired by their study of Martin Luther King Jr. to identify different ways to be peaceful in their daily lives.
- Students in Upper Elementary recently studied civil rights leaders and found ways to represent their character traits through art.
- Elementary Students have explored how women and people of color have been traditionally underrepresented in mathematics and science while learning about those that have been pioneers in the field despite their gender, gender identity, and/or race.
- Upper Elementary students used this data visualization to explore how race can impact the likelihood that one is able to achieve economic mobility based on what socioeconomic class they are born into.
- Middle School students have worked with 904ward to engage in difficult conversations regarding race using “race cards.”
- They have engaged in mathematical investigations that explore how race, gender, and gender identity impact the salary one receives and their potential economic mobility.
- Middle School students have explored The Opportunity Atlas to see how the neighborhood where one grows up can affect earning potential later in life.
- Students used literature to explore America’s racialized history and have used this as a lens to develop empathy and understanding for those that don’t look like us.
While we are proud of the examples listed above, we know more work can, should and will be done. We are excited to form a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion committee composed of students, teachers, parents, and community members because many perspectives are better than one. This group will help us to continue advancing this work on our campus. If you are interested in serving on the committee or have any ideas you would like to share, please reach out to Cat Blakelock or Zak Champagne.
At The Discovery School, we believe that each and every community member who walks through our door regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, gender identity, language, religion, physical ability, sexual orientation, family structure, and/or socioeconomic background deserves to be greeted with kindness as they have important ideas and contributions to share with the Discovery community. We acknowledge that systemic racism exists, stand with the black community, and believe that black lives matter. In addition, we will not tolerate acts of racism, hate, bias, or violence of any kind.
We believe that we are better because of each and every individual’s unique life experiences, and we constantly work to honor and learn from the incredible community at The Discovery School.
Our school believes that multicultural education is necessary for children to develop a complete and thorough understanding of the world around them. Our teachers are committed to integrating diverse voices and viewpoints into each content area, and our leadership is actively working to recruit teachers that represent the diversity we strive for in our school community. We aspire to instill the importance of equality and anti-racism with all of our students by utilizing anti-racist literature, seeking out historical narratives from more than one point of view, and engaging in conversations that push students to learn to show empathy and to see the world from multiple perspectives.
As both a Montessori and International Baccalaureate school, we know that we must nurture student’s natural curiosity as we expose them to cultures from our own nation and those from around the world - and listen when they question traditions and practices that perpetuate injustice and systemic racism. We are committed to cultivating students who respect people and cultures that are similar and different from those they were raised in and actively work for social justice. We realize that challenging conversations may arise through this process, but we see these dialogues as opportunities for growth, for open and honest communication, and for learning.
We believe that members of The Discovery School family benefit by seeking out knowledge, expressing creativity, demonstrating independent thinking, and promoting mutual respect. As a result, we believe that our students will leave our school with open minds and hearts and hold the knowledge to build a better and more just world.