Our school is diverse...We celebrate Black History
It is often said that when you know better, you are to do better. Valuing Diversity is more than celebrating a culture or an ethnic group for one specific time or day. It is more than having guest speakers or hiring individuals that will create the appearance of multiculturalism.
In fact valuing diversity extends beyond surface level events and strategies that we coordinate or implement. Valuing diversity becomes a part of the organization. It becomes a part of the statement "That's just what we do here". Becoming an organization that values diversity is reflected in how we interact with each other; how we take our various differences and create one action/statement that reflects all our beliefs. Valuing diversity allows for individuals to be themselves without worrying about criticism and backlash. Valuing diversity appreciates what each person/group brings to the organization.
We minimize the impact diversity can have on our development individually and collectively. Valuing diversity should not be relegated to one moment in time; it should be ongoing and ever evolving, as we evolve as people. Valuing diversity requires people to push through their fears of the unknown, step out of what is comfortable and learn about something new. And although we may not agree all the time, we must learn to respect one another.
In schools, children need to see representation of themselves in their learning - either through exposure of texts and curriculum that highlights aspects of their ethnicity or allowing students to express their learning in non traditional means (assessment doesn't always have to be a test). We need to be willing to do different, if we are going to respect different and produce different results academically.
Celebrating Black History, having a Multicultural Day or St. Patrick's Day party is a start. How do my classroom and school procedures value diversity? What about my conversation and actions? Valuing diversity is more than one day's, one month's or one unit's activities. It is a journey.
Time to take that first step.