5. Culture

A welcoming, inclusive school culture is a critical component of an integrated, equitable school. Culture is a key vehicle for supporting integrated schools as students are more likely to succeed academically when they feel valued and a sense of belonging within the school setting (B of the ABCDs).  In spite of this,  many schools inadvertently create a culture that implicitly rewards white, middle class norms, while marginalizing other backgrounds. Culturally inclusive practices, such as staff-wide equity training, values-based behavior management, and advisories, can create a culture of belonging for students of all racial backgrounds, which in turn can lead to higher academic gains and lower disciplinary challenges throughout the school. You can read our entire white paper on this topic here.

Below are practices we hope can assist students, teachers, leaders and other stakeholders in clarifying equity and diversity issues, identifying strategies and tools to support efforts to build and manage diversity and equity initiatives. Resources are highlighted for assessing diversity efforts including progress toward building cross cultural interaction, cultural competency and strategies for integration. These resources highlight the importance for students, staff and families of learning about social justice and dismantling racism and other forms of oppression as well as learning how to challenge systemic forms of racism in school and the larger community. These resources are designed to aid in the understanding of individual, interpersonal, institutional and ideological racism as well as to highlight effective approaches to address bigotry and racial or economic slights. Exemplars show the impact of differences, how schools celebrate different cultures and how they can help students, teachers, and families create a sense of belonging.