Inclusivity of Members in School Communities
Special School District will recognize, intentionally recruit, and engage all members of school communities in order to maintain and embody equitable education practices and outcomes.
Diversity and inclusion are frequently thought of as the same thing, and many organizations stop equity work with diversity efforts. Diversity is important because it gets people with different traits to the same table, bringing a slightly different perspective based on their diverse characteristics. However, when the effort stops at this point, the diverse group’s wealth of resources has been siloed to a few more vocal participants.
Inclusion focuses not on the differences among people, but on the involvement of people whose differences each contribute to the wealth of information and ideas from multiple perspectives. Inclusion refers to the behavior and social norms that ensure all people feel welcome, respected, and valued for the differences they bring and share. When inclusion happens, we move from a 2D experience of diversity to a 3D experience of inclusivity, and together we can be architects of more successful outcomes for our students.
This principle directly aligns with our work with community partnerships, the voice of customer, family engagement, and partnerships with partner districts.
Questions to Consider
- What approaches and outreach will help ensure that those who need to be engaged can participate fully? How can we create opportunities for people least likely to be heard to ensure they share their specific concerns?
- Is our group representative of the diversity of the population we are engaging in? What steps can we take to ensure we are inclusive of a variety of perspectives?
- Is the language we use in our materials and communications easily understood by the diverse audience for which it is intended?
- What steps can we take to remove barriers to our presence where the community gathers for full participation (e.g., dependent care, transportation, safety, language, accessible location, time, multiple formats, avoiding religious and cultural holidays, culturally appropriate)?
- Is the environment welcoming to participants who may be reluctant to share their views? If not, what can we do to change this? Does the pace, format, and language of the engagement accommodate everyone, including participants who are least likely to speak up or for whom the information may be new?
- Is there a need for diversity, equity, or inclusion training for groups to work well together and be respectful of their differences?
- Are the insights from groups who face systemic barriers and historical unfairness reflected in reports and final products?
- How will we demonstrate accountability and commit to reporting the findings to the full diversity of people involved in the engagement activity?