Diversity and Inclusivity

Jason HeissererUncategorized

Friends,

Last week in the Leadership for Equity class I teach, the students, all public school teachers, were interested in the difference between diversity and inclusivity. This prompted a great deal of thinking on my part since then, particularly as both relate to Crossroads. Frankly, we are already diverse in many ways that are visible and invisible. We are already a collection of identities that are intersected in remarkable and unique ways.

As my students and I talked about diversity, we tried to think deeply about the implications diversity has for collecting differences and perhaps inadvertently tokenizing them. We talked about the accidental we-need-you-so-that-we-can-be-diverse model of hiring and attracting and sorting students in schools. I was impressed by their thinking and the many ways they saw this at work in their own contexts.

Their working conclusion from this discussion was that being diverse does not immediately lead to a just experience for those who comprise a diverse community. My students talked a great deal about inclusivity, and how being inclusive requires a degree of communal reinvention on behalf of those who join the community in order to avoid a we-now-have-you-as-a-part-of-us formula. Instead, they decided, that a we-now-have-all-of-us-as-part-of-us formula as a more just way creating inclusive communities.

At Crossroads, inclusivity is a part of our mission, and we have examples of ways that we reinvent and discover a new version of ourselves as we add new students and faculty. I’m thinking about the camping trips and advisory retreats our students experience at the beginning (and end) of each year. I’m thinking about what our new colleagues bring to discussions at grade group meetings or on professional learning days. I’m also thinking about the generations, as I call them, of Crossroads alumni. There are clear throughlines, and yet, each “generation” has a different story for itself marked, most often, by times we added onto the existing building.

This week, I ask that you be thoughtful about ways you help to (re)invent our adult community. Think about the parents and families with whom you spend the most time about those parents and families you might get to know better. Think about what kinds of differences are included in our community and how these are or are not represented in your relationships with other parents and adults at Crossroads. Think about the many differences that make us a whole and unique and diverse community and then decide to collaborate across those differences with courage and intention.

With great expectations,
Jason