Equity, Diversity, Inclusion: A Profound Responsibility
Equity, Diversity, Inclusion: a profound responsibility
Will Tragert, Secondary School Principal
The discussion of equity, diversity, and inclusion is increasingly in the spotlight for many organizations, and especially in international schools. Founded upon the promotion of these principles, international schools have a responsibility to lead this conversation and help the next generation develop the tools needed for a more equitable, diverse, and inclusive (EDI) world.
At BIS, this responsibility is especially profound. A wonderfully diverse school, BIS has recently made purposeful decisions to broaden the scope of learning support and EAL programs. We have no choice but to fully engage in the EDI conversation.
Our goal is to have a school culture where not a single student feels marginalized, bullied, or ostracized based on their gender, sexuality, nationality, or religion. It’s a big job and admittedly, we are finding our way through it. Thankfully every single member of staff is on board and together, we will enact meaningful change.
In the Secondary School, we quickly recognized that this can’t be a single town hall meeting or a weekend workshop. We know this must be woven into the fabric of the school and part of the work we do in all corners of every classroom for the foreseeable future.
We decided to start this work by asking our students for their opinion and their thoughts! Through the involvement of our Equality Alliance, we gave students an optional survey to share their experiences around EDI.
Impressively, over 70% of our student body chose to participate – showing how incredibly important this topic is. From student responses, we created a moving video where Equality Alliance student members read stories that students shared. They bravely told these stories and commented about how BIS as a community needs to do better in prompting themes of equity, diversity, and inclusion.
Now, our faculty have responded with their own video pledges. Teachers are sharing an individual pledge back to students, committing themselves to do better and work harder so that every student feels part of our wonderful community.
These are first steps in our ongoing dialogue. We have already planned a variety of events for next fall tocontinue the conversation with students. We’re also planning events to continually develop staff and give them the tools to not only do better, but also permanently change our culture.