Diversity Strategic Plan 2018-2020

Purpose

The purpose of the University Prep Diversity Strategic Plan is to not only live our mission, which is who we say we are, but also to strive to live out our Vision Statement, which is who we want to be as a school community. In 2016, the UPrep Board of Trustees adopted a Diversity Mission Statement: University Prep's mission compels us to train and educate the next generation of leaders who will create impact and change in an interdependent, complex, and global community. Our students need to see, hear, and understand the diversity of people, perspectives and points of view around them and the world they will lead in the years ahead. Essential to this proposition is the ability of our students to identify, analyze, and act on issues of equity, justice, and inclusion. Our world demands it. We believe this Diversity Strategic Plan will help us not only talk the talk, but walk the walk when it comes to our school mission, vision and diversity statements.

Rationale

Why is a Diversity Strategic Plan important? Because it makes the educational experience stronger. Diversity outperforms sameness (Hunt, et al.). Diversity strengthens student outcomes, promotes better problem solving, enhances creativity, and bolsters organizational performance (Phillips). In addition, our governing bodies, the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) and Northwest Association of Independent Schools (NWAIS), require schools to do this work. To remain a leader amongst our peer schools in the work of diversity, equity, and inclusion, and to remain competitive, we must keep diversity at the forefront of all we do and use an equity and inclusion lens to guide us in our practice.

  • NAIS expects member schools to create and sustain diverse, inclusive, equitable, and just communities that are safe and welcoming for all. NAIS has nine Principles of Good Practice for Equity and Justice. Number three specifically states that "the board of trustees and the head of school articulate strategic goals and objectives that promote diversity, inclusion, equity, and justice in the life of the school."
  • NWAIS states that member schools must provide students with "access to, knowledge of, and opportunity for open discourse about different perspectives and backgrounds in ways that are meaningful and that clearly demonstrate commitment to the NWAIS core values of commitment to diversity and free and open inquiry."
  • NWAIS also states that "the inclusion of diverse perspectives and backgrounds strengthens the quality of a school's culture and educational program. A commitment to diversity acknowledges and honors the diverse perspectives and backgrounds within the school community and makes every member feel that he or she belongs and is equally valued. NWAIS believes that this commitment to diversity is essential for free and open inquiry to flourish." (NWAIS Self Study Manual)

Definitions

To help aid us in this process we will be operating with the following definitions (JONES Inclusive Leadership, 2017):

Diversity

References the differences that exist in a community.

Inclusion

References the experiences that people have around their differences.

Cultural Competency

References the skills that allow us to facilitate experiences of inclusion from a context of difference.

Equity

Acknowledges the different experiences that people have based on their social identities and uses cultural competency that results in inclusive experiences.

Social Justice

Refers to the process of recognizing and deconstructing inequitable systems and subsequently redesigning and (re)constructing equitable systems that result in experiences of inclusion in a context beyond the individual.