Diversity in K12 schools is more than race and ethnicity. Our schools are a broad mosaic of differences that include socioeconomic status, athletic ability, personality, gender, academic levels, religion and so much more. It seems that the idea of helping our youth understand the concepts of diversity has been weaponized and politicized. In fact, we know that teaching inclusion helps students learn how to be open to a wide variety of perspectives and engage in critical thinking. Homogeneous thinking stifles creativity and problem-solving.
Ultimately, our educational system has the responsibility to help students learn how to respect one another. Diversity and inclusion rests upon respect as a central pillar and evolves into relationship building skills that celebrates each unique individual. Inclusion is a core concept that applies to creating a welcoming learning environment that maximizes the success and individual experience of EACH student. Kinect ED believes that inclusion must be framed by both visible and invisible dimensions that form the uniqueness of each student, staff member and caregiver. Some of these dimensions include:
Abilities/Disabilities Religion Education
Culture Parent/Family Status Political Beliefs
Age Socio-Economic Status Learning Styles
Personality Ethnicity Language
Military/Veteran Status Appearance Race
Gender/Gender Identity Sexual Orientation Nationality
Culture Life Experiences Relationship Status
When school systems actively welcome, support, respect, and value each unique member of the community, academic success and engagement will follow.
What can you do?
1. Form an Inclusion Team in your district and create a plan.
2. Meet with parents and the community to share your plan and engage them in the work.
3. Share the plan and inclusive expectations with district teachers and staff.
4. Share expectations for inclusion with students.
5. Use passive education to communicate school values about inclusion.
6. Prepare teaching staff through professional development to teach inclusion to students.
7. Provide inclusion curriculum at all grade levels to help operationalize your efforts.
Be prepared for push-back, but be steadfast in your goal to include ALL students, staff, and community members in the quest to provide a positive educational experience and a love for learning for ALL students.
If you are looking for more resources, check out these new step-by-step guides:
TEACH INCLUSION is an inclusive resource that gives you tangible lessons for 6-12 graders. Split into two sections, you'll find eight full lessons for 6-8 graders and eight for 9-12 grade students. Each lesson tells you the learning outcomes, supplies needed, worksheets, and full facilitation instructions. We even give you the words to use to introduce the activity and provide directions to your students. In between each activity, you'll find a ready-made poster with a quote, fact, or message that you can post for students and staff. Use this resource to provide a full year of monthly lessons about how students can become "Includers" and what it takes to create an inclusive learning environment.But wait! It's not just about the students. The DEI Staff Education section includes pre-written email lessons for staff, too! Get your copy at:
CHOOSE INCLUSION is a book that will help engage your educational community in the quest to increase student success for ALL students. Step by step, you'll be armed with the tools that you need to walk your teachers, school board members, and community members through the process of actualizing an Inclusion Plan that reflects the needs and desires of your district. In addition to facilitation tips, you'll get worksheets that help you articulate:
Inclusion Plan Mission Statement
The final product: A Transformative Inclusion Plan that serves as a roadmap for success.
The added bonus to this book is cultural competency content for teachers, understanding the power of subtraction and understanding policy review.
Accompanying this workbook is a full copy of our trademarked Equity Rubric and one consultative meeting with one of our Kinect ED experts. We will walk you through the process of inclusive excellence and answer the tough questions that you face as you strive to achieve student success.