Cultural diversity as an issue wasn"t even on the radar of most private school communities until the 1990s. To be sure, there were exceptions, but for the most part, diversity was not at the top of the list of priorities back then. Now you can see genuine progress in this area.
The best evidence that progress has been made is that diversity in all its forms is now on the list of other issues and challenges facing most private schools.
In other words, it is no longer a detached issue requiring resolution by itself. Schools seem to be making well-thought-out efforts to attract and retain faculty and students from a wide variety of societal backgrounds and economic sectors. The resources under The Diversity Practitioner on the National Association of Independent Schools" site show the kind of proactive approach which NAIS members are taking. If you read the mission statements and welcome messages on most schools" websites, the words "diversity" and "diverse" appear frequently.
The thoughtful head and board members know that they must encourage diversity. Perhaps that has already been done at your school. If so, then a review of where you have been and where you are going should be part of your annual review activities. If you have not addressed the diversity issue, then you need to get started.
Why? Your school cannot afford to turn out students who have not learned the lessons of tolerance. We live in a multicultural, pluralistic, global community. Understanding diversity begins the process of living in harmony with others.
Communication enables diversity. Example fosters diversity. Every sector of the school community from head and trustees on down through the ranks must be proactive in listening, accepting and welcoming people and ideas which are different from their own.
This breeds tolerance and transforms a school into a warm, welcoming, sharing academic community.
1. Hold Workshops for Faculty and Staff
Bring in a skilled professional to run workshops for your faculty and staff. The experienced clinician