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Diversity & Inclusion

Berkshire School strives to create a global community that reflects the world around us and the backgrounds, experiences, identities, genders, perspectives, races, religions and talents that each member brings to our school. We believe that a diverse and inclusive community supports and respects all cultures, ethnicities, languages, philosophies, political views and sexual orientations that exist within and beyond our school.

Glossary of Terms

The following terms are provided by the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS), an organization of which Berkshire School is a member. 

Affinity Group

The term affinity group is used as a bringing together of people who have something important in common, e.g. race, gender, profession, or special interests.  Any significant historical movement or everyday social interaction could probably be traced to the actions of people who share a common experience and passion.

Cultural Competency

Cultural competency is the application of a defined set of values, principles, skills, attitudes, policies, and behaviors that enable individuals and groups to work effectively across cultures. Cultural competence is a developmental process (and continuum) that evolves over time for both individuals and organizations. It is defined as having the capacity to (1) value diversity, (2) conduct assessment of self, (3) manage the dynamics of difference, (4) acquire and apply cultural knowledge, and (5) adapt to diversity and the cultural contexts of the communities in which one lives and works.

Diversity

The concept of diversity embraces the wide range of human characteristics used to mark or identify individual and group identities. These characteristics include, but are not limited to, ethnicity, race, national origin, age, personality, sexual orientation, gender, class, religion, ability, and linguistic preferences. Diversity is a term used as shorthand for visible and quantifiable statuses, but diversity of thought and ways of knowing, being, and doing are also understood as natural, valued, and desired states, the presence of which benefit organizations, workplaces, and society.

Equity

Equity exists as a condition that balances two dimensions: fairness and inclusion. As a function of fairness, equity implies ensuring that people have what they need to participate in school life and reach their full potential. Equitable treatment involves eliminating barriers that prevent the full participation of all individuals.  As a function of inclusion, equity ensures that essential educational programs, services, activities, and technologies are accessible to all.  Equity is not equality; it is the expression of justice, ethics, multi-partiality, and the absence of discrimination.

Inclusivity/Inclusiveness

Inclusiveness means encompassing all; taking every individual’s experience and identity into account and creating conditions where all feel accepted, safe, empowered, supported, and affirmed. An inclusive school or organization expands its sense of community to include all; cultivating belonging and giving all an equal voice. Inclusivity also promotes and enacts the sharing of power and recognition of interdependence, where authorizing individuals and community members share responsibility for expressing core values and maintaining respect for differences the spirit of care and cooperation.

Multiculturalism

Multiculturalism refers to the presence of many distinctive cultures and the manifestation of cultural components and derivatives (e.g. language, values, religion, race, communication styles, etc.) in a given setting. Multiculturalism promotes the understanding of, and respect for cultural differences, and celebrates them as source of community strength.  Multiculturalism is also defined as set of programs, policies, and practices that enable and maximize the benefits of diversity in a school community or organization.

Multicultural Education

Multicultural education is an approach to education that is grounded in the ideals of social justice and educational equity. It is dedicated to facilitating educational experiences in which all students reach their full potential as learners and as socially aware and active beings in the local, national, and global arenas. The objective of multicultural education, simply stated, is to help students learn how to live in an ethnically and culturally rich, diverse society.

Cultural Identifiers

Cultural identifiers can be used to assist in recognizing and understanding the unique aspects of individuals based on their backgrounds, values, experiences, traditions, and the contexts in which they are expressed.  There are countless demographic markers and ways people identify, and these categories are changing and emerging with the times.

SEED

SEEKING EDUCATIONAL EQUITY AND DIVERSITY

The National SEED ProjectSM is a peer-led professional development program that creates conversational communities to drive personal, organizational, and societal change toward greater equity and diversity. Through the organization's methodology, SEED equips participants to connect their lives to one another and to society at large by acknowledging systems of oppression, power, and privilege.

To date, 125 students, faculty, and staff at Berkshire School have participated in SEED. Student and faculty/staff led seminars are held during the school year on a month basis. 

For more information, please contact any one of our SEED facilitators.
Kristina Splawn ksplawn@berkshireschool.org
Anita Loose-Brown aloosebrown@berkshireschool.org 
Bill Bullock wbullock@berkshireschool.org 

Resources

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Websites

Additional Reading

 

Diversity and Inclusion News

Visiting Writer Series Welcomes Author, Poet Dr. Joshua Bennett

Poet Dr. Joshua Bennet, author of The Sobbing School and Being Property Once Myself: Blackness and the End of Man, finalist for an NAACP Image Award, recipient of fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the William F. Milton Fund, and the Ford Foundation, visited Berkshire on February 13th to give a reading of his poems to the School and work with our students on the craft of writing.

Read More about Visiting Writer Series Welcomes Author, Poet Dr. Joshua Bennett