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Diversity Leadership

Diversity Leadership Philosophy Statement
        As our schools continue to become more diverse, it is important for educational leaders to demonstrate an appreciation and understanding of student diversity that permeates every aspect of their practice.  According to Middleton (1999), "administrators are central to protecting individual learners and to ensuring that learning occurs in an environment consistent with the constitutional commitment to equity and equality" (n.p.).  In my opinion, there are two main characteristics of effective diversity leadership:  (1) meeting the needs of diverse learners through their educational programming, and (2) creating an environment in which diverse students feel safe and respected.
        One characteristic of diversity leadership is to ensure that the educational programming is meeting the needs of its diverse learners.  Educational leaders need to recognize the impact that cultural, ethnic, experiential, socioeconomic, and linguistic factors can have on their students' learning and/or behavior.  These factors need to be taken into consideration when making modifications or educational decisions for diverse students.  In addition, educational leaders should also be working with staff to integrate diversity throughout the curriculum with the goal of increasing student engagement.
        Another characteristic of diversity leadership focuses on creating a positive learning and working environment for all students and staff.  Educational leaders must continually advocate for a welcoming and safe school climate for diverse students and staff.  According to Harris (2006), administrators "who take a stand and advocate for all students build relationships with our 'different' students and make them feel part of the school community. At the same time they take a giant step toward establishing a school atmosphere that reduces bullying and values diversity" (n.p.).  Modeling and promoting sensitive practices to their colleagues, parents, and community members is one way educational leaders can create this type of environment.  By doing so, they will hopefully instill in the minds of their students an appreciation for diversity that extends beyond the school walls.  
        Harris (2006) outlines what is means to be a "BRAVO" (Build Relationships with Actions that Value Others) principal.  According to Harris, a BRAVO principal "incorporates actions every day that encourage diversity involvement on campus; integrate diversity throughout the curriculum; and advocate for all students" (n.p.).  I think that this approach nicely summarizes best practice for educational leaders in the area of diversity.  As a future educational leader, I plan to employ the BRAVO approach to diversity leadership.

References

Harris, S. (2006). BRAVO principals…Celebrate diversity. Retrieved February 8, 2010, from Education World Web site: http://www.educationworld.com/a_admin/columnists/BRAVO/ BRAVO008.shtml

Middleton, J.A. (1999). Why administrators need diversity training. The School Administrator, May 1999, n.p.  Retrieved February 8, 2010, from: http://findarticles.com/p/articles/ mi_m0JSD/is_5_56/ai_77196136/?tag=content;col1

C.  Diversity Leadership: Core Competency

  1. demonstrate an understanding and recognition of the significance of diversity, and respond to the needs of diverse learners;
  2. create and monitor a positive learning environment for all students;
  3. create and monitor a positive working environment for all staff; 
  4. promote sensitivity of diversity throughout the school community;
  5. demonstrate the ability to adapt educational programming to the needs of diverse constituencies

Artifacts

The following artifacts demonstrate my competency in the area of diversity leadership:

The two artifacts above demonstrate my understanding and recognition of the significance of diversity, and ability to respond to the needs of diverse learners (C1).  Based on the results of a student survey, the Positive Behavioral Interventions and Support (PBIS) team, on which I serve, decided that we as a school must respond to the needs of the students being bullied.  As a member of the newly formed bullying prevention sub-committee, I have assisted in the development of an anti-bullying program appropriate for secondary students. This group has reviewed bullying curriculum materials and strategies employed by other schools to create a series of lessons to be taught during our daily advisement period.  The initial lessons focus on defining, recognizing, and putting an end to bullying, while the last set of lessons focus specifically on cyber-bullying, one of the most common forms seen at the secondary level.

This artifact demonstrates my ability to create and monitor a positive learning environment for all students (C2), as well as a positive working environment for all staff (C3).  As coach of the Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports team, I have been involved in creating, implementing, and sustaining both student and staff incentive programs at Chisago Lakes High School.  The incentive programs are designed to reinforce positive behavior, ultimately creating a more positive learning and working environment for everyone. 

 
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