Our Approach » Diverse-by-design school model

Diverse-by-design school model


How does VCS bring our diverse-by-design model to life in a meaningful way? 

One of Valley Charter’s foundational design elements outlines our commitment to a diverse-by design school model:

Design Element 5: We are committed to building intentionally diverse schools. Our core values and foundational principles are authentically realized through this diverse community.

Our community reflects varied races, ethnicities, learning styles, languages, achievement levels, family structures, socio-economics, cultures, and self-identities. Students who learn in a diverse environment build compassion, empathy, and understanding of others’ perspectives. Our backgrounds and skills deepen students’ experiences. This prepares them to navigate and lead in the world in which they live.

A key part of bringing this design element to life is driven by our Anti-Bias Collective - teachers and leaders who plan and facilitate professional learning for our staff. The broad goals of this work at VCS are to:

  • Foster a sense of belonging for all of our community members
  • Promote equity of opportunity and outcomes for all of our students 


Our framework

VCS is committed to creating equitable spaces in three key areas:

  1. Teaching and learning- this area focuses on curriculum and instruction in the classroom.
  2. Family engagement- this area focuses on communications and opportunities for family involvement. 
  3. Organizational practices- this area focuses on policies related to human resources, such as recruitment, selection, retention, and promotions. 


We examine each of these areas through the lens of access, critical thinking, representation, and social justice. 

The work this year is focused primarily on teaching and learning; we are reflecting on our units of study by asking ourselves these key questions:

  • Access: How will all students access the curriculum? 
  • Critical thinking: Does this unit require students to think critically about relevant topics? 
  • Representation: Are the lives of a diverse group of students represented in this material? 
  • Social Justice: Does this unit empower students to act against prejudice?


Not all units of study lend themselves to all four questions, but as we reflect on each unit with this lens, it helps to strengthen our understanding of how to embed this work in an age-appropriate manner into our students’ experiences K-8. 

Equity Spotlight:

Read more about the important work around equity being done at Valley Charter School on our blog.

Several times a year, we shine an Equity Spotlight on a practice that supports this work.  Please check the amazing work our teachers are doing with students!

February 2021 Equity Spotlight- Exploring Design Element 5: We are committed to building intentionally diverse schools.

October 2021 Equity Spotlight- Valley Charter Middle School: Mastery Grading in Math

December 2021 Equity Spotlight- Valley Charter Elementary School: 5th grade Social Studies Project: Indigenous People of Northern Europe

March 2022 Equity Spotlight- Valley Charter Middle School: 6th grade Writing Workshop

April 2022 Equity Spotlight- Valley Charter Elementary School: "Who am I" Kindergarten unit

November 2022 Equity Spotlight- Valley Charter Elementary School: 2nd grade Community PBL
Voices of Valley Charter- Mary Allen: Collaboration is Key
November 2023 Equity Spotlight- VCS Professional Development TK-8th Grade
December 2023 Equity Spotlight- Valley Charter Elementary School: 5th Grade Young Activist Project