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 students and families
  • 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

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

October 2021 Equity Spotlight- VCMS Mastery Grading in Math - This month we highlight how the VCMS practice of mastery grading in math increases equity in the classroom by allowing students multiple opportunities to demonstrate proficiency with a standard.  Click on the link above to see examples of student work and to hear from the teachers who are implementing this form of grading.