Statement on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
At Cottonwood Classical Preparatory School, we are committed to fostering a diverse, equitable, and inclusive learning environment where every individual feels valued, respected, and empowered. We believe that all dimensions of diversity are a source of strength.
At Cottonwood, our teachers, administrators, staff, students, and parents work together to create a caring and inclusive community that supports each student’s unique pathway. Our mission, “to develop skillful, knowledgeable, compassionate, balanced, and internationally-minded lifelong learners,” would be impossible without a zeal for diversity. Diversity provides windows into the lives of others and mirrors into our own. Diversity grows empathy and understanding. Because of this, we are resolute in our commitment to creating an inclusive learning community and fostering an environment where everyone can find belonging and thrive, an environment where we embrace and celebrate our differences.
We believe that diversity is encouraged through:
- Leading with open-mindedness and compassion
- Inquiring, thinking critically, responding, and reflecting upon the needs of our community
- Communicating effectively with stakeholders and valuing student voices
- Intentionally living out our principles on a daily basis
Though we firmly believe that diversity makes us stronger, the sentiment alone is not enough. For our learning community, we must actively ensure equity in our policies and practices, support the development of a more inclusive culture, and foster a sense of belonging for all. In order to do so, we must carefully reflect upon the past and make tangible strides forward.
To support these endeavors, we have already made great strides towards inclusion and belonging. In recent years we have:
- Increased professional development for our staff in the realms of the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme, Paideia, and Culturally and Linguistically Responsive teaching and learning
- Invested time and resources into our diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives, including the development of the Equity Council and the hiring of an English Language Learner services coordinator and social-emotional support staff
- Supported students in the development of affinity and ally groups including Black Student Union, Gender & Sexuality Alliance, and Hispanic Student Union
- Developed afterschool programs, tutoring services, free access to instructional materials, and a free lunch program to support student success
Moving forward, we will continue to reflect upon our progress and take healthy risks to advance our diversity, equity, and inclusion related goals. To ensure that we stay committed to our goals and continually improve, we commit to:
- Actively seek community input and earnestly consider and incorporate their ideas
- Provide temporal and financial support to grow staff understanding, empathy, and support of students and their cultural behaviors and backgrounds
- Ensure our curricular materials provide representation and quality, as well as authentic portrayal of diverse individuals and groups in content and authorship
- Cultivate diverse representation in staff members so that we more accurately reflect the composition of the student body
- Uphold equity in the daily implementation of our educational program, especially for our students who use special education services.
- Make equity a lens with which we view, develop, and remediate school policies and procedures
Throughout the academic year, we will continue to develop and share specific strides toward these six goals. This statement shall be updated routinely (every 2-5 years) to ensure that it is reflective of our commitment and progress.
At Cottonwood Classical, we believe that diversity makes us stronger and, in turn, strengthens the next generation of leaders, thinkers, and innovators to create a more peaceful world. We commit to continuous improvement to ensure we are never stagnant in our efforts to be a diverse, equitable, and inclusive learning community.