Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
In our mission statement, we pledge to graduate students who are at “ease beyond their borders”; that is, students who have the cultural competencies necessary to engage with and serve in communities other than their own. Whether those borders are defined by race, culture, physical ability, socio-economic background, gender, sexual orientation or or any other measures of identity, Avenues equips its students to connect across differences and embrace access for all—both in and out of the classroom.
Community Engagement and DEI
At Avenues, community engagement and DEI are complementary initiatives that support students to pursue social impact work on a local and global scale. Through hands-on experience with our community partners, students learn to lead with empathy and put DEI principles into practice.
Kym Ward Gaffney
Vice President of Leadership, Learning and Inclusion
Stories From Our Campuses
Opportunities have included engaging with guest speakers—from elected officials to published authors, local tenant association leaders to historians—on important issues; building relationships with Spanish and Mandarin-speaking communities in the city; and partnering with local students to compete in robotics competitions.
Student-led community engagement initiatives have focused on sustainability, literacy and access to education. These have ranged from the Pracinha Initiative, which saw students develop and implement a plan to regenerate a nearby public park, to Festa Junina, a traditional Brazilian celebration held on campus.
In Shenzhen, our first grade students visited a local ethnic minority school, where they played and took classes with their peers, and donated resource packages of books and stationery. Eighth grade students developed an exhibition called “Unseen” to raise awareness of the reasons for and costs of social marginalization.
The World School Difference
Global Perspectives on DEI
As one school with many campuses around the world, diversity is a defining feature of Avenues. Our conversations around DEI happen on a global scale between students, faculty and leadership across our community. By taking a global perspective in our capacity as diversity practitioners, we challenge ourselves to transcend the limits of our local viewpoints–a process that often takes us well outside our comfort zones, but ultimately allows us to expand our capacity for empathy.
Equity and Justice
We expect our students to wrestle with multiple perspectives and that they will hold differing views on complex issues. Rather than simplifying or flattening differences, we teach toward complexity. This way, we equip our students, as they grow older, to form their own points of view on contested issues and to engage thoughtfully with others who disagree with them.
At Avenues, the process of inquiry extends beyond the classroom. As a school, we fearlessly ask and answer the “why” questions. Whether with our students, faculty or wider parent community, we do our best to acknowledge and address multiple viewpoints, creating dialogue and sustaining productive internal conversations on important topics.
Our approach to DEI goes hand-in-hand with our commitment to student safeguarding and wellbeing. Not only does every child deserve to be kept safe from physical harm at school, we also believe that children deserve to be part of a school community that guards and protects their minds, bodies and spirits. This means creating a school culture where each child feels seen, heard, valued and empowered to be themselves every day.