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.
“Within the walls of Avenues campuses, there is a tangible desire to connect with and honor the experiences of those outside. Our community engagement programs are intentional about creating trust. We break down the walls through respect, communication and a desire to see one another in all our humanity.”
Kym Ward Gaffney
VP of Leadership, Learning
The World School Difference: Global Perspectives on DEI
As a world school with campuses on six continents, diversity is a defining feature of Avenues. Our conversations around DEI happen on a global scale between students, faculty and leadership across our campuses. By taking a global perspective 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. At the same time, we respect and appreciate the distinct local characters of each of our campuses, rooted as they are in their own unique communities. Our approach to DEI is, therefore, at once local and global–an approach which promotes the self-awareness and individual growth of all members of our community.
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.
Following in the footsteps of other Avenues campuses and embracing our urban location, we look forward to making our campus a hub of connectivity in downtown San Jose. Nowhere will this be clearer than in our efforts to engage with and contribute to the community–efforts that we know will benefit our students and sincerely hope will make a lasting positive impact on our neighbors.
“For me, the key to DEI work is humility. We often go into situations thinking we know, but unless we’re truly listening, we don’t know, and if we can acknowledge that, we can do better. That’s why at Avenues, we encourage students to lead and develop these initiatives. Giving students this space and actually listening to them is more important than anything else. When the adults come to these conversations with humility, that’s when progress happens.”
Head of School, Avenues Silicon Valley
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.
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.
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.