Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

Developing Cultural Competence:
Our Mission & Vision

Aspen Academy is committed to creating and maintaining an environment that supports diversity, equity, and inclusion by promoting respect and understanding of diverse cultures, social groups, and individuals. Cultural competence is the ability to understand, communicate with and effectively interact with people across cultures.

We believe that an organization that prioritizes diversity, equity and inclusion creates an environment that respects and values individual difference along varying dimensions. In addition, inclusive organizations foster cultures that minimize bias and recognize and address systemic inequities, which, if unaddressed, can create disadvantages for community members. These efforts are reflected in our organizational mission, vision, and values; are incorporated into strategic plans; and inform all we do as a school.  

We as a school do not shy away from potentially difficult conversations, such as, but not limited to: differences, diversity, identity, privilege, bias, prejudice, race, and injustice. Instead, we take them on as moments to grow and create an even more inviting and inclusive environment- conducive for the learning for all people. 

Actions We Are Taking and Opportunities for Growth: 2020 Initiatives

All students, families, and staff members are valued for their unique experiences and perspectives they bring to our community. Everyone is encouraged to grow into their most authentic self and to be seen, valued, and heard in that process of growth. 

At Aspen, we put feet to our mission, vision and values by using and applying this work in every classroom using the Social Justice Standard (from Teaching Tolerance) as a framework to guide connections to leadership in the areas of: Identity, Diversity, Justice, and Action. 

We edify and inspire students and educators to grow, learn, and lead. (Aspen Academy's Mission) We do this through celebrating diversity and affirming all cultural dimensions and identities:  

  • Acknowledging & Evaluating Systems of Justice and Equity from Local to National to International Environments
  • Providing Safe Spaces for Courageous Conversations for Students, Parents and Faculty
  • Providing Affinity Spaces for Students, Parents and Faculty
  • Providing ongoing and current information and resources for Students, Parents and Faculty to remain engaged in their own life-long work and personal growth
  • Identifying the need for and fostering an environment in which increased work can be done in the areas of Self-Identity and Self-Awareness
  • Integrating Teaching Tolerance Standards into existing curriculum to reflect Social Justice
  • Leveraging Aspen Academy’s own Future Holders Curriculum and Lessons in the areas of Social Emotional Learning, Character and Development, and Cultural Competence
  •  Integrating Pollyanna’s Racial Literacy Curriculum for Grades K-8 which is designed to help students gain knowledge about race as it has been constructed in the United States.
  • Engagement in ongoing curricular evaluation to ensure inclusive and cultural representation in instructional materials, lessons and textbooks. 
  • Ongoing professional development providing best practices for teachers in the areas Social Justice Instruction and creating/maintaining Culturally Responsive Classrooms.

 

All humans have the right to thrive with dignity and freedom from racism and discrimination in all its forms.” 
- Amina J. Mohammed, UN Deputy Secretary General

 

Resources

Your Sphere of Influence: Danielle Coke

"While fighting racism will be a long and difficult journey because of how engrained it is in many aspects of society, there are so many steps you can take in the short-term to contribute to change." - Danielle Coke

Becoming Anti-Racist

Anti-racist awareness and action is a continual process of becoming. It is fundamentally iterative.

RECENT BLOGS

Grow, Learn and Lead with Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
Jessie Skipwith

This school year has started as quickly as last year ended and we enter this school year with a direct and absolute call to action. There is no doubt that your children and families have observed, heard or discussed any number of topics this summer surrounding matters that speak to diversity, equity and inclusion. Read on for more about our 2020-2021 focus on DEI.

Read More about Grow, Learn and Lead with Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
We Can Prepare Even in Times of Uncertainty: Social-Emotional Support, Academic Strategies, and Confronting Racial Injustice
Jessie Skipwith

As we ready ourselves for a new school year, one certainty is that there are many questions on the horizon for all of us. There are many ways we can prepare for a new, exciting, and adventurous school year. We can choose our attitude, and intentionally frame our perspective, as we encounter all that life throws our way.  Although the 2020-2021 school year will be unlike any before, we can choose positivity and optimism, we can choose persistence, and we can choose gratitude. 

Read More about We Can Prepare Even in Times of Uncertainty: Social-Emotional Support, Academic Strategies, and Confronting Racial Injustice

ELEVATE TEAM

Jessie Skipwith

Director of Elevate & Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, Student Success Coach, Licensed School Counselor
M.Ed., Counselor Education, University of New Orleans
B.A., Justice, American University

Cindy Hewatt

School Counselor, LMFT
B.S., Psychology, Colorado State University
M.A., Clinical Psychology, LMFT, Chapman University

Megan McKnight

Lower School Learning Specialist
BA, Elementary Education, University of Arizona

Justin Wimbish

Middle School Learning Interventionist
B.S., Management Information Systems, University of Wyoming
Staff Sergeant (E-6), US Army Reserve
(In Progress) M.S., Education and Human Development