While we acknowledge the pursuit of DEI is a journey—and that we won’t get it right every time—we commit to learning from our mistakes in the pursuit of progress.
We serve students who come to us with different backgrounds and experiences in life. We must recognize and celebrate their diverse backgrounds, help create equitable educational outcomes for them and provide an inclusive environment so that their voices and perspectives are honored. If this is to happen in a meaningful and authentic way, we must simultaneously do the same work within our own CIS team, applying these values and practices in our own day-to-day work, so that we can truly serve students from a place of respect and ensure that they have opportunities to thrive.
Our commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion must lead everything we do. Our mission cannot be achieved without it, therefore we are dedicated to a steady journey of constant learning consisting of openness, discovery, and intentionality.
Our journey to becoming an organization that truly reflects the diversity of our communities and celebrates the strength of our differences to create a more just and equitable world for all students starts with understanding what we mean when we talk about diversity, equity, and inclusion.
While there are many interpretations of diversity, equity, and inclusion, we at Communities In Schools of Renton define these concepts as follows:
DIVERSITY includes all of the similarities and differences among people, not limited to gender, gender identity, ethnicity, race, immigration status, age, sexual orientation, culture, religion, belief system, marital status, parental status, socioeconomic status, appearance, language, accent, ability status, mental health, education, work experience, job role function, thinking style, personality type, physical appearance, and political perspective or affiliation. In a diverse environment, we believe that individuals with these unique voices and viewpoints must be heard and honored in meaningful, substantive ways. A person is not diverse—they are a unique, individual unit. Diversity is about a collective or a group and can only exist in relationship to others
EQUITY recognizes and addresses power dynamics by making sure that everyone has equal access to the same opportunities. Equity takes into account that people have different access to resources because of systems of oppression and privilege, and seeks to balance those disparities. Tackling equity issues requires an understanding of the root causes of outcome disparities within our society and taking action to address them.
INCLUSION exists when barriers to participation in decision-making processes are eliminated. It is celebrating, valuing, and amplifying perspectives, voices, and values that have been disadvantaged and/or marginalized. An inclusive environment creates equitable access to resources and opportunities for all, and helps individuals and groups feel safe, respected, engaged, and valued for who they are and for their contributions to community and society. In other words, inclusion without limits.
With these definitions at the core, we are adopting a multi-faceted commitment to build, refine, and rigorously assess a series of internal and external organizational DEI practices:
We commit to being culturally-responsive in the supports we offer to students and families so that students feel valued.
We commit to creating the space for ongoing and open discourse about DEI, perpetuating a welcoming culture to create a richer context for community building, and being genuinely willing to consider new perspectives, while appreciating individual similarities and differences.
We commit to recruiting a talented and diverse team and providing supports that make all staff feel empowered, appreciated and successful in doing the critical work needed to fulfill our mission.
While we acknowledge the pursuit of DEI is a journey—and that we won’t get it right every time—we commit to learning from our mistakes in the pursuit of progress. We aspire to model the challenges and opportunities of change, and the potential impact that can result when we collectively commit to DEI.