How ISB defines diversity
Diversity in schools has become a hot topic in the world of education over the last few years, and this shift has had many benefits for students and communities. The value of diversity in schools is in teaching students to embrace our differences and fostering an inclusive culture where all students feel safe and welcome.
At ISB, we understand the importance of diversity in education and we incorporate this into various aspects of our school curriculum. But how does ISB define diversity and how do we continue to promote this important skill in various ways throughout our school?
Why does diversity matter?
For your child to be comfortable with the variety of people they will meet throughout life, it is important that they understand diversity and inclusion at a young age. Through being introduced to new ideas, different ways of thinking, unfamiliar cultures, and new languages, your child will experience the vibrancy of our real world in a safe learning environment where they can explore, ask questions, and try something new.
Only a learning environment that is a reflection of what our increasingly diverse world actually looks like can foster diversity.
A diverse student body is just one thing to look for when searching for the best international school.
“A large part of our work is to help build a more inclusive culture where every student is valued and included for their individual strengths and contributions,” says Danette Sack, Director of Student Support Services at ISB.
What does diversity look like at ISB?
Diversity is not limited to someone’s outward appearance. At ISB, diversity encompasses far more than that.
“Diversity includes sexual orientation, gender identity, passport country, languages spoken, learning profiles, race, etc. Students with learning disabilities and students learning English make up only a portion of the diversity offered at ISB,” says Ms. Sack.
Ms. Sack says that there has been a shift in how admissions at ISB functions; there is now planning and forethought put into curating a student body that is an accurate representation of what the real world will look like for our students. Two of the areas in which diversity and inclusion are a priority for admissions are students with diverse learning requirements and students from different backgrounds and experiences.
Embracing diversity in the classroom
Diversity in education has many benefits, but the desired outcome of diversity in schools is an enhanced learning experience that is improved by different ideas and perspectives. By actively seeking out students who will further contribute to a diverse student body, ISB is dedicated to creating an inclusive environment for your child to explore and contribute.
“All of the students we serve contribute to the diversity of the school. Our students add to the diversity of the school through varied language and learning experiences and perspectives,” says Ms. Sack.
ISB encourages behaviors in the classroom that embrace the diversity within our student body. One of the ways we do this is through translanguaging.
“In our school, translanguaging is a way to use English and a student’s first language together, to learn,” says Ms. Sack.
Translanguaging is an effective way to help students whose native language is not English make connections with the academic content and demonstrate their learning.
An example of this would be two students whose native tongue is Korean discussing their science assignment in Korean but completing the work in English. This further develops both their English and Korean language skills but in a way that is not detrimental to their classwork in any fashion. In fact, research into translanguaging has shown it actually results in a deeper understanding of the subject matter.
International schools have not always been known for being diverse or inclusive, but one of the biggest areas where diversity has been made a priority at ISB is through personalized learning and accepting students with divergent learning requirements.
“Historically, our schools have been very exclusive, only admitting students who attained certain scores or levels of achievement. I’ve worked with schools around the world to build the will and skill to admit students with a variety of learning profiles – to attempt to mirror a population we might find outside of our school environment,” says Ms. Sack.
Experiencing diversity from a young age has a number of benefits. Find out more how diversity in your child's education helps prepare them for the future.
Ms. Sack adds that a lot of her work is dedicated to helping students with learning challenges experience the same quality of education of neurotypical students, and that this reciprocal relationship benefits all those involved.
Students who were historically denied entrance to schools like ISB are now welcomed, supported, and encouraged to be themselves. Our goal at ISB is to meet and serve the needs of all students, because a diverse student population strengthens us all.
ISB is an extraordinary school, made so by a tradition of educational excellence spanning 40 years. Establishing, nurturing, and growing such an exceptional learning community has been and remains intentional; we work hard to build strong relationships so our learning is at its best.