At IDEAL, no one leaves their identity at the door. IDEAL’s curriculum and programs are multicultural by design and intentionally developed to develop an anti-bias perspective. IDEAL affirms each student’s differences and fosters positive identity by directly addressing the impact of stereotyping, bias, and discriminatory behavior, encouraging cooperative learning, and teaching conflict resolution. This type of inclusive, multicultural, social justice education empowers students to succeed in a truly diverse society with self-confidence, acceptance, and compassion - values that are increasingly important in our global society.
- Multicultural Education
- Signature Curriculum
- Social Justice & Anti-Bias
- Community Time
IDEAL’s mission calls on us to celebrate diversity and to embrace difference. Inclusion recognizes that we can all learn from one another and that every person has an inherent right to participate fully in society. We honor the uniqueness of each individual and embrace diverse backgrounds, values, points of view, and experiences to cultivate a supportive community and to prepare 21st century students for lives in a multicultural, global society.
Our unique Diversity Curriculum is a core component of multicultural education at IDEAL. IDEAL’s Diversity Curriculum gives students the critical thinking skills they need to solve problems in their own lives, in their local communities, and on a global scale, through the following programs and instruction.
Town Meeting discussions and assembly themes focus on a different value each month. We build on these throughout the year. Below is an overview of our monthly guiding concepts: Respect requires inclusion. Responsibility requires action. Compassion requires service. Peacemaking requires cooperation. Justice requires restraint. Solidarity requires acceptance. Courage requires perseverance. Change requires effort. Choice requires mindfulness. Hope requires purpose.
(R=reduce T=teach Q=question)
|Concept in Action|
|Values, Thoughts, Skills||Events and Guiding Questions|
|Respect||Inclusion||R: Bias, Judgment|
T: Acceptance, positive identity
|Hopes and Dreams|
Q: What makes us unique?
R: Blaming, bullying, aggression, entitlement
|Service Learning Kick-off|
|Peace||Cooperation, conflict resolution, Stewardship||R: bullying, aggression, Peace breaking, |
T: Sharing, active listening, anti-bullying, aggression replacement skills, peacemaking
|Negotiation and Mediation, Allies, Advocacy|
R: Power games, power imbalances, Reactionary choices, anger towards adults
|Civil Rights Museum and Freedom Songs Concert|
|Friendship and Families Assembly (LOVE)|
Lunar New Year Assembly
|R: Jumping to conclusions, all or nothing thinkingT: Coping with emotions|
Spring Break Month - no assemblies for this
|R: Lazy Thinking, impulsivity|
T: open-mindedness, Decision making, self-acceptance, planning effort, social action, duty
|R: whining, negative thinking|
T: Problem solving, planning, best choices, natural consequences
Each month at IDEAL, we focus on a different core value that we believe is essential for developing ethical citizens, such as Respect, Compassion, Peace, and Justice. Teachers are encouraged to build grade-specific curriculum units and service learning projects around these core values. School events and traditions are linked to these core values, and they are organizing principles that contribute to the other aspects of our Diversity Curriculum, such as Community Time discussions and student assembly presentations.
Through social justice and anti-bias instruction, students are taught to be aware of bias and injustice, both individual and systemic; to understand the short- and long-term impact of injustice; and about those who have fought for more fairness and justice in our world. Guided discussion provides opportunities for students to engage in dialogue in which they share feelings, experiences, and insights in response to structured lessons and about current events. Students are encouraged both to share their own ideas and to respond to the ideas of a classmate. The goal is to create a classroom culture of deep listening, compassionate perspective-taking, critical thinking, and a caring community. IDEAL students thus see their potential to effect change and are equipped with the tools to be advocates and up-standers.
IDEAL students begin in Kindergarten and continue throughout the grades to learn about themselves while empowering their unique identities, as well as the myriad identities in their classroom communities. Students develop a positive sense of who they are and a genuine feeling of belonging, a feeling that that they are valued and respected as part of a community. They also understand how their identities impact the larger community.
Each month, the core values that we emphasize are linked to major identifiers, such as gender, ability, class, race, sexuality, and intersectionality. These identifiers are explored in structured activities and conversations about related current events, and they are celebrated in student assemblies. Identity is also explored on an ongoing basis throughout the curriculum, including social studies and history units, reading assignments, Life Skills course work in the upper grades, and creative arts units and projects.
Community Time is dedicated time in each division that is focused on our diversity, identity, and social justice programming. Community Time in the Lower School brings students together weekly to have age-appropriate discussions about current events and social justice topics, strengthening students’ awareness of the wider world. In the Middle and High Schools, Community Time occurs bi-weekly and includes student-led discussions of current events and social justice issues, cultivating student leadership, voice, and confidence. By leading the agenda and presenting in front of their peers during Community Time, students grow their confidence and strengthen their own self-advocacy skills, while practicing respect for diverse perspectives of their peers and teachers. Community Time supports students’ own journeys of learning how to be critical thinkers and to form and express their own opinions.