Diversity and Inclusion
Want to see our approach to diversity and our community programming in action? Follow us on Instagram.
For more information about our approach to diversity and what it looks like in practice, please contact our Director of Community Development, Sahba Rohani.
Community Roots is Committed to Diversity and Inclusion
Since its founding, Community Roots Charter School (CRCS) has been committed to creating a learning environment which is diverse and inclusive. By offering students the opportunity to learn and grow side by side with peers from varied backgrounds and abilities, we believe that graduates will leave our school with a sense of community which transcends the traditional borders of race, culture and socioeconomic status, as well as an ability to challenge the misconceptions around gender and sexuality. Using research and an understanding of our own community, we have developed a comprehensive approach to teaching students how people’s experiences and interactions are shaped by their identity. Through a rich social studies focus and a social-emotional curriculum, we aim to equip all of our students with the skills and perspectives necessary to become fully engaged members of their communities.
Community Roots is located in Fort Greene, Brooklyn. As a means of safeguarding the socio-economic diversity of the school in a neighborhood with constantly shifting demographics and intense demand for quality elementary education, the school’s admissions lottery was weighted to ensure that 40% of incoming Kindergartners are from the Ingersoll Houses, Walt Whitman Houses, and Farragut Houses, public housing directly surrounding the school building.
Community Roots Aligns with an Anti-Bias Approach
Community Roots aligns closely to an anti-bias approach, which we believe is critical to the creation and sustainability of an environment where a diverse student population can thrive. This quote from the Anti-Defamation League defines this approach: “Anti-bias education incorporates the philosophy of multicultural education while expanding to include other forms of bias, stereotypes and misinformation. Anti-bias education not only addresses race and ethnicity but also includes gender, language, religion, sexual orientation, physical and mental abilities and economic class. Anti-bias education takes an active, problem solving approach that is integrated into all aspects of an existing curriculum and a school’s environment. An anti-bias curriculum promotes an understanding of social problems and provides students with strategies for improving social conditions.”
By prioritizing issues of identity, discrimination and social justice in our curriculum and our professional development, the school strives to be a brave-space (a space that supports people to take risks) for differences of all kinds, where all staff, students, and families feel supported, empowered and fully engaged.
Through our commitment to an anti-bias curriculum, we strive to create a learning environment where:
Professional Development to Support Our Approach
Professional development is another crucial element in creating a strong infrastructure for diversity and inclusion.
The Diversity Working Group
To help build a sustainable and developmentally appropriate anti-bias curriculum, and to support staff in addressing issues surrounding bias related to race, class, gender, and sexuality, that surface on a day-to-day basis both inside and outside the classroom, a Diversity Working Group (DWG) was created in 2012. Made up of a team of self-selected faculty members from within the school community, the DWG meets regularly to create a social justice scope and sequence to be integrated into existing social studies units and reinforced through read-alouds and community conversations. In addition, the group designs and facilitates staff trainings, coordinates with outside agencies that run workshops on topics related to diversity, and puts together a summer reading list that allows all members of the community to continue to engage with these issues on an on-going basis.
Approaching Our Work with Love
Along with our core values, we see social justice as a cornerstone of our educational community, where honoring one another becomes a key element of academic success. Most importantly, we believe that all of this work is only possible and meaningful if it is approached with love:
The moment we choose to love we begin to move against domination, against oppression. The moment we choose to love we begin to move towards freedom, to act in ways that liberate ourselves and others. That action is the testimony of love as the practice of freedom. - Bell Hooks in Love as the Practice of Freedom, Outlaw Culture