Introduction

This summer our Black students and alumni have told us that they have not felt that sense of belonging to a unique international learning community that we strive to create for all of our students. We want all of our Black students, employees and families to know they are seen, heard, treated fairly and protected, and we will take the needed actions to create this environment in our school.

This work will strengthen the learning of all our students across all areas of intercultural competency and we know that these competencies are now critical in developing courageous leaders across an intentionally intercultural community that is founded in mutual respect and understanding. We all need to live and work together in this cultural complexity--wherever we find ourselves.

In an international school community we acknowledge that cultural perspectives extend across many aspects of difference, and that almost everyone can be part of some minority group at AIS. This fact makes our work complex and fundamental, and of benefit to each and every student.

Doing this work well for our students, employees, and families brings us ever closer to our aspirational mission as an international school in Atlanta. We want every member of this incredible community -- all students, employees and families to feel seen, heard, treated fairly, and protected.

The Mission of Atlanta International School is to develop courageous leaders who shape their world for the better.

We thank those who courageously stepped forward to create accountability around our vision and purpose.

AIS’s Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI) Vision

  • A diverse, equitable, inclusive community is at the core of who we are as a school. We are committed to these values and they are vital to our mission of developing courageous leaders who shape the world for the better.
  • We aspire to create a healthy and positive school climate and culture by providing the conditions necessary for every member of our community to feel seen, heard, treated fairly and protected.
  • We act with courage and integrity as we actively build our intercultural competence across lines of difference and live by our core value of mutual understanding and equal respect in an intentionally inclusive, intercultural community.

Context

AIS’s intentional DEI journey began several years ago and added focus when, two years ago, we hired a Head of Equity and Inclusion. In listening to the experiences of Black students, employees, and families, we recognize we are still at the beginning of this journey.  

Since AIS is committed to the principle that all in our community should be equally treated with worth and dignity (AIS Community Principles), if as a community, we can ensure that everyone is safe and protected, it serves us all. 

Our conversations across our parents, alumni, and students have indicated that achieving an equitable and inclusive school culture where each and every student is seen, heard, treated fairly, and protected requiresdeliberate attention to five areas or domains:

Across these domains our priorities for the next 90 days are:

List of 5 items.

  • Domain 1: Systems and Policy

    In order to ensure a safe and welcoming environment for all students we will review and consistently apply our policies related to hate speech and student behavior.

    • Consistent application of policies which have clear consequences for hate speech and development of anti-retaliation policy for all students, employees and parents.
      • Immediate and consistent application of a policy against hate speech on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, ancestry, age, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, or ability and a school-wide anti-retaliation policy with clear consequences in place for all employees and students.
      • Hate Speech Consequences
        • Employees: Termination Effective Immediately.
        • Students (Grades 6-12): First Offense = 5 day suspension with relationship repair. Second offense at any point in tenure = Exclusion from the community.
      • Students (Grades 3K-5): Time-bound Intervention plan with relationship repair. If the plan is unsuccessful, the student will be counseled out. 
    • In addition to our existing reporting systems and processes, establish an option which is anonymous and external for the reporting of any incidents of behavior, or related concerns for students, employees and families.
      • Create, communicate, and implement clear and fair procedures, processes and systems to investigate incidents of bias and discrimination.
      • Review and refine our tiered approach to discipline and language to ensure its alignment to our DEI work, racial equity, and restorative approaches.
    • Develop systems for measuring our DEI progress, tracking and analyzing data and uncovering trends to proactively identify issues and concerns to be addressed.
      • Measure indicators of progress including student, family, and employee perception data, discipline data, reports of bias and hate speech and outcomes of investigations.  Analyze the data across racial and other lines of difference. Share analysis and key findings in quarterly reports.
      • Reallocate administrative support to the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion department and reprioritize the DEI budget to support training, purchase of curricular resources, and achievement of these goals.
  • Domain 2 Community Support

    We will create a network of effective and supportive relationships within and across racial lines of difference by focusing on community education, awareness, and engagement.

    • Continue to engage employees, students, and families in relationship building, promoting inclusiveness, problem-solving and provide a framework for developing community, managing conflicts and tensions, repairing harm, and rebuilding relationships. This work is known as Restorative Practice.    
    • Host opportunities to dialogue about differences, including race, racism, and anti-racism with employees, students, alumni and families in various safe spaces. Our request is that all families attend at least one this school year. 
      • Engage students, parents, and alumni in equity and inclusion advisory groups with a targeted focus on race and anti-racism.
      • Launch affinity group spaces for Secondary School students and employees across all necessary areas of difference, beginning with racial and ethnic groups.
      • Meet with alumni of color and allies to discuss and plan initiatives to support students of color at AIS. Use this work as a base to engage other interest groups of alumni in support of our students at AIS.
  • Domain 3: Learning and Teaching

    In order to create a truly inclusive community, we will examine our practices and interactions through the lens of equity and anti-racism and act with the knowledge, skills, mindsets, and judgment required to do this work intentionally across the many lines of difference represented in our school.

    • Begin implementing a required, long-term, and structured training program for all employees, including leadership, which includes anti-racism, microaggressions, intercultural development debriefs, and implicit bias training. 
      • Board members will continue to engage in opportunities for training. 
    • Design and facilitate dialogues on race, anti-racism, and racial equity with all students grades 3K-12 in age-appropriate ways.
      • In the next 90 days this will include small group dialogues with all students as well as a book discussion on Stamped: Racism, Anti-racism, and You with a group of Secondary School students.  We will share information on future book reviews as part or our regular update.
    • With the context of an IB Continuum School, we will continue to review our full curriculum for all grades with a focus on increasing and integrating racially and other diverse voices and perspectives into our classrooms while beginning the process of reshaping our pedagogies across and within subject areas to align with an anti-racist approach to teaching & learning. Quarterly progress reports will be shared with our Education and DEI Committees, Board and Community.
      • We will build upon the work begun in Secondary School Individuals and Societies, English and in Primary School in the PYP.
      • Review and refine our professional growth model for employees to include intercultural competencies and specific goals related to fostering an inclusive classroom and team environment.
  • Domain 4: Community Composition

    We will recruit, attract, retain, and integrate the perspectives of a diverse, culturally competent employee and student community (including communities of color): Black, Indigenous, Asian, South Asian, Pacific Islander, Middle Eastern/North African, Latinx). 

    • Evaluate our current hiring partners and practices for implicit bias and foster new relationships with hiring organizations and fairs who are aligned with our principles of creating a diverse and culturally competent workforce.
      • Upgrade our current data collection systems to collect self-reported diversity information for all students and families. Accurate data & records of our community composition.
      • Upgrade our people management system to track self-reported demographics, including, but not limited to race, to more accurately understand our employee make-up. 
      • Initiate internship and partnership relationship building with local colleges and universities and other organizations to increase diversity in applicant pipeline. 
    • Continue to intentionally target and increase admissions of students of color by actively engaging current AIS parents in the recruiting process.
  • Domain 5: Transparency and Accountability

    As Senior Leadership, Board of Trustee members, and employees, we will hold ourselves and one another accountable for making progress and providing transparent communication about our successes, opportunities, and challenges in creating a truly inclusive community where all are seen, heard, treated fairly, and protected.

    • Share analysis and key findings from our student and parent inclusion surveys and other data collected and use these findings to inform our work moving forward.
      • We will use these baseline results to inform our actions, determine KPIs, and continuous improvement targets.
      • Publish first quarterly update on progress and challenges.
      • Integrate our short-term actions into our strategic plan and review progress with our Education Committee, DEI Committee & Board of Trustees to ensure that our actions are achieving the expressed intent of our goals and make necessary revisions and adjustments.

    We are committed to tangible actions and evidence of change within the attitudes, behaviors, policies, and structures of our learning environment. We will act with courage and integrity to rebuild trust, create and sustain change, as we move towards fully living our mission and core values.

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Definitions

At Atlanta International School, we aspire to embody the commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion we envision for the world’s global community by making it an operating principle- meaning diversity, equity, and inclusion come alive through our beliefs and behaviors as a school community.

List of 11 items.

  • Affinity Groups

    A bringing together of people who have an identifier in common, e.g. race, gender, religion, family status, etc. Affinity groups are for individuals who identify as members of the group and can speak to the experience of being a member of the group from the “I” perspective. Affinity groups are not designed to gossip or put down other groups – they are designed to affirm the group that is gathering and allow for an exploration of one’s own identity, celebration of shared identity, and debriefing of the common challenges and experiences that members of the identity group face.
  • Ally

    Someone who makes the commitment and effort to recognize their privilege (based on gender, class, race, sexual identity, etc.) and work in solidarity with oppressed groups in the struggle for justice. Allies understand that it is in their own interest to end all forms of oppression, even those from which they may benefit in concrete ways.

    OpenSource Leadership Strategies,
    “The Dynamic System of Power, Privilege and Oppressions.”
  • Anti-Racism

    The work of actively opposing racism by advocating or changes in political, economic, and social life. Anti-racism tends to be an individualized approach, and set up in opposition to individual racist behaviors and impacts. 

    SOURCE: Race Forward
  • Diversity

    All the ways in which people differ and all the characteristics that make one individual or group distinct from another. It is all-inclusive and recognizes everyone and every group as part of the diversity that should be valued. A broad definition includes not only race, ethnicity,and gender -- the groups that most often come to mind when the term “diversity” is used -- but also age, national origin, religion, ability, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, education, marital status, language, and physical appearance. It also involves different ideas, perspectives, and values. It is important to note that a diverse community is not necessarily an inclusive community.

    What does this mean for our community?
    • We recruit and retain students, faculty, and staff across multiple lines of difference that reflect the inclusive coalition we believe it will take to prepare students to be global, culturally competent leaders in the 21st century who have the beliefs and capabilities to positively change the world.


    SOURCE: UC Berkeley Center for Equity, Inclusion and Diversity
  • Equity

    Acknowledges the different experiences that people have based on their social identities, eliminates biases and structural barriers to access and opportunities and makes the necessary adjustments to ensure fairness within the procedures, processes, and distribution of resources.

    What does this mean for our community?
    • We work to build a school and world where all people can thrive. We act with courage to interrupt and examine our own roles in perpetuating systems that keep us from realizing the highest and unique potential of and opportunities for all of our students.
  • Implicit Bias

    Also known as unconscious or hidden bias, implicit biases are negative associations that people unknowingly hold. They are expressed automatically, without conscious awareness. Many studies have indicated that implicit biases affect individuals’ attitudes and actions, thus creating real-world implications, even though individuals may not even be aware that those biases exist within themselves.

    Source: State of the Science Implicit Bias Review 2013, Cheryl Staats, Kirwan Institute, The Ohio State University.
  • Inclusion

    Deeply valuing the differences, perspectives and contributions of all people and ensuring a safe, affirming, respectful, and responsive environment.

    What does this mean for our community?
    • We intentionally build relationships across all lines of difference, enable multiple pathways to success, and build a culture that celebrates the unique contributions and unites people around our shared values and common purpose. This leads us to create an environment where each student, faculty, staff, and parent can contribute fully, learn from one another, be valued, and be their best.

    Source: OpenSource Leadership Strategies, Some Working Definitions
  • Microaggressions

    The everyday verbal, nonverbal, and environmental slights, snubs, or insults whether intentional or unintentional, which communicate hostile, derogatory, or negative messages to target persons based solely upon their marginalized group membership.

    Source: Derald Wing Sue, “Microagressions: More than Just Race,” Psychology Today, November 17, 2010, http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/microagressions-in-everyday-life/201011/microaggressions-more-just-race
  • Racial Equity

    Racial equity is the condition that would be achieved if one’s racial identity no longer predicted, in a statistical sense, how one fares.  When we use the term, we are thinking about racial equity as one part of racial justice, and thus we also include work to address root causes of inequities not just their manifestations. This includes elimination of policies, practices, attitudes, and cultural messages that reinforce differential outcomes by race or fail to eliminate them.

    Source: Center for Assessment and Policy Development
  • Racism

    Racism is different from racial prejudice, hatred, or discrimination.  Racism involves one group having the power to carry out systematic discrimination through the institutional policies and practices of the society and by shaping the cultural beliefs and values that support those racist policies and practices.

    Source: Dismantling Racism Works
  • Restorative Practices

    Restorative Practices is a social science that studies how to build social capital and achieve social discipline through participatory learning and decision making.  The use of restorative practices helps to reduce bullying, improve human behavior, strengthen civil society, provide effective leadership, restore relationships, and repair harm. The Restorative Practices framework also uses both informal and formal processes that precede wrongdoing, those that proactively build relationships and a sense of community to prevent conflict and wrongdoing.

    Source: International Institute of Restorative Practices

Leadership

List of 1 members.

  • Jacinta Williams 

Equity and Inclusion Team

Meet our Equity and Inclusion team here.

Programs & Resources

Our students, faculty, and staff participate annually in:

  • Intercultural Competency Workshops
  • People of Color Conference
  • Student Diversity Leadership Conference
  • White Privilege Conference
  • Anti-Defamation League Workshops
  • Teaching Tolerance Workshops
 
Our Head of Equity and Inclusion guides initiatives which include:

  • Equity & Inclusion Workshops for New Faculty & Staff
  • Student Affinity Groups
  • Faculty Affinity-based Groups
  • Community Cultural Commemoration & Celebration Events
  • Civil Conversation Dinners
  • Book Study Groups
 

Projects and Programs

Commemorations and Celebrations

Atlanta International School

A private, non-profit, international, IB World School for grades 3K-12, featuring full and dual-immersion language programs.

2890 North Fulton Drive

Atlanta, Georgia 30305, USA
404.841.3840