There is perhaps no better way to tackle bias and judgement than to have kids from all backgrounds, all neighborhoods, and all skin shades learning in the same place every day. One school in Rhode Island has done just that and they just won School of the Year from The Diverse Charter Schools Coalition Board.
What’s the big deal? I’d imagine that folks can decide for themselves why it is (or is not) a big deal, but in my view, it matters a lot because it is virtually impossible to find a school that accomplishes what BVP does when it comes to the diversity of the students and families it serves and the narrowing of achievement gaps by race and class.
Here’s what today’s press release has to say about this unique school (that two of my my three children currently attend):
Blackstone Valley Prep, School of the Year, a founding member of the Coalition, brings together nearly 1600 scholars from across four different Rhode Island communities to create a racially and socio-economically diverse student population. BVP’s demonstration of values of the Coalition is perhaps best exemplified by their continuous work to live out practices that best support their diverse by design model. “We work with all of our teachers to lead culturally responsive classrooms, and ask them to examine their own predisposed biases, judgments and look for opportunities to encourage scholars to do the same as part of their own learning,” shared Executive Director Jeremy Chiappetta. BVP’s academic data continues to show that their scholars are meeting or exceeding annual benchmarks and gaps are closing. Scholars surpassed the Rhode Island state PARCC averages in the 2015-16 school year in both reading and math for every grade tested and in every reported subgroup and are on track to do the same for the 2016-17 academic year.
The truth is, no school has everything we want or need. At least none that I’ve ever seen. But BVP has created almost a microcosm of the world that awaits all of our children in the future and their integrated school experience will serve them very well not only now but later in life.
Lots of schools do lots of things well but almost no one is doing this diversity thing at all, let alone well. Bravo BVP team for your vision and your commitment to bringing students and families together in the pursuit of raising expectations and preparing all kids “for college and the world beyond”.