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A S T E C

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Dream and Believe. Learn and Achieve. 

Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion
at ASTEC

“You’ll never understand inclusion, until you've been excluded.” 
René Carayol

 
ASTEC Charter Schools proactively encourages diversity, equity and inclusion within the organization.

It is the desire of ASTEC Charter Schools  to create a diverse and welcoming environment for everyone interested in being an employee. ASTEC recognizes the benefits of a diverse population of employees in the education sector in shaping the future of the students under our care. Diverse backgrounds foster unique contributions and capabilities and create an inclusive community ultimately leading to a more creative, effective and technically respected community. ASTEC proactively encourages diversity in all areas of teaching, and the education profession at large, as well as, within the organization. ASTEC is committed to developing business practices and position statements in support of this policy. (Borrowed in part by the NSPE Professional Policy No. 01)

The ASTEC Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Advisory Council 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In order to foster scholars reaching their highest potential, we believe that a culturally diverse campus is integral to removing obstacles in the way of academic excellence. 

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ASTEC embraces and supports the uniqueness of each individual and their diverse backgrounds, values, and points of view to build a stronger faculty within our inclusive community and to prepare our students for lives in a multicultural society.

 

Our students, faculty and staff should reflect the diverse world in which we live. Our commitment to equity and diversity at ASTEC is the shared responsibility of students, staff, and faculty, and must be supported by all levels of leadership.

The goals are to address the issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion in the workplace, the classroom, and in the community, by empowering, building relationships, cultivating respect, and removing obstacles. We wish to bring awareness of the cultural backgrounds of our scholars, employees, and community by providing training, facilitating discourse among and between our targeted groups, creating safe spaces to share experiences, and supporting and encouraging scholar advocacy to develop their voice and prepare them to handle difficult realities.

Strategic Plan - Promoting Diversity and Tomorrow's Profession
 

  • Continue the work of the Diversity Council

  • Bring the importance of awareness of diversity, equity, and inclusion to our employees 

  • Develop and promote a culture of diversity and inclusion within ASTEC district

  • Invite experts in these areas to provide professional development for our employees

  • Join with others to promote a culture of diversity and inclusion across education community 

  • Partner with other organizations with similar goals

  • Give scholars the opportunity to learn about and practice a healthy awareness of diversity, equity, and inclusion

  • Identify and create opportunities to attract, nurture and retrain diverse members of the profession 
     

Why Should I Care About Diversity in the Education Community? 

 

When the profession’s diversity becomes the topic of conversation, as it has in our school, ASTEC made the decision to create a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Advisory Committee to answer questions raised, in an effort to establish and normalize such conversations. 


We realize students often drop out of school, experience isolation, confusion, undue shame, and emotional and mental distress when there is a lack of diversity, equity and inclusion within a classroom or school. When students or employees do not feel valued and/or are experiencing any of these things, they cannot focus on their schoolwork or professional tasks. We believe all students and all employees should feel accepted, worthy and valuable, and that an awareness of diversity, equity and inclusion by all members of the ASTEC community is a first step to that end.

 

Why The DEI Committee Cares About Diversity in the Education Community

 

Members of the ASTEC Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Advisory Committee responded directly to popular questions raised.

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Mayra Garcia
High School Social Studies Teacher

Question: Is it really important for students and employees to see peers who represent various cultural differences and backgrounds?

Garcia: "Diversity in the education community is important for students on a social-emotional level and an academic level. There is significant data that links diversity within the teaching staff to academic achievement. ASTEC does not have an ethnically based quota because we recognize the benefits of students experiencing diversity within the classroom and among their teachers. Faculty experiencing diversity among their peers allows for exposure and education to various backgrounds.For this reason ASTEC encourages, celebrates, and supports the diverse faculty, staff, and community we serve."

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Andrea Fruit
High School English Teacher

Question: Schools should prepare scholars for a successful future, so why do they need to be concerned about the diversity of their future workforce?

Fruit: "Our world is becoming more diverse, the way we look, interact and behave; we cannot escape diversity in our future. According to the Census Bureau, in 2044 the U.S. population will have a “majority minority” — where the number of individuals who are multiracial and racial and ethnic minorities exceeds those of whites. ASTEC believes scholars who are exposed to diverse faculty and peers are better equipped with the realistic skills needed to compete in the 21st century global economy. Research shows that diverse faculty contribute to academic achievement. ASTEC will highlight diversity, equity, and inclusion to produce scholars that are leaders within a diverse global workforce."

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Casey Rainbolt, M.Ed.
Headmaster

Question: How can we have a focus on diversity in financially competitive professions when there is a lack of gender and racial diversity among students in institutions of higher learning, and in certain parts of our state and nation?

Rainbolt: "Attracting diversity within the workplace is a priority with an emphasis on goals and inclusion to engage the school culture. Recognizing that representation matters through the promotion of education of opportunities within career pathways and higher learning opportunities for minorities and those of ethnic descent. A primary focus at ASTEC is placed on gender and diversity among our school climate through exposure to various careers, internships and scholarship opportunities across the state and nation. ASTEC is working toward building a pipeline of students to remove factors that have traditionally kept people of diversity from training and receiving an education in these fields."

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Stephen Taylor
Elementary Co-Teacher

Question: Maybe the pendulum has swung too far, and we are now discriminating against white males.

Taylor: "As a white male, I do not feel as though I am discriminated against in society. There is a misconception that companies are trying to fill minority quotas and that they are required by law to recruit a certain percentage of minorities who are not always the best candidate for the job. When I first encounter people, they see me as a white privileged male but nothing could be further from the truth. Throughout my career I have been discriminated against because of my socioeconomic background - I was brought up in the wrong zip code, turned down for promotions due to my religious beliefs and for my social activities outside of work - coaching an alternative lifestyle rugby club, but never because of the color of my skin. However, in education, I am the minority. A male working in elementary education is rare. A person's employment, social background, religious beliefs, sexual orientation, or the color of your skin should not matter. Strong male role models are required to educate our students in order to enhance their ability to be successful in a global market."

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Angela Dormiani, M.A., NBCT, Council Chair
High School Social Studies Teacher

Question: Does ASTEC teach Critical Race Theory?

Dormiani: "Critical Race Theory is a theoretical framework developed forty years ago by legal scholars, and has been taught as part of some college and university courses. Concepts from this theory are not part of any Oklahoma State Standards for any curriculum taught in the pre-K through twelfth grade subjects, therefore it is not part of ASTEC’s curriculum. For lower grades, theoretical concepts are too complicated to teach young people in a way for learned discourse, and even in the upper-grades the ideas will often be too complex. As educators, our number one goal in a classroom-especially in history and other social studies subjects- is to analyze all sides and all voices involved in our standards, and to be able to discern biases. We, as educators at ASTEC Charter Schools, respect the views, cultures, races and ethnicities of all involved, especially of our students, their families, and our community."

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Hasan Davis

ASTEC DEI Council Advisor

I help leaders to develop the next generation of young people.
I create hope dealers.

I inspire leaders to see themselves as pivotal change agents in the development of youth.

I provide them with the tools they need to engage, encourage, and empower the youth in their communities.

I do this by ensuring:


  • young people have hope and resilience

  • educators have the capacity to support and build resilience in young people

  • organizations do their work in ways that children and youth are at the center and by living out their mission to serve kids

Further Reading
  • Culturally Responsive Teaching & The Brain - Promoting Authentic Engagement and Rigor Among Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Students by Zaretta Hammond
  • Written Off: How One Man's Journey Through Poverty, Disability and Delinquency is Transforming the Juvenile Justice System by Hasan Davis
  • Culturally and Linguistically Responsive Teaching and Learning - Classroom Practices for Student Success by Sharroky Hollie 
  • Culturally Responsive Teaching for Multilingual Learners: Tools for Equity by Sydney Snyder and Diane Stehr Fenner by Marisol Rerucha Beyond the Surface of Restorative Practices: Building a Culture of Equity, Connection, and Healing
  • Belonging Through a Culture of Dignity: The Keys to Successful Equity Implementation by Floyd Cobb
  • The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America by Richard Rothstein. 
  • Culturally Responsive Teaching and the Brain: Promoting Authentic Engagement and Rigor among Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Students. Corwin, a SAGE Company
  • Counseling the Culturally Diverse: Theory and Practice 8th Edition by  Derald Wing Sue, David Sue, Helen A. Nevile, and Laura Smith 
  • Family Life Education with Diverse Populations  by Sharon M Ballard and Alan Taylor, Jul 21, 2021
  • Opening Doors to Diversity in Leadership, by Bobby Siu 
  • The Diversity and Inclusion Handbook, by  Sondra Thiederman
  • Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion for Trainers: Fostering DEI in the Workplace, by  Maria Morukian 
  • The Diversity Gap: Where Good Intentions Meet True Cultural Change, by  Bethaney Wilkinson 
  • Authentic Diversity: How to Change the Workplace for Good, by Michelle Silverthorn  
  • The Loudest Duck: Moving Beyond Diversity while Embracing Differences to Achieve Success at Work, by Laura A. Liswood
  • How to Be an Inclusive Leader: Your Role in Creating Cultures of Belonging Where Everyone Can Thrive, by Jennifer Brown
  • Inclusion: Diversity, The New Workplace & The Will To Change, by Jennifer Brown
  • Diversity in the Workplace: Eye-Opening Interviews to Jumpstart Conversations about Identity, Privilege, and Bias, by Bärí A. William
  • EEOC warns against caregiving discrimination as pandemic evolves by HR Dive
  • Opinion: An inclusive society requires inclusive workplaces by HR Dive
  • Jargon: It Creates a Wall Between Managers and Employees by SHRM
Other Resources