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Guidelines for Inclusivity


The Oaks School’s faculty and staff continually engage in work with Visions, Inc. as the The Oaks School works towards becoming more inclusive, welcoming, and diverse. In order to effectively communicate across difference, we practice group work, activities, and self-directed study with the intent of creating an environment that actively utilizes and engages with Visions, Inc.’s approach to communication and inclusion. Visions, Inc. assists our efforts by providing certain guidelines which help refine, monitor, and facilitate our approaches as a school community.


Guidelines for Inclusivity

  • Try On
    Try on each other’s ideas, feelings, and ways of doing things for the purpose of greater understanding. Keep what you like and let go of the rest at the end of each interaction, discussion, session or meeting.


  • Okay to Disagree and NOT okay to blame or attack ourselves or others
    When we let go of the need to be, think, or act the same, then differences can be fully expressed and valued.


  • Practice “Self-Focus” and use “I” Statements
    Begin by talking about your own experience. It is helpful to make “I” statements when speaking about your experience, rather than saying “you”, “we” or “one”. When you intend to refer to others, be specific about them by name or group. This invites and creates space for multiple perspectives to be shared—especially when they are different from yours.
    • Learning from uncomfortable moments is an important part of this process, so pay attention to your feelings. Practice “both/and” thinking.
  • Practice "both/and" thinking.
    Both/and thinking keeps the lines of communication open whereas either/or/but language implies that there is one way to think or do. Both/and creates collaborative inclusive thinking.


  • Notice Process and Content
    How we get there is just as important and what we do and say.


  • Be Aware of Intent and Impact
    Be aware that your good intentions may have a negative impact—especially across racial, gender or other cultural differences. Be open to hearing the impact of your statement.
    • If you want to “stretch” yourself—seek the feedback from the individual before they bring it to your attention.
    • Notice who’s active and who’s not, who’s interested and who’s not, and ask about it.
  • Confidentiality
    with regard to personal sharing is important. You can carry the work of the group, your own learning, stories and perspectives, and the public work from the group. Allow others to tell their own stories.
    • Ask first to see if an individual wants to follow-up on the initial conversation.
    • Do not use any information shared negatively towards a progress report or against a supervisor.


For more information contact Tanynya Hekymara, Director of Admissions and Civic Engagement.