Mission & Action
The Multicultural Leadership Committee (MLC) explores the nature of identity, challenges systemic and personal bias, creates opportunities for deeper understanding across differences, fosters relationships, and empowers members of the community to be mindful agents of positive social change.
Equity, Inclusion & Belonging in Action
Justice, equity, inclusion, and belonging work at The Oaks focuses on four levels: individual growth, interpersonal communication, institutional policies, and cultural systems. It is our ongoing mission to foster a community-wide appreciation and acceptance of the many aspects of difference including, but not limited to, gender, race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, affectional and sexual orientation, language, religion, and ability.
Each year all faculty members undergo various trainings and professional development activities to deepen their practice in the area of diversity and inclusion. From this solid foundation, they are able to take leadership roles in our daily efforts to increase community-wide engagement in this work.
K-6 ANTI-BIAS CURRICULUM: Children develop implicit bias regardless of the adults that surround them. At as young as 6 months of age, they begin to notice racial differences (Lee, 2017) and by age two they begin to reason about people’s behaviors based on their race (Hirschfeld, 2008). Only with explicit instruction and conversations are we able to address bias and counter its effects (Bronson & Merryman, 2009). An anti-bias curriculum is one of the many components to creating a culturally sensitive classroom, one that acknowledges all the students in the community and embraces differences.
The Oaks prepares young students to be critical lovers of the world by teaching and developing understanding of multiple perspectives. With the goal of students becoming informed and active members of their communities, students learn about, analyze, and critique the impact of historical and contemporary events. You can read more about our curriculum here.
PARENT/GUARDIAN SUPPORT & LEARNING: Courageous Conversations were created to support families in raising inclusive children and navigate conversations that arise surrounding the anti-bias curriculum and current events. The goal is to provide conversation tips, tools, and information for the adults in our community.
Language matters and you will notice that we use the language parent/guardian and family throughout the website and in all of our materials. This is because we acknowledge that families are composed differently. We use parent/guardian to refer to the legal and relational adult(s) in a student’s life. We use family to include siblings, extended family members, caregivers, and additional important people in students’ lives.
MULTICULTURAL LEADERSHIP COMMITTEE: The Multicultural Leadership Committee (MLC) is an all stakeholder collaboration that includes faculty, staff, administrators, and parents/caregivers. This committee is designed to foster critical lovers of The Oaks School’s traditions, policies, and culture. The goal of the MLC is to continue the ongoing work of creating a more inclusive environment.
DEVELOPING A DIVERSE COMMUNITY: We acknowledge that there are barriers to accessing an independent school education. With this in mind, we continue to intentionally recruit employees and students with a wide range of identities. Our goal is to have our school community represent the makeup of the Greater Los Angeles area. Although we have more work to do in this area, we continue to partner with the Independent School Alliance, Private School Village, the Hollywood Chamber, and LGBTQIA+ consultants and advocates to assist us as we strive towards this goal. Our growth in student recruitment can be found here.
The faculty and staff recruitment process is intentional and designed to identify candidates that understand and are deeply committed to our core values. For more information on the makeup of our faculty and staff click here.
AFFINITY GROUPS: These groups are organized around specific identities in our community in the interest of fellowship and learning. Affinity groups allow adult community members with shared identities to connect with and support one another, often addressing common experiences and promoting feelings of being seen and belonging. We currently have an African Diaspora Affinity Group, LatinX Affinity Group, and a White Anti-Racist Affinity Group. These groups are available for faculty & staff and for families.
LIBRARY ANALYSIS: Providing accurate and equitable representation for all children and families in our classroom and school-wide libraries is essential. Dr. Rudine Sims Bishop coined the phrase “windows, mirrors, and sliding glass doors” to describe how books can and should provide readers the opportunities to see themselves and learn about others. Through analyzing the books we currently have and staying on top of new publishings, the texts we use with students go through a rigorous evaluation process to ensure they are accurate and provide opportunities for all identities to be seen and celebrated. This work also includes ensuring that the books are devoid of harmful stereotypes or misinformation.
COMMUNITY SERVICE AND SERVICE LEARNING:
What is Community Service? Community service is a transactional project, donation, or volunteer hours that organizations and individuals participate in to help individuals, organizations, and communities. The goal is to assist a specific group of people with necessary immediate life-sustaining resources and/or access to systems. The learning from community service is more passive and is often an opportunity for us to recognize that inequity exists, begin to form empathy, and develop a critical look at systems.
What is Service Learning? Although meaningful community service can often lead to transformative learning, this connection becomes explicit in service learning. Service learning activities are embedded within the anti-bias education curriculum with specific learning goals through investigation, preparation, action, and demonstration. Perhaps most importantly, service learning emphasizes relationship-building between those involved and a critical reflection on the conditions and systems that create the need for various types of community service in the first place. Sustaining long-term and solution-based action in order to change the well-established systems that create injustice is the core of service learning.
Here at The Oaks, we engage in both community service and service learning activities and projects.