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School Stories

Building a Healthy, Diverse Community Takes Time and Effort

Schools aren’t just about the three “R’s” of reading, writing, and arithmetic; we must also create a safe, supportive environment for students to grow. To manifest the benefits of diversity, individuals need to feel safe and valued enough to bring their authentic selves to a community where they can share ideas, explore themes as they see them, challenge ideas, and present different viewpoints to the table.
In May 2018, Graland administered the Assessment of Inclusivity and Multiculturalism (AIM) to compare data about our efforts in these areas to AIM results from 2008 and 2015. Students, parents, trustees, faculty, staff, administrators, and alumni participated, providing feedback from a broad range of experiences. AIM is an assessment tool offered by the National Association of Independent Schools.
AIM results are reported back as Healthy, Priority Concerns, and High Priority Concerns.

Healthy scores are issues on which our school is doing comparatively well but where programs and initiatives should be continued or expanded to provide support. Some of our Healthy scores include: 
  • I feel proud being associated with this school.
  • In my opinion, diversity in the curriculum is important to excellence in the education provided by the school.
  • The school has a commitment to ethical values and character development.
Priority Concerns are issues in need of improvement that should be addressed in future plans, and High Priority Concerns should be remediated as soon as possible. Some feedback that falls into these categories are:
  • Faculty and Administrators reflect the diversity of the student body.
  • Trustees reflect the diversity of the student body.
  • Multiculturalism is embedded into every aspect of the curriculum.
In 2008, our overall school morale was reported as a Priority concern, and thanks to community-wide efforts, this score has improved to Healthy since 2015. On the other hand, overall satisfaction with Multiculturalism and Inclusivity continues to be a Priority concern, demonstrating there is still room for improvement. 

Student Results 
NAIS offers a young student version of the assessment which we administered to Grades 4-5. Older middle schoolers, Grades 6-8, took the same survey as the adults. Student results followed the same trends as the other constituents in the survey and indicated that students are proud to be associated with Graland. They noted that Graland is a great place to learn, they learn to treat others well, and adults help kids. The survey also gave us a baseline for kindness and respect within our community which will allow us to continue our work on building strong character. 

Generally, there was a lot of growth from 2008 to 2015 which informed much action; just in the last year, we have achieved many exciting accomplishments. We know diversity “in the room” isn’t enough. Individuals need to feel safe and valued enough to bring every aspect of themselves to the table -- their diverse beliefs, backgrounds, and ideologies -- as diversity is critical to the exploration of ideas. 

Thank you for taking the time to complete the comprehensive AIM survey so that we could evaluate our school culture as it relates to topics of diversity, inclusivity and multiculturalism. As a result, we are thoughtful, knowledgeable, and working from a place of strength. We are not complacent, content, or unguided. 

E&I Highlights in 2018*

  • The addition of SCAC Chair as an ex-officio member of the Graland Board of Trustees
  • Board retreat with Rosetta Lee, “Cross Cultural Communication and Cultural Competency”

  • Diversity and Equity Cohorts, and parallel learning for administrators 
  • “Implicit Bias” training for new faculty/staff
  • “Diversity, Inclusivity, Multiculturalism, and Equity” learning labs for faculty 
  • NAIS People of Color Conference and DIME PD workshops
  • A partnership with NEMNET Minority Recruitment to review hiring practices 

GPA & Adult Community
  • E&I training and the addition of E&I Ambassador leadership role
  • Alumni Association’s commitment to foster inclusivity 
  • Ongoing work of School Climate Advisory Committee to the Head of School

  • Character Task Force to identify character traits to explicitly teach and measure  
  • Literacy Task Force dedicated to reviewing and identifying diverse literature options
  • Student groups centered on fostering community 
  • Students Taking Action and Making Progress Conference (STAMP)
*Please contact Oscar for a more comprehensive list of achievements. ogonzalez@graland.org

Oscar Gonzalez has a bachelor’s degree in English from Northwestern University and leads diversity efforts across the board at Graland. He spends his free time skiing, playing basketball and reading to his daughter. Oscar also co-chairs the annual Student Diversity Leadership Conference for the National Association of Independent Schools.

Graland Country Day School

Graland Country Day School is a private school in Denver, Colorado, serving students in preschool, kindergarten, elementary, and middle school. Founded in Denver in 1924, Graland incorporates a rich, experiential learning approach in a traditional classroom setting, emphasizing the development of globally and socially conscious leaders who excel academically.