Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion

Supporting & Celebrating DE&I in K-12 Schools

As the SOE continues our progress toward using diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) to promote social justice, we want to share steps we can all take to be more intentional in this work. We recognize and honor the multi-faceted aspects of social identities, so in this newsletter, we present resources to support you in your journey toward bringing more equity and inclusivity into your classroom.

Celebrating Diversity

“At Cal Poly we believe that academic freedom, a cornerstone value, is exercised best when there is understanding and respect for our diversity of experiences, identities, and world views.” ~ Cal Poly Statement on Diversity

To recognize and celebrate diversity, here are some actionable steps you can take today!

Individual work:
    1. Read books to increase your awareness of diversity, equity, inclusion, and social justice. Here are some suggested reads:

      1. Emotional Agility by Susan David

      2. Culturally Responsive Teaching and the Brain by Zaretta Hammond

      3. We Want to do More Than Survive by Dr. Bettina Love

      4. Black Appetite. White Food. by Jamila Lyiscott

      5. We Got This. by Cornelius Minor

      6. Stamped, Racism, Anti Racism and You by Jason Reynolds & Ibram X. Kendi

      7. Blindspot: Hidden Biases of Good People by Mahzarin R. Banaji & Anthony G. Greenwald

    2. Have conversations with friends and family to learn about and celebrate diverse social identities.

    3. Reflect on our own biases. To begin, you can watch Valerie Alexander’s TedTalk, “How to Outsmart Your Own Unconscious Bias”.

How to Outsmart Your Own Unconscious Bias | Valerie Alexander | TEDxPasadena
Attend events focused on diversity. Be intentional when choosing events and set a goal. Cal Poly’s School of Education hosts virtual Equity & Social Justice Speakers.

Our next speaker will be Dr. Bettina Love, an award-winning author and the Athletic Association Endowed Professor at the University of Georgia. Her writing, research, teaching, and educational advocacy work meet at the intersection of education reform, anti-racism, carceral studies, abolition, and Black joy. For more information on this talk, please visit the SOE Calendar of Events or click on this link to register.

Incorporate diversity into your classroom:
    1. Consider this question, “When your students walk into your classroom, do they see themselves reflected in the books, artwork, instructional materials, and posters?” If not, what can you do to bring aspects of all students’ home lives and community backgrounds into your classroom?

    2. Use students’ real life experiences to connect what they are learning in school to their lives outside of school. When planning and facilitating classroom conversations, ask students to reflect upon and discuss the following:

      1. “What events/situations occur in your family or neighborhood that require some knowledge of ___?”

      2. How does knowing about ___ benefit your interactions in your family, neighborhood, or school?”

    3. Visit the Learning for Justice website (formerly Teaching Tolerance). Once there, you can familiarize yourself with the Social Justice Standards and sign up for a free account. (With their free account, you can use their Build a Learning Plan tool to “select meaningful student texts, choose how you'll teach them, and how you'll assess student learning.")

Striving for Equity

Creating an Inclusive Environment

By respecting cultural differences and using curricular and instructional practices related to the cultures of their students, schools and classrooms become inclusive” ~ Region X Equity Assistance Center.

To learn more about using inclusive classroom practices, you can read Culturally Responsive Teaching: A guide to evidence-based practices for teaching all students equitably.

You can also view this video on Increasing Engagement by Using Culturally Responsive Curriculum.

Additional Resources

Organizations & Programs:



SOE Newsletters:

  • Accessibility & Equity: This newsletter focuses on accessibility and equity. In it, we provide several tips and resources for serving students with special needs in a variety of learning environments.

  • Emergent Bilinguals: Two focus areas in this newsletter are building connections with families and providing opportunities for emergent bilinguals to build academic English.
  • Identity & Asset-Based Thinking: In this newsletter, we offer resources and tools for identity work and asset-based thinking.