How can schools encourage and embrace diversity

Watch “Diversity.”

Review Section 1 and 3.

Discuss the following question:

  • 1.How can schools encourage and embrace diversity?
  • How can schools encourage and embrace diversity?

Consider the following question:

  • 3. In what ways might a school elicit feedback from its stakeholders?
  • Diversity section 1 
  • Diversity section 3 

Read Ch3 its 4 Questions at then end that needs to answer ….

Then the Diversity video by Diversity recommendations in Breaking Ranks

Chapter 8: Diversity

Topic A: Expert – Diversity 

Juan R. Baughn, Ed.D. Lecturer, Lehigh University, Bethlehem, PA ■ Former Teacher, Principal and Superintendent

Section Navigation

Chapter 3 Understanding the Community 

After completing this chapter you should be able to … 

  • ■ Identify key community segments important to school–community relations planning and programming. 
  • ■ Distinguish methods for community–audience assessment and identifying influential communicators. 
  • ■ Recognize the characteristics of community power structures. 
  • ■ Distinguish opinion research techniques commonly deployed in school–community relations programs. 

Before attempting any communication, school administrators must study the intended audience for the message. When trying to communicate with a diverse community, it’s imperative that school officials know the various components of the community.Collecting information about the makeup of the community is a major first step toward a communications program. This enables administrators to plan intelligently and reduce guesswork. When gathering information about the community, the following topics should be considered:

  • • The nature of the power structure and the way decisions are made in the community 
  • • The identification of the media and long-term challenges that need attention 
  • • The expectations of citizens regarding education 
  • • Situations to be avoided based on the history of conflict in the community 
  • • Identification of individuals and groups who are friendly or unfriendly toward education 
  • • Opportunities and ways to effect better cooperative relations with various publics 
  • • The identification of gaps that need to be filled to produce more public understanding of educational policies and programs 
  • • The channels through which public opinion is built in the community 
  • • Changes that are occurring in patterns of community life 
  • • The identification of leaders and those who influence leaders in the community 
  • • A listing of the types of organizations and social agencies in the community 

To comprehend all of these factors, the study of the community should be directed at its sociological characteristics, the nature and influence of its power structure, and the way in which people think and feel about education and the programs provided by the district. Since the community is constantly changing, continuing studies are necessary to keep knowledge current.


To plan an effective program, the district needs to know about the people who make up the community. The more that is known about them, the better the chances are of designing a program that will achieve its objectives. Therefore, it’s recommended that school districts undertake a sociological inventory of their communities. But—and this is a major but—those inventories should not be so complex, time expensive, and costly that by the time they’re done people don’t want to take the time to implement the findings. Too often some educators get wrapped up in the process and place that completed study on a shelf to do little more than wait for its successor. To conduct such a study and not interpret the findings and use the results would be a waste of time and money.Choosing which items to include in such a study can help ensure the study’s success. Some possible topics to include are the following: customs and traditions, historical background, material and human resources, age and gender distribution, educational achievement, organizations and groups, political structure, leadership, power alignments, religious affiliations, housing, racial and ethnic composition, economic life, transportation, communication, standards of living, health, and recreation. It would be extremely time consuming and expensive to include all of the topics. To ensure the effectiveness of the study, school officials should choose the most important categories, focus on them, gather the information in a relatively short time, and then implement the study.Among the topics that should get serious consideration are customs and traditions, population characteristics, existing communication channels, community groups, leadership, economic conditions, political structure, social tensions, and previous community efforts in the area.

Customs and Traditions 

Customs and traditions are the common ideas, attitudes, and habits of people. They may be referred to as folkways, mores, or lifestyles. Significant in regulating conduct and in predicting behavior, they likewise exert an influence in the shaping of social action and in the determination of services rendered by community agencies.Lifestyle differences found among community groups arise from the impact of race, religion, nationality background, economics, politics, and social class structure. Thus, individuals who live in an urban community may share similar ethnic characteristics and may differ in their way of life, their values, their beliefs, and their habits from individuals who reside in a semirural community. Similar differences in lifestyle also may be found among groups who reside in various geographic sections that make up a metropolitan area. One area may consist of a group having a predominant ethnic or cultural background whereas another area may be a microcosm of the overall population.The problem in this part of the sociological inventory is identifying and defining the customs of groups in the community. This information is important to the school in guiding its relations with students, parents, and others. Nothing evokes a quicker reaction from parents and citizens than the adoption of policies and practices that run counter to their established attitudes, beliefs, and habits. This has been evident on many occasions when new blocks of subject matter introduced into the curriculum caused students to think or act contrary to the convictions held by parents and relatives. Equally strong reactions are likely if students are retained after school on days that have been set aside for religious instruction.From another point of view, it is valuable to know how change takes place in group patterns of thought and action. What are the circumstances and forces that produce orderly change? Studies indicate that safe and rapid change occurs during periods of emergency when the need to make adjustments is immediate. Alterations in the physical features of a community, such as the construction of new highways, the improvement of housing, or the rezoning of land use, open the way for modifying social habits and customs. Significant changes are also possible when members of different groups are given opportunities to discuss and share in finding solutions to problems that have an effect on their ways of living.A note of caution is in order here about stereotyping people and groups.