PS/IS 686 | Brooklyn, NY

The Diversity Initiative at BSI

Dear all,

I sent out a survey to 7th and 8th grade students today asking who would like to be involved in the Student Diversity Team at BSI.  One student wrote a thoughtful email in response, asking what exactly the team is and what they’ll do.  It’s worth sharing the details of the initiative with you, as well as with the students.

Next week, the Office of Student Enrollment will offer seats to 50 kindergarten students; 40% of those seats have been prioritized for students who receive free and reduced lunch.  One question comes to mind: How will we welcome the new families into the BSI community and assure them that their children will be safe and happy here, and embraced by adults and students alike?

This question has come up recently among our own ranks: How can we assure that all members of the BSI community feel safe and happy here, and embraced by adults and students alike?

Irrespective of the color of our skin, our cultural or religious background, the people we choose to love, whether we are a two mom household, a two dad household or a traditional family, how do we demonstrate tolerance and acceptance of differences, and how can we model that open mindedness and open hearted approach for our students?  Children need to understand  the 21st century values they must acquire to thrive in this multi-cultural world, and we are happy to partner with you and the students in this endeavor.

The students will have lots of ideas to incorporate into our daily lives at BSI.  The staff at BSI has ideas, too, and the PTO has already established a Diversity Committee for families.

We have heard from too many — adults and students alike — who feel harshly judged and maligned because their family voted for the wrong candidate, or they are a certain ethnicity, or they live in a two mom household.  Surprisingly, racial and homophobic slurs have become commonplace in the world around us: we need to uncover and break free from our own implicit biases so we can help the students safeguard themselves from believing in harmful, hurtful stereotypes that divide any community, including our own.

Over the past 8 years, we have proven, time and again, that the BSI community is a strong, caring, committed and resilient one, dedicated to all of our students and to our school.  Let’s join together around this initiative, pull the oars in the same direction, and shine for our children and our community to show the world what BSI is made of.

One Tribe.