Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

IDEA Public Schools was founded on the radical belief in the unlimited potential of all students and has a long history of democratizing excellent education.

With this in mind, we continue to be committed to a mission of “College for ALL children,” ensuring more students from low-income backgrounds, students who would be the first generation in their families to attend college, and students who come from groups historically underrepresented in higher education have access to realizing their dreams by first completing their college degree on the path to becoming the future leaders of tomorrow.

To achieve our mission, we commit to be a diverse, equitable, inclusive and anti-racist organization, where we honor and include the voices, values, and beliefs of all our students, staff, alumni, families, and community members. This is essential to students’ academic, social, and collective growth, as well as to achieving equity and social justice across our schools, our organization, and our communities.

To realize this vision, we work collectively to increase our cultural competency and capacity to productively engage across all lines of difference. This allows us to identify, disrupt, and rebuild more equitable policies and practices for all our students, families, and staff. We recognize and are committed to the continuous learning necessary to be an organization that strengthens diversity, uplifts equity, and honors inclusion.

We believe the following to be true...

Diversity

The presence of different types of people from a wide range of cultures and identities, and with different perspectives and experiences that include, but are not limited to, the following: race, ethnicity, gender identity, sexual orientation, language, socioeconomic background, physical and cognitive ability, religion and political affiliations.

Example in action

We create an environment where students and staff members of all backgrounds are made to feel welcome and encouraged to succeed.

equity

The process of driving for equally high outcomes for all by equitably distributing our resources and ensuring that barriers such as biased policies or practices that prevent equal opportunities for historically underserved or  underrepresented groups to achieve fairness and realize their potential do not exist in our organization.

Example in action

We continually assess policies and practices and ensure the allocation of financial and human resources based upon fairness and confirm that all students and schools get what they need to be successful.

Inclusion

The process of intentionally putting diversity into action by creating an environment of involvement, respect, and belongingness — where the richness of ideas, backgrounds, and perspectives are harnessed to create value.

Example in action

Holding diversity, equity, and inclusion trainings for our staff to foster deeper understanding of these issues in alignment to our organization-wide anti-racist and anti-bias commitment towards action.

Anti-Racism and Anti-Bias

At IDEA we recognize that racism, bias, and privilege exist in society. We are committed to an organizational culture that promotes awareness, kindness, and inclusivity for our students and staff, and supports their path to positively impact our broader society. We are committed to recognizing the impact of racism and privilege, and commit as an organization to have equitable practices, policies, and structures.

What this will look like in practice:

CONTINUALLY EXAMINING mindsets, behaviors, and structures by engaging in ongoing diversity, equity, and inclusion trainings to build awareness, knowledge, and skills and engage in open discourse.

CHALLENGING the status quo and continuously examining our actions to ensure we do not have practices, policies, and systems that may contribute to inequities.

ADDRESSING the inequities that exist in our schools through acknowledging the broader social and historical context of the communities we serve and sharing power through inviting our students, families, and staff to be a part of the decision-making process in our schools.

ADVOCATING for our students and families by publicly engaging on issues that affect them and the communities we serve.

CULTIVATING an environment of deep belonging by prioritizing relationship, understanding the strengths and assets of the communities we serve, and embedding those
strengths and assets into our  schools through living out our core values.

ONGOING learning and development to close any gaps between our commitments and where we are currently, which requires humility to grow, adjust, and change—even if it’s uncomfortable.

Download Commitment Statement:

Commitment Statement (English)

Commitment Statement (Español)

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion over the years

February 2015
Unconscious Bias Session

Phillip Garza (Chief Diversity Officer), Khalil Graham (Principal) and Bethany Solis (Director of Leadership Development) jump started the first DEI development at Executive Leadership Council​

July 2015
Teachable Point of View

Phillip Garza, Chief Success Officer, began to develop a clear point of view to push the DEI work further

2017
Guiding Coalition

A group of Executive Leadership Council members were selected to help support the DEI efforts at IDEA

August 2018
DEI Role Created

A Director of DEI was hired to support the districts DEI vision and strategy through a listening tour of thousands of IDEA stakeholders​

Now
Anti-Racist and Anti-Bias Path

DEI became an org-wide priority and we worked to define what DEI at IDEA meant and begin the process of naming our commitment to being an anti-racist and anti-bias organization and create a plan to live into that commitment

When Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) became an organization-wide priority in 2020, IDEA Public Schools created a year-long plan for our DEI vision, strategy and plan.

Year Zero (2020-2021)

CEO, Chiefs and Executive Leadership Council align on path forward of DEI as a priority and being a leader in the anti-racist and anti-bias movement

Leadership Towards Equity Kick-Off

30-hour DEI professional development pilot to build DEI competencies, mindsets, knowledge and skills

CEO DEI Town Halls

Open forums across the organization to get feedback from staff on biggest issues to tackle through the DEI priority

Launch DEI Steering Committee

Committee to help set the vision and direction for our DEI work in partnership with Promise 54

Equity Audit Conducted

Promise 54 conducted DEI surveys to help assess policies and practices that impact staff and culture across the organization

Focus Groups Conducted

Promise 54 conducted focus groups to gather qualitative data to further contextualize the equity survey data

Black Student Achievement and Culture Committee

Committee created to support our Black students and staff to ensure they are feeling seen, heard and valued

School Culture Advisory Committee

Committee created to recommend any shifts to student culture

Anti-Racist Curriculum Project Launch

Committee-led group of teachers and teacher leaders to help create an anti-racist rubric to be used to develop new curriculum and evaluate current curriculum with a lens towards anti-racism

DEI Board Workshop

DEI professional development offered to IDEA board members to develop a common language to address race and bias-related issues IDEA is confronting

Launch ELC DEI Professional Development

Support organization leaders to bring DEI into their leadership through 360-degree reviews (feedback from peers/ manager/ other staff) and coaching for chief-level leaders, five three-hour long DEI capacity building sessions for all ELC members

Core Values Revision Process

To reflect the best of who we are and who we aspire to become

View IDEA's core values

3-Year DEI Strategic Plan

In partnership with Promise 54our Chiefs, ELC, and DEI Committee created a multi-year strategic plan to codify our priorities, align resources, and set measurable goals to achieve over the next three years

Year One (2021-2022)

Board Approval of DEI Strategic Plan and publication of our DEI Commitment on our website

Management Training

Launched our first Inclusive Leadership Series: Mitigating Bias Module for all managers across the organization

Ongoing DEI Training for Leaders

Leadership Towards Equity Series is offered to all principals, regional leadership teams and national vice presidents

DEI Team expanded with the addition of a vice president and DEI coordinator

Our Student Application is now Open!

We are now accepting applications for the 2023-24 school year for Ohio, Florida, and the majority of Texas schools. Whether you are new to IDEA or have a new sibling coming to IDEA, be sure to submit your application.