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Every so often,  I travel up one flight of stairs to see my friend, Mrs. Penna.

Mrs. Penna and I have a lot in common.

  1. We are both teachers and educators at The Park School.
  2. We both have three children.
  3. We both are on the Administrative Team.
  4. We both love Peppermint Patties and eat them almost every day.
  5. We both have a commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion.

Over the past few months, Mrs. Penna and I have had so many conversations about diversity, race, family, friends, faith and religion, and yes, even Peppermint Patties.

The other day, I was in her office talking, again, about issues of diversity. It was at that moment, despite the fact that I have spent dozens of hours in there, that I finally noticed this.

There was nothing in Mrs. Penna’s office that signaled her commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion.

So what, Ms. Talusan, you might be thinking. You know she is committed. Why does it matter that she signals that to you?

Well, here’s why.

See, I have had the opportunity to get to know Mrs. Penna. We have talked about our lives, our interests, our challenges, and our thoughts and beliefs. I have spent time with her. I have met her family (well, most of them). And she, in turn, has met mine.

But, how would you ever know that Mrs. Penna has any commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion? If you walked past her office, would you know she is someone you could talk to about issues of race, faith, family, gender, sexual orientation, or ability?

The answer is: You wouldn’t.

It was one of those, “Oh my goodness” moments. So, how did we fix that?

Screen Shot 2015-12-14 at 1.41.59 PMWe had a conversation about what she wants to signal.

“I want to signal that I am an ally to people who identify as LGBTQ. I want to signal that I am an ally to people of color. I want to signal that I want to have conversations about faculty coaching and teaching AND issues of identity.”

Cool. So, we did just that.

And now? Mrs. Penna’s office clearly signals her commitment to these issues to anyone just walking by her office.

Have you looked around your classroom or office lately? If a stranger walked in, would they know if you are committed to issues of diversity, equity and inclusion? 

Peace and Park,

Ms. Talusan