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Diversity means including or involving people from various social and ethnic backgrounds, genders, sexual orientations, and more. With technology making the world more accessible and increased travel and immigration, people are no longer isolated in their environments. Working and living alongside diverse individuals has become common, and by embracing these differences, we celebrate the richness of the human experience and enhance our profession.

Today’s youth increasingly grow up in diverse communities. In 2018, U.S. Census data showed that most children under 15 are from non-White groups. It’s crucial to pay attention to attributes such as gender identity, ability, ethnicity, sexual identity, socioeconomic background, age, military experience, learning style, personality, education level, geographic origin, language, marital status, caretaker status, occupation, and appearance. This focus is necessary due to a history of oppression and ongoing implicit bias. In the United States, historical structures have perpetuated prejudice and discrimination against those who are not able-bodied, White, straight, affluent, cis-gender Christian men. We must recognize that individuals from non-dominant groups often face significant disadvantages throughout their lives, including in educational opportunities.


Diversity in education means noticing and valuing the different ways students are unique. It’s about more than just numbers—it’s about cultural backgrounds, economic situations, gender identities, abilities, and ethnicities. Recognizing diversity is about appreciating what makes each student special in the school community.

Diversity in education matters because it creates a richer learning environment where students can benefit from multiple perspectives. It prepares students for a multicultural world, fostering respect and understanding among different groups. Diversity promotes equity, ensuring all students have equal opportunities to succeed, and it helps reduce prejudice and discrimination. By valuing and including diverse backgrounds and experiences, education becomes more inclusive, effective, and reflective of the broader society.


Equity involves ensuring fair treatment for everyone, so that the existing norms, practices, and policies do not allow identity to determine opportunities or workplace outcomes. Unlike equality, which suggests that everyone should receive the same treatment, equity acknowledges individual differences and adjusts treatment to achieve equal outcomes.


Equity in education matters because it ensures that all students have access to the resources and support they need to succeed, regardless of their background or circumstances. It helps close achievement gaps and addresses disparities caused by socioeconomic status, race, gender, or ability. By focusing on equity, we create a more inclusive and fair educational environment where every student has the opportunity to reach their full potential. This not only benefits individual students but also strengthens communities and promotes social justice.


Inclusion is the practice of ensuring that all individuals, regardless of their differences, are accepted, valued, and integrated into all aspects of society. This means creating environments where everyone feels they belong, can participate fully, and are respected for their unique contributions. Inclusion goes beyond mere physical presence; it involves actively removing barriers, providing necessary supports, and fostering a culture of respect and belonging. By promoting inclusion, we advance equality, enhance diversity, and create more cohesive and supportive communities.


Inclusion is an educational philosophy that ensures all students—whether they are typically developing, have disabilities, are English learners, or come from culturally diverse backgrounds—are accepted, valued, and integrated as key members of the school community. Inclusive schools work to include every student in the general education classroom and extracurricular activities. These schools make sure that all students can access and participate in the general education environment with the appropriate supports.

Access + Participation + Supports = Inclusion.

Inclusion means being part of what everyone else is, feeling welcomed and embraced as a member who belongs.

  • Why Should School Environments Become Inclusive?

To better address the diverse needs of all students, school staff should aim to make their schools more inclusive. Implementing such changes requires strong leadership. Principals can motivate and inspire the entire school community to work collaboratively towards this goal, guide the process of creating an inclusive school, and establish the necessary conditions for this change. When considering major school changes, like fostering a more inclusive environment, school leaders often take into account legal, professional, and moral imperatives.


Belonging is a basic human need. People naturally look for connections with others and their surroundings. Since students spend a lot of time at school during their childhood and teenage years, it's important for schools to help them feel they belong. Recent studies show that our need to connect is part of our genetic makeup.

This need for belonging affects physical health, including sleep, brain function, heart health, and immune strength. It also impacts mental health, as feeling like you don’t belong can lead to depression and antisocial behavior. Additionally, belonging influences academic success, like sticking with courses and getting good grades, and offers lifelong benefits such as job satisfaction and community involvement. Given these benefits, researchers have developed new ways to create school environments where students can build strong connections with teachers and peers.


N., Los Angeles

I had a student who felt out of place because of her cultural background. She was quiet and rarely participated in class. So, I started including more diverse materials and activities, like celebrating a holiday from her culture. She lit up and eagerly shared her traditions with the class. This experience transformed her from feeling isolated to becoming more engaged and confident. This showed me the importance of DEIB!



Paulo C., Washington

DEIB is important to me because it makes a real difference in people’s lives. When we celebrate diversity and ensure equity, everyone gets a fair shot. Inclusion means that no one is left out, and belonging makes sure that everyone feels like they truly matter. These aren’t just buzzwords—they’re about creating a space where every student can be themselves and succeed. It’s about fairness, understanding, and building a community where everyone feels supported and valued.

We have to know better, to do better, to be better.

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