As a product of a bi-racial family (Asian/Caucasian) and growing up in what was then a much smaller and less racially diverse San Ramon, Scott witnessed the change in demographics in San Ramon first-hand. For Scott, diversity is not just about the color of our skin. It’s the abundance of ideas and talents garnered from a variety of life experiences and cultures that give much needed perspective to build and strengthen a community.
While the demographics have changed in our community, and within the School District as a whole, the representation within the leadership has not kept pace. It’s time to ensure everyone has a voice, and that it is reflected by the people representing them. While districting has probably created some confusion, Scott agrees with the intent of districting to provide better representation within a particular area. Area 3’s population is 90% Asian. As an Asian American himself, Scott is primed to represent this community on the Board. He also understands that as a Trustee, or any representative position, one must also represent the whole, and work together for the good of all.
While working overseas, Scott was able to experience how others live in different parts of the world. Growing up in San Ramon, he was insulated to the plight of people in other countries. Learning about inequity in school is different than experiencing it firsthand. Scott, his brothers, and sister were brought up to believe and know they could accomplish their passions and dreams if they worked hard to do so. Scott’s eyes were opened during his time abroad to the fallacy of this belief for girls and women, not just globally, but also here in the US. We need to do a better job of encouraging women and girls find their voice and use it. Scott believes we need to strive for equity, and we all need to do better.
Scott agrees with SRVUSD’s Vision for Equity which you can find here. It truly is about educating the “whole student”, eliminating barriers and allowing them to thrive.
Inclusion in the classroom means students of all backgrounds are afforded the same opportunities to learn, grow, and thrive with others. Inclusive environments require participation of all stakeholders: students, parents and families, teachers, staff, and the School Board Trustees. Moreover, inclusivity accepts and embraces differences in socio-economic, racial, gender, and special needs, allowing everyone the opportunity to thrive.
“Inclusive teaching strategies are intended to ensure that all students feel supported such that they freely learn and explore new ideas, feel safe to express their views in a civil manner, and respected as individuals and members of groups. Intentionally incorporating inclusive teaching strategies helps students view themselves as people who belong to the community of learners in a classroom and university.” (The University of Delaware’s inclusion statement.)
While this statement is for a university setting, SRVUSD echoes the ideas simply by stating their goal to “increase understanding, appreciation and acceptance of diversity.” In fact, in 2014, the district created a new position to focus on Inclusion within each school. The Inclusion Specialist position was created to specifically support other teachers to promote effective inclusion.
We cannot and should not separate Diversity, Inclusion and Equity in a classroom as a successful one embodies them all. It acknowledges the differences (diversity), embraces those differences (inclusion), allows those differences to transform how we teach, learn, and think (equity). All three impact how we act toward others around us.
A group may be diverse, but it doesn’t mean everyone in the group has been included, or that that inclusion has been equitable. We need to find ways to learn about and celebrate our differences, appreciate our similarities, and strive to be equitable. Scott believes that this is a high and lofty goal, to which we should aspire.