The Why of DEI

October is officially upon us, and with it a vast array of opportunities to recognize the diverse cultures and heritages within our own community.
From Hispanic Heritage Month to Indigenous Peoples’ Day, these national recognitions remind us of the power of representation and the importance of uplifting the identities and histories that make up the diverse world we live in. 
As our Chandler community continues its diversity, equity and inclusion journey, the beginning of the school year also offers us an opportunity to ground ourselves in the values behind the work that we do. Each community member has their own story of why diversity, equity and inclusion matter to them - rooted in personal experiences, belief systems, and desires for the future. My “why” for DEI stems from my long-held commitment to create school systems that value each of our students and allow them to have access to an education where they can see themselves, be confident in a fair and just experience, be appropriately challenged, and encouraged to succeed. 
As a community committed to diversity, equity and inclusion, it is important to reflect on the benefits of our DEI initiatives for all. Research from numerous sources, including Teachers College Columbia University, confirm the benefits of diversity work in schools. For students, these include: 
  • A positive sense of identity as students see themselves in their learning
  • Greater empathy and an understanding of the world around them that facilitates the reduction of bias and the ability to counter stereotypes 
  • Tools to succeed in a global economy including creativity, collaboration and cultural competency
  • Improved leadership skills, including problem-solving, critical thinking and communication skills that prepare them to be the change-makers of tomorrow
Although our students are the primary beneficiaries of our school-wide commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion, our families, school and broader community benefit as well. Together, we create a better world for all. 
I am excited to continue to listen and learn from our families as we journey together to provide programming and opportunities that support Chandler students in becoming the leaders of tomorrow. As always, I am here as a resource and encourage you to reach out to me with any questions or hopes for our collective DEI learning. 
All my best, 

Hillary Blunt, Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion