Diversity and Inclusion

The words “diversity” and “inclusion” are at the heart of everything we do at Aurora because they are at the heart of everything we believe. Put simply, we believe that effective learning and independent thinking can only take place in an engaging, respectful environment that makes everyone in our diverse school community feel safe and included. That’s why we strive to give students and adults alike many different opportunities to get know themselves and each other as learners, contributing community members, and empowered and authentic human beings.

Diverse Perspectives

As part of our shared commitment to diversity and inclusion, faculty and families at Aurora also work together to expose students to the wonderfully diverse perspectives, interests, talents, and experiences in our own community. We are also intentional about incorporating into our work perspectives and experiences often ignored by the dominant culture. In developmentally appropriate ways, we begin exploring such social conventions as gender, race, class, and family structure as we help students begin developing a healthy understanding of their unique voice and identity.

Diversity and Inclusion takes many different forms at Aurora. A few summers ago, Nick Williams, one of our former lead teachers and Lisa Piccione, our Admissions Director, invited Aurora’s LGBTQ community and their allies to participate in filming an Aurora School It Gets Better video. The video is part of the It Gets Better Project that provides hope for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and other bullied teens by letting them know that it gets better.

Cultural Competence

Across the curriculum, on the playground, in professional development, in the work of our parent-faculty Diversity and Inclusion Committee, and through parent education events, we teach and practice such cultural competencies as:

  • collaboration and active inclusion;
  • the ability to recognize emotions and emotional responses;
  • how to talk about sometimes conflicting and complicated ideas and feelings;
  • the ability to resolve conflict and take responsibility for personal behavior;
  • an awareness of different perspectives and the forces that shape them;
  • an understanding of privilege and how it affects perspective; and
  • how to identify and confront stereotypes and biases.

Affinity Groups

Affinity Groups at Aurora provide a chance for families who share a common bond to get together along with their allies to share stories, resources, fun and support. There are currently active Affinity Groups for:

  • adopted families
  • families of color
  • LGBTQ families
  • two household families
  • parents of children with learning differences.

Parent and Staff Education

As part of Aurora’s commitment to helping the adults in our students’ lives continue to grow and learn about diversity and inclusion we have hosted a number of educational experiences over the years including:

Allison Briscoe-Smith, PhD
The Wright Institute

Parent education open to the public

  • Staff watched and discussed American Promise, a documentary following two African-American boys’ journey through an independent school and beyond

Abbie Koss and Tony Cifra
Aurora School

Aurora staff development

Abbie Koss and Tony Cifra
Aurora School

Aurora staff development

  • Session explored learning about diversity and inclusion with a particular focus on executive functioning skills in children

Maria Howard
Strategies for Learning

Aurora staff development

  • A discussion about how we speak with our children about racial identity.

JuanCarlos Arauz
E3: Education, Excellence, Equity

Parent education with Aurora’s Families of Color Affinity Group

  • Viewing and discussion of Jill’s documentary, Extended Family about the links between adoptive and birth families in the US and Guatemala.

Jill Hodges
Writer/Director, Extended Family

Parent education with Aurora’s Adoptive Families Affinity Group, open to the public

  • Everyone’s Included: Teaching Children to Embrace Difference presentation and discussion of Aurora’s diversity and inclusion curriculum

Tony Cifra and Lead Teachers
Aurora School

Parent education night for Aurora parents