Editor’s How to Guide

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The AISA DEIJ Guide: Your Guide to School Transformation

How Was the DEIJ Guide Developed?

AISA, along with numerous schools and organisations within the international school community, was motivated by the Black Lives Matter movement in 2020 to deeply assess our dedication to nurturing diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice (DEIJ) within ourselves and our collective schools. As a result, the AISA Board decided in 2022 to task the AISA team with developing a DEIJ Handbook aimed at assisting international schools in their journey toward greater diversity, inclusivity, equity, and justice.

This significant undertaking found its place within AISA’s Wellbeing for All Programme, given the alignment between our efforts in child protection, wellbeing, and DEIJ work, all aimed at fostering member schools as communities where everyone feels secure, supported, and capable of flourishing.

But where does one begin? From the very start, we recognised that accomplishing this task would require a community of dedicated and passionate individuals committed to driving change and supporting this project. AISA expresses immense gratitude for the time and generosity each contributor devoted to this project, ultimately benefiting international schools worldwide.

Purpose of the guide

The primary objective of this resource is to offer practical guidance to schools in their endeavour to become exemplars of DEIJ and foster a sense of belonging. Its emphasis lies in providing actionable strategies (‘how’) rather than delving into the rationale (‘why’). The guide leverages the lived experiences of various contributors who have confronted injustice and spearheaded systemic transformations within their schools and communities. It presents concrete examples that are intended to inspire ideas for implementing positive change within your school and community.

Who is the guide for?

AISA has created this resource to benefit schools worldwide. It is open to all individuals involved in school communities, including governors, leaders, educators, co-professionals, and ancillary staff. We believe that everyone has a vital role to play in establishing inclusive school environments where every individual experiences a profound sense of belonging and where every voice is not only heard but also valued.

How to get the most out of this guide?

This guide has been developed to signpost a way forward for you and your school. There is no one way to do this work, and each school community will need to find their unique path forward.

The inner and outer journey

The task of establishing schools that embody genuine diversity, equity, inclusivity, and justice (DEIJ) in their values and programs demands more than mere compliance with a predefined set of standards. It is incumbent upon all of us to shoulder the responsibility of fostering a culture of authentic inclusivity, where everyone is embraced and empowered. This requires that we each examine our beliefs, values, and attitudes, enabling substantive cultural transformation to complement structural changes. Throughout this guide, you will find reflective questions to guide this inner journey, with the hope that this translates into sustainable systemic transformation.

What next?

We hope that this guide will evolve and expand as schools worldwide actively utilise these resources to foster substantial transformation. Therefore, we warmly encourage you to share your stories, resources, and Radical Dreams with us. By doing so, we can collaboratively continue on our collective journey towards cultivating communities that are increasingly inclusive, equitable, and just. Together, let us forge ahead towards a brighter and more united future.

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