At Wildwood School, multiculturalism is a core value and the term we use to refer to our ongoing process of creating an inclusive, supportive community that embraces diversity.
Students learn about and reflect on the various dimensions of their own social identity through a variety of programs and opportunities. By developing a deeper awareness of their social identity, students are better able to understand the perspectives and experiences of others. Wildwood’s program emphasizes an awareness of diverse perspectives and experiences, fostering in students a desire to contribute to the welfare of a diverse community and preparing them to adapt and lead in an ever-changing world.
Wildwood’s commitment to creating a dynamic multicultural community involves a comprehensive approach that includes students, parents, faculty, and staff. Our educational program reflects this essential and ongoing process: It informs our school culture, academic and advisory curriculum, and our faculty training and professional development. Faculty and staff share the common goal of educating children and adolescents to become compassionate, wise adults with a sense of self and respect for others.
Head of School Landis Green is a committed sponsor of Wildwood’s multicultural work and is an active member of its Multicultural Leadership Team. As a University of Pennsylvania graduate student, he taught at an urban school in Philadelphia. He later attended Milton Diversity Institute for an intensive seminar on equity and justice in independent schools. As assistant head of school at Wilmington Friends School in Delaware, Landis led efforts to introduce several diversity-related initiatives, which included the introduction of an urban scholars program, the development of a racially and socioeconomically diverse preschool affiliated with Wilmington Friends School, and expanded programming to address multicultural ideas and issues. Landis also co-founded the Human Rights Team at John Bapst Memorial High School in Maine.
Wildwood is one of the few independent schools in Los Angeles to have a full-time director of multicultural affairs. Rasheda Carroll has held this post since its inception in 2007. A tireless advocate, Rasheda serves as point person, mentor, counselor, and coordinator for our multicultural program and is available to students and families for consultation. Rasheda holds a master’s degree from Pepperdine University and has done extensive training and research in diversity work, including a month long internship at the Summer Institute for Intercultural Communications in Oregon.
Multicultural Leadership Team
The Multicultural Leadership Team, made up of specially trained faculty and staff, focuses on programs and policies that further the school’s goals. The team leads diversity training for all faculty to support them in effectively engaging students in healthy dialogue that explores diverse perspectives and experiences, deepens understanding and empathy, and helps transform misunderstanding into opportunities for learning. Team members also facilitate workshops at national conferences related to Wildwood’s work on multiculturalism.
Multicultural Leadership Institute
Educators from across the country join us each summer for Wildwood School’s Multicultural Leadership Institute. This five-day seminar leverages current research and best practices with Wildwood’s institutional experiences. It is designed for schools seeking to create and sustain authentically multicultural schools and allows all participants to consider, refine, and generate strategies to sustain change in school culture, faculty development, curriculum, and more. Please click here to learn more and to register.
Beginning in elementary school and extending to middle and upper school, students can join in clubs and groups in which they can explore issues of diversity. In elementary school, families take part in Family Story Night and children can participate in Cultural Connections, a group that offers age-appropriate activities.
Additionally, middle and upper school students can select to participate in affinity groups for students of color, white allies (white students who work to end the oppression of minority groups), and gay/lesbian/bisexual/transgender (GLBT) students. Affinity groups share a common background and experience. The goal for these groups is to support positive identity development for students, to maximize the effectiveness of cross-cultural exchanges, and to create and sustain a multicultural community where all voices are heard. Affinity groups meet monthly during advisory. Students who choose not to participate instead spend the time working on diversity-related curriculum.
Parent Multicultural Collaborative
Parents play an important role in supporting and advancing Wildwood’s multicultural community. The Parent Multicultural Collaborative establishes a forum so parents can learn about themselves and others through the exploration of issues related to multiculturalism. The collaborative organizes community dialogues, guest speakers, and other events that promote a spirit of engagement and deepen the bonds we share as a school community.