At Geffen Academy, the principles of diversity, equity, and inclusion are integral to the school’s overall mission, vision, and practice. We strive to be a transformative school that upholds a more just world and challenges systems of oppression2 that undermine humanity and our ecosystem. As educators, students, and families, we believe that a transformative educational experience acknowledges and develops the diversity of identities3 and experiences that individuals and communities bring to institutions; we understand that individuals and communities are the agents of change in our institution. Further, we believe that educational institutions must be reflective, allow for critical examination, and be continuously reworked in order to best meet the needs of the communities and individuals they serve. 

Therefore, Geffen Academy reaffirms our commitment to fostering an inclusive school community that gives students, families, and educators the tools and opportunities to express their identities in a complete and authentic manner. We understand our commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion to operate on three levels, with multiple constituencies, commitments, and actions involved.

List of 3 items.

  • Individual

    At the individual level, we cultivate in ourselves and our students:

    • A sense of responsibility to work towards social justice and work against injustice.
    • The understanding that humans are capable of change, and specifically have the ability to engage in deep self-reflection and continuous revision of ideas, beliefs, thoughts, and behaviors as a result of engaging with the histories, lived experiences, and cultural practices of others.
    • A sense of humility in each of us, for regardless of where we start our journey, deepening our knowledge about issues of social justice is a lifetime’s worth of work.
    • A sense of pride, respect, and love, rather than shame, for the identity markers that make us who we are, and an understanding of where our identity markers situate us in the larger narrative of our country and our world.
  • Community

    At the community level, we cultivate in our students, educators, and families:

    • The understanding that healthy relationships are at the center of our work in education.
    • A commitment to sharing and implementing best practices, rooted in personal testimony, community wisdom, and academic research, as they relate to building lasting, trusting, and respectful conversations and relationships with each other.
    • The ability to facilitate clear, kind, and direct dialogue between individuals and groups to clarify intention, understand impact, address harm, and restore relationships.
    • The ability to engage in critique of social issues that may affect our school and the world-at-large, and delve into difficult, perhaps uncomfortable, conversations about these issues and furthermore develop and enact solutions to these issues with the intention of making our community a safer and healthier place.
    • The desire to engage in the celebration of identity and culture to highlight the assets, rather than perceived deficits, of our cultures.
    • The inspiration to re-imagine a different way of being; being careful not to reproduce the same oppressive structures in our desire to dismantle oppression, and the charge to connect our work to the betterment of the larger community and society in which we operate. 
  • Institutional

    At the institutional level, we cultivate in our educators and school:

    • The collection of data that examines our practices and programs.
    • The willingness to listen to community members’ observations and critiques with openness and consideration.
    • The willingness to reflect on our school systems, policies, and procedures; question whom they serve and how well they serve the groups they are designed to serve; and revise policies and procedures if necessary.
    • A commitment to the use and function of the building, as a physical space, recognizes, celebrates, and honors human beings, both past and present, who represent a multitude of identity markers in order to provide potent symbols that align with our school’s values and show support to our community.
    • A commitment to use our diversity, equity, and inclusion lens to make decisions regarding the investment of resources.
    • A continuous effort to align our school’s mission and vision with the mission and vision of UCLA, due to our unique situation as a school within a public university.
    • A commitment to transparency and integrity in our work, with a clear sense of who we must serve in the work that we do.
    • The awareness that, although we strive for our institution to be safe and inclusive, other systems exist in the world and can infiltrate the work we are trying to do and impede its success. In other words, the awareness that progress requires a combination of urgency, questioning, challenge, patience, and strategy, especially as we work toward actualizing our vision.
We actualize this work as Geffen Academy educators, students, and families by implementing policies, programs, and norms of behavior that are informed by community-rooted wisdom as well as scholarly research on topics of diversity, equity, inclusion, and social justice4. Our commitment to this vision is evident in the relationships we build with each other, as well as in our individual areas of practice. Our curriculum, pedagogical toolkits, relational skills, classroom culture, public displays, professional conversations, educator professional development, educator- and student/family-facing policies and procedures, student activities, and family events reflect our commitment to not only diversity, equity, and inclusion, but also an active practice of social justice, with the intention of serving our community in a just manner and offering our students and educators a transformative educational experience.


1 This is a living document; we encourage community feedback and will create forums for community consideration and revision.
2 Systems of oppression include, but are not limited to: racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, xenophobia, and other attitudes and behaviors that are discriminatory against identity markers that have historically been marginalized or oppressed.
3 Identity markers include, but are not limited to: race, ethnicity, ancestry, national origin, legal status, religion/spirituality, gender, sexuality, learning styles, ability, socioeconomic background, etc.
4 A commitment to enacting behavior and policies that are anti-racist, anti-sexist, anti-homophobic, anti- xenophobic, etc., and educating against all forms of oppression and their intersections.