Valuing Biblical Diversity
The King's Academy Mission
The King’s Academy is a Christ-centered school that inspires academic excellence, servant leadership, and enduring relationships.
The Value of Biblical Diversity at TKA
Believing that God has created all people in His image, The King’s Academy values and cultivates racial, cultural, ethnic, and socioeconomic diversity on campus. We recognize all persons are uniquely created by God and are given specific gifts and abilities which foster a well-rounded learning environment. We denounce the sin of racism, and we desire to create a community where students and staff from all racial and ethnic backgrounds feel welcomed and accepted. Ultimately, we desire to impact the diverse cultures of Silicon Valley and the world for the kingdom of God. – Psalm 139:14, Genesis 1:27, Galatians 3:28, and Acts 10:34-35
TKA Commits to the Action Steps Below:
Consistent with The King’s Academy’s Foundational Principles, as set out in the Student/Parent Handbook, TKA is committed to taking the following action steps so that the school might better reflect its conviction as to the value of diversity at TKA. This list will be updated periodically to reflect TKA’s progress on these initiatives.
School Year 2021-2022
- Formation of ongoing Staff Diversity Council from the Staff Diversity Task Force. The Staff Diversity Council meets monthly (All year)
- Staff professional development and small group discussion about diversity issues. Each staff member chose a resource to read over the summer. In small groups, individuals shared about their resource, and groups discussed some common reflection/application questions. (September)
- Staff professional development: "The Danger of a Single Story" TED Talk video and small group discussions (November)
- Formation of on ongoing School Diversity Council, comprised of students and staff, to plan activities that celebrate multicultural diversity on campus and promote a school culture that emphasizes unity and belonging, where every student is seen and valued. (January)
- For Black History Month, Dr. Aaron Howard presents "Biblical Foundations of Diversity and Belonging" to the entire TKA community in a parent seminar (open to public), in student chapel for all grades, and to all staff. He will lead two staff development workshops. For staff, he will be covering some additional topics including how teachers can modify their curriculum to represent and reflect the diversity of God's kingdom, including practical strategies for diversifying curriculum to increase the sense of belonging amongst students. (February)
- "Knights Worldwide" Multicultural Week: March 21-25; planned by Student Council. (March)
- TKA Service Week will be entirely service to local community. (April)
Completed School Year 2020-2021
- TKA created a statement about "The Value of Diversity at TKA" to be posted on the website and included in the student/parent handbook and marketing materials for all current families and prospective families to read.
- TKA has always been an equal opportunity employer. However, language has been added to TKA's website employment page highlighting a desire to build a faculty and staff team that celebrates racial, cultural, and ethnic diversity.
- TKA has created a separate category for racial infractions that falls under the harassment section in the student/parent handbook.
- TKA has stated in TKA's Student/Parent Handbook that racism includes speech and/or actions that result in or perpetuate racial discrimination, prejudice, xenophobia, or bigotry. Verbal harassment includes threatening words spoken to another person, including hate speech and racially charged speech.
- TKA has stated in TKA's Student/Parent Handbook that racially charged hate speech could lead to out-of-school suspension or expulsion.
- Dress expectations language in TKA's Student/Parent Handbook has been modified to be more sensitive to cultural differences in hairstyles and the wearing of jewelry, and to be more respectful about the language used to avoid any shaming.
- All TKA staff completed SafeSchools Training on: Cultural Competence and Racial Bias, Diversity Awareness: Staff-to-Staff, Diversity Awareness: Staff-to-Student (August)
- TKA created a Diversity Scholarship Fund as part of the ongoing Strategic Plan goal to ensure a broad social and economic mix of students in TKA's school community. It should be noted financial aid is awarded based on need and applications do not ask for information about race or language.
- All-school chapel "A Family Discussion on Race - Part 1: The African American Experience" followed by home group discussions.
- All-school chapel "A Family Discussion on Race - Part 2: The Asian American Experience" followed by home group discussions.
- All-school chapel "A Family Discussion on Race - Part 3: Panel answers questions about race submitted by students.
- The Bible and Social Studies departments share curriculum ideas on racism and diversity in a shared Google folder.
This fall, each of the Bible classes taught a unit on racism including the Biblical teaching on partiality, discrimination, and injustice.
Campus Pastor & Bible Department Lead, Rob Starke, wrote a paper on The King's Academy's position on racial issues. The position paper was reviewed by the administrative leadership team and has been forwarded to the School Board for review.
TKA Admissions Director, Michele Duncan, met with families in 8th grade at Beechwood School, a non-profit serving mainly the Bellhaven/East Palo Alto communities with a majority Hispanic/Black community.
The annual senior Thanksgiving feast was held without students dressing in any type of costume, given past issues with cultural appropriation.
Despite the various restrictions in place due to the pandemic, the Spiritual Life staff has actively looked for ways students can participate in local volunteer opportunities (both in-person and online) serving disadvantaged populations, e.g. Reach Potential, Loaves & Fishes, Hopes Corner, Sunday Friends, etc.
In the 2021 Accreditation Continuous School Improvement plan, TKA has included a school-wide goal to "cultivate a diverse ethnic student population" which begins with appointing a Diversity Task Force to develop ideas to increase diversity on TKA's campus.
A staff Diversity & Student Programming Task Force was formed to look at how to integrate and celebrate racial diversity in student programming. The Task Force will look at the climate, programs, events, and policies/procedures on campus and assess ways to combat racism and take intentional steps to cultivate a community where students from all racial and ethnic backgrounds feel welcomed and accepted.
TKA posted and filled the Human Resources Manager position. This person will be integral to ongoing and future efforts to diversify TKA's staff, provide ongoing staff training and development, and assess the campus climate for staff.
Activities to celebrate Black History Month 2021 included a student poetry contest, black American legends display, library display, "Facts & Firsts" shared in home groups, "Selma: The Bridge to the Ballot" all school viewing/discussion, and TKA Black History Month webpage.
Activities to celebrate Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage month included educational resources shared with students, parents and staff; notes of encouragement written to students from staff with AAPI backgrounds; student art & photography showcase.
TKA teachers and staff have been given a list of reflection questions and diversity resources to read to prepare for small group discussions upon return in fall 2021.
- TKA will continue the ongoing assessment of our curriculum and make any relevant changes to incorporate racial and ethnic diversity, including specific learning objectives and outcomes that address racial perspectives, especially in literature, history, Bible courses.
- TKA will incorporate training on racism and unconscious bias in professional development plans for faculty/staff at all levels.
- TKA will offer programs to educate students and parents about racism and engage in supported dialogue about how to combat racism and discrimination.
- TKA will review student events and programs to ensure they consider cultural customs and do not contribute to bias against any group.
- TKA will develop an external and internal communication strategy to demonstrate the school’s commitment to the importance of diversity and which reflects our belief that all people are of equal worth in the sight of God.
- TKA will expand its efforts to attract and enroll underrepresented students and employ underrepresented faculty and staff, especially in leadership positions.
- TKA will prioritize local outreach service opportunities that specifically target disadvantaged populations.
- TKA will create a network of strategic and diverse Christian ministry partners within the community.
- TKA will continue to promote the StopIt app for anonymous reporting of harassment in all forms, including racism, discrimination, and bullying.
Note: "Ongoing" indicates that TKA has already taken steps on this action item but will incorporate new feedback and continue efforts each school year.
- TKA will review the process for reporting, reviewing, and addressing all incidents involving racism, discrimination, sexism, and sexual harassment. (Targeted for 2022)
- TKA will conduct an audit of the social climate on campus which will include listening sessions with students and staff to hear their experiences and gather input about ways to address any existing bias or racism. (Targeted for 2022)
- TKA will create and publish specific action steps to be taken by the school to address any identified social climate issues on campus. (Targeted for 2022)
Guiding Biblical Principles for Seeking Unity Within Diversity
- All that we say and do with respect to race and ethnicity will reflect our commitment to the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Ephesians 2:19-22 “So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.”
- We will accept responsibility for our failures, graciously celebrate our successes, and humbly walk together in the spirit of love and forgiveness demonstrating an understanding that until we reach heaven we remain sinners in need of grace and mercy.
Romans 3:23 “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”
Ephesians 4:32 “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.”
- TKA staff and faculty will take the primary lead in setting classroom instructional objectives and campus behavioral standards with parents as supportive partners. Parents take the lead in shaping Christian character in the lives of their children through active engagement in their local church and through serving in the school community as supportive partners.
Proverbs 22:6 “Train up your child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.”
Deuteronomy 6:6-9 “You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.”
- We will seek to love one another by assuming the best possible motives when engaging in communication.
1 Corinthians 13:7 “Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”
- When we believe someone has fallen short of these standards, we will follow the principles of Matthew 18 and confront them privately before confronting them publicly. Regarding student conduct, TKA staff will confront any and all known racist incidents swiftly. TKA will follow the Student/Parent Handbook guidelines, taking actions to correct the behavior, with the objective of seeking redemption and growing Christlike character.
II Timothy 3:16-17 “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.”
Matthew 18: 15-17 “If your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over. But if they will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.’ If they still refuse to listen, tell it to the church; and if they refuse to listen even to the church, treat them as you would a pagan or a tax collector.”
Thanks to The First Academy (Orlando, FL) for leading the way and generously sharing content on this topic.