As indicated by our President, Pamela Jordan, Idyllwild Arts Foundation has committed itself to creating a more inclusive community, where all voices are heard and the contributions of all community members are valued. Without authentic dialogue, we cannot know where our strengths and weaknesses lie. Above all, we cannot eliminate bias and dismantle systemic racism.
Because our Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging work needed an objective, data-based starting point, last October our faculty, staff, administration, trustees, alumni, and parents were offered the AIM Survey (Assessment of Inclusivity and Multicultural Survey). The Survey, created by the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS), probed views and personal experiences of the school in the areas of:
- Being respected and empowered;
- Feeling safe and comfortable;
- Being supported and affirmed;
- Belonging; and
- Having contributions valued.
NAIS tabulated the data. To share the survey results with the entire Idyllwild Arts community, we have scheduled webinars, both accessible here, on March 4 at 9:30 AM (PT) and 7 PM (PT). Subsequently, a recording of the presentation will appear on the school website.
The Way Forward
After releasing the results, we will form a Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging (DEIB) Collaborative of students, faculty, staff, and alumni. Their purpose will be to propose initiatives and paths of change in the Idyllwild Arts community. We invite community members to apply here until March 17. We will notify selected members on March 26.
My experience of participating in our AIM Survey Committee with AIM Survey Coordinator Monique Riedel and the other members has been deeply rewarding and I want to thank them. The fifty-five-percent-international composition of the Academy’s student body can deceive us into believing that our embrace of diversity is perfect and that we extend equity, inclusion, and belonging to every community member. Yet no family is perfect and no healthy family is afraid to examine its imperfections.
I am grateful for the AIM Survey’s help in shining a light on where Idyllwild Arts needs to improve and I’m proud of our community’s willingness to face up to those needs. I look forward to the hard but vital work of bringing about improvement.