GRCS Diversity Council
Philosophy and Operational Definitions
In the beginning God created…and He looked and saw that everything was good. God created people in his image as the crown of creation "to represent him on earth and to live in loving communion with him. (10)…No matter what our age, or race, or color, we are the human family together, for the Creator made us all." (12)
Sin destroyed that wholeness and perfection, and ever since the fall, human beings have struggled to live in community with each other, whether brothers and sisters, neighbors, or nations. "Sin is present everywhere—in pride of race, in arrogance of nations, in abuse of the weak and helpless…" (17)
Through the work of redemption, Christ reclaimed the world. As children of God, it is our mandate to restore and renew it as instruments of the Creator, modeling compassion, love, and forgiveness, and seeking justice and reconciliation until that day when the whole creation is made perfect again. "Since life is his gift, we foster the well-being of others…" (12)
"Following the Prince of Peace, we are called to promote harmony and order…" (55) It is through that renewal and transformation that we bring thanks and praise to our Creator and Redeemer.
(Quotations taken from Our World Belongs To God, A Contemporary Christian Testimony, Grand Rapids: CRC Publications, 1987.)
Based on this philosophy, the following definitions frame our work:
Diversity is defined as a commitment to recognizing and appreciating the variety of characteristics that make individuals unique in an atmosphere that promotes and celebrates individual and collective achievement.
Examples of these characteristics are: age, cognitive style, culture, disability (mental, cognitive, physical), economic background, education, ethnicity, gender identity, geographic background, language(s) spoken, marital/partnered status, physical appearance, political affiliation, race, religious beliefs, sexual orientation.
Diversity creates a community that values and embraces each person as made in God’s image and uses our individual differences and gifts to reveal a more complete picture of God.
Discrimination means treating people differently and less favorably because of characteristics that are not related to their merit or the requirements of the job. Discrimination in the form of racism, homophobia, sexism, health condition, disability, etc. breaks down the community that God originally intended.
GRCS is fully committed to establishing an environment where discrimination and disenfranchisement of any kind is intentionally and actively addressed in individual attitudes and institutional policies according to God’s mandate.
It is with this motivation that the Diversity Council of GRCS undertakes this effort.
Eliminate the sin of discrimination and promote a spirit of reconciliation within our corporate and constituent body.
Vision and Mission
Mission: Establish a school community that values and embraces each person as made in God’s image and uses individual and collective characteristics and gifts to reveal a more complete picture of God and God’s kingdom
Vision: Through advocacy, education, and prayer, the GRCS will work with students, staff, and constituents to value, embrace, and celebrate all persons with their variety of individual and collective characteristics and gifts. We will work to eliminate the sin of discrimination and promote a spirit of reconciliation within our corporate and constituent body.
Goals and Strategies
The Grand Rapids Christian Schools will work to eliminate the sin of discrimination and practice reconciliation in all aspects of the organization. This work will be facilitated by the District Diversity Council.
- Identify systemic, curricular, instructional, and individual barriers to eliminating discrimination in GRCS.
- Educate GRCS staff, students, and constituents about the presence and impact of racism, sexism, etc.
- Identify practices of reconciliation in GRCS.
- Identify discriminatory features or bias within curriculum and instruction.
- Increase diversity on the GRCS Board of Trustees and the district boards.
- Increase the diversity of the GRCS teaching and non-teaching staff.
- The Grand Rapids Christian Schools will work with students, staff and constituents to value, embrace and celebrate all persons with their variety of individual and corporate characteristics and gifts.
- Educate GRCS staff about valuing, embracing, and celebrating diversity.
- Provide opportunities for creating community within the student body.
- Embed the teaching and cultivating of respect for differences in the curriculum.
- Provide opportunities for creating community between the GRCS and the greater Grand Rapids community.
- Increase the interchange between the GRCS and city churches.
- Increase the diversity of the GRCS student body.
- Review the GRCS documents and policies using the lens of diversity, to include the mission statement, long-range strategic plan, dignity policy, tuition policies and purchasing policies.
- Provide opportunities for the constituency to learn about diverse populations and cultures.
- Publicize GRCS efforts in diversity.
Facilitators: Spiritual Life Office Representative and Curriculum & Instruction Coodinator, K-8
Chief Education Officer
Director of Student Support Services
1 representative from the Development Office
1-2 representatives from each GRCS building in the district.
As Needed Members:
Education Committee: One member from the Education Committee will be invited to attend. Minutes will be shared with the Education Committee.
Building Administrators attend on an as needed basis. Minutes will be shared with Principals.