De La Salle Academy Curriculum Expands on Making the World a More Just and Equitable Place

In our contemporary society, issues around diversity, difference, and equity bring us both hope, but also a great deal of new challenges. While many of us learn about and experience society by simply living in it, understanding the complexities of living in an increasingly interconnected and diverse world requires careful study and attention. At De La Salle Academy (DLSA), Principal Angel Gonzalez, Ph.D., ’99 offers a course as part of the school curriculum that focuses on social justice in the U.S. and around the world. This course takes a multi-disciplinary approach to studying the question: How do we make this world a more just and equitable place? This course provides a foundation in key ideas and concepts in the field of social justice, then examines historical movements for change, and concludes by discussing contemporary topics related to issues of justice and equity.

We recently asked DLSA students to discuss how this course has expanded their views on diversity, equity, inclusion and justice. Below you will find several responses.

Kayla J. (8th Grade)

In what ways has DLSA contributed to diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice?

While De La Salle Academy faculty members have performed an astounding job in contributing to equity and inclusion, they have also acknowledged diverse and honorable figures from different backgrounds within their curriculum. For instance, in American Studies, students are assigned to communicate our perspectives on a specific moment in time, involving various groups of people through poetry, short stories, comics, and even small puzzles. As a result of these engaging activities, we are able to grasp a better understanding of lives and experiences dissimilar to our own. Although Covid-19 has prevented us from participating in De La Salle traditional events, such as potluck which highlights the significance of everyone’s heritage, and traditions, faculty members have still managed to live the vision of advancing issues connected to equality, and justice by continuing to honor and celebrate those of different racial and cultural backgrounds, in order to foster respect, acceptance, and unity.

Ngawang D. (6th Grade)

In what ways has DLSA contributed to diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice?

DLSA has contributed to equity because every single student gets treated with the same amount of respect, and no student is prioritized over another. DLSA contributes to diversity because as mentioned before every student has the same amount of respect from the teacher and no one is prioritized by favorites or by skin color. DLSA has contributed to justice because whenever students get in trouble the consequences will be fair. DLSA contributes to inclusion because every single student gets to participate in the lesson and the teachers are not biased on who they call on.

In what ways does the DLSA community live the vision of advancing issues connected to equity and justice?

DLSA  lives the vision of advancing issues connected to equity because when DLSA takes the application forms for the people who are applying for DLSA they will not be biased by who they are or their skin color. DLSA will focus on the child’s knowledge. DLSA  lives the vision of advancing issues connected to justice because every single student receives the same amount of attention.

Jane K. (8th Grade)

In what ways has DLSA contributed to diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice?

De La Salle Academy has contributed to diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice in a variety of different ways. But the two most overriding contributions that De La Salle has made towards diversity, equity, inclusion and justice is the diverse community that the school cultivates, as well as the attentive space that is provided within each and every classroom. De La Salle Academy fosters an extremely diverse and equitable community where the students are able to see themselves represented amongst the rest of the student body and faculty members. This allows for students to realize that it is okay to embrace their identities, and not be ashamed because you are different. This also encourages students to speak out and develop strong, positive opinions on diversity, equity, inclusion and justice. De La Salle Academy also provides a space where students can speak out about their experiences as minorities without feeling like they are being silenced. This also illuminates to the students that diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice is powerful, and something that should be shared both in the classroom, and out to the rest of the world. 

Lonnie M. (8th Grade)

In what ways has DLSA contributed to diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice?

De La Salle is a standing example of diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice. Coming from a school, prior to DLSA, in which diversity and all these other ideas did not exist, I did not experience these differences and had a new view on life. Seeing students from different races, getting to know each other, hugging, and even “adopting,” De La Salle has shaped my view on diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice. 

In what ways does the DLSA community live the vision of advancing issues connected to equity and justice?

The De La Salle community lives by equity and justice by having kids from all around the world and having all these different religions. We are unified as one in this school and hold us accountable to following Lasallian principles. We learn about all the La Salle schools around the world and how we are linked even in NYC. We create a better world by talking about these ideas straight up usually in the form of community meetings. Through experience and storytelling, we learn what equity and justice mean, and what we can do to help the community and the world become more equal. 

Tenzin D. (7th Grade)

In what ways has DLSA contributed to diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice?

DLSA has, first and foremost, offered less advantaged students the opportunity to attend private school, which I’d never dreamed of. DLSA has contributed to diversity, equality and justice by giving us a safe space that educates us on topics from the world today. We learn about injustices, and how we can help. We learn about diversity and how we’re all special.

In what ways does the DLSA community live the vision of advancing issues connected to equity and justice?

Teachers often start off classes by asking what we feel about news that comes up, which leads to conversations that educate us on the topic. This helps us become more aware of our world and encourages us to take the initiative to change things in small ways that affect the big picture. In DLSA, we are taught to embrace our differences instead of smothering them, and DLSA also gives us a community that understands and supports us.

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