In North America today diversity is getting a great deal of attention. While diversity is not a new phenomenon, it is recognized that accelerating changes in the population in the 21st century has demanded recognition. It is also clear that diversity will affect society, its schools and its workplaces for some time to come.
It is not surprising that Adventist schools are discovering a student population of increasing diversity. Demographic shifts, immigration patterns, and changes in the socioeconomic fabric of our country and even our neighborhoods have affected the makeup of the students population. Contemporary culture also brings changes in family structure and value systems of student homes. Beyond cultural differences, other factors of diversity such as gender, learning styles, and religious beliefs, demand attention in exemplary Adventist schools.
Educators must develop diversity consciousness and the requisite skills to recognize diversity in all of its various forms. Understanding student differences must lead to respecting diversity and active acceptance. Adventist schools must develop programs and activities that lead the school beyond tolerance and understanding to a cohesive learning community. Across the school calendar and throughout the entire curriculum opportunities to celebrate diversity must be utilized to create unity within the diverse school family. That also means that in the classroom teachers will explore ways to integrate diversity into the instructional program. In every grade and content area, accommodating differences helps students achieve success in learning.