Lifestyle

Diversity Key in Efforts to Engage Multi-Cultural Youth

Diversity is a slogan in many places, but at The Oaks Academy’s campuses near downtown Indianapolis, on any given Wednesday, the hallways are lined with more than 100 students and parents – Black, white and otherwise, low-income, well-off and in-between – who come together for a morning worship service.

At the Oaks Academy, a faith-based private school with three campuses in the outskirts of America’s 11th largest city, all of this is by design.

The Oaks’ two lower schools and a middle school intentionally educate a balanced mix of students based on income and race. Some students hail from low-income families, others from struggling middle class families and still others from comfortable, well-off ones. The racial blend, by design, is 40 percent African American, 40 percent white and 20 percent other races. Non-Christians are also welcome to attend. At The Oaks about 25 per cent of the teachers are African American – a much higher percentage than in neighboring schools.

“How many places are this comfortably diverse?” asked Andrew N. Hart, The Oaks’ CEO. “Even church – 10 a.m. on Sunday morning is the most segregated place you can find. Sadly. In every city, neighborhoods are divided.

“Here, we intentionally bring together the races to build a place where the students are in a relationship with people unlike themselves, whether it’s socio-economically or racially. They grow up together. We all tend to go toward those who are like us. But to gain a true understanding and connection to what we are unfamiliar with, we have to bring the races together.”

An uncommon acceptance policy: Students are not selected on academic achievement or an ability to pay the $10,000 annual tuition.

“The criteria is that you, as a parent, must be in the child’s life,” Hart said, “have a bed for him to sleep, feed and clothe him, have a place for him to live and can get him to school on time – and will read to him 20 minutes a night. That’s it.”

Diversity has not reduced the school’s test scores. The Oaks was No. 1 in Indiana, according to the statewide ISTEP test.  Among its 280 middle-school graduates, 99 percent have received high-school diplomas and 87 percent have reached college.

One multi-racial instructor shared his perspective on the benefits of embracing diversity – from the student body makeup to the school’s curriculum.

“We’re teaching [a more inclusive] history to young children of diverse backgrounds in the hopes that they will be the light that helps bring about reconciliation among the races,” said Gabriel Moore, 22.

Michelle Rausch helps her sixth-grade students analyze the music that bounces off the walls as they learn Rhythmic Complexity in Translation of African Music.

“Here, the concept of being intentional about mixing kids who wouldn’t normally be together is phenomenal and it works,” she said. “That’s the whole point of diversity. You want to get people together, who wouldn’t normally know each other, to build relationships.”

Tags
Show More

Curtis Bunn

Urban News Service

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


By submitting this form, you are consenting to receive marketing emails from: Washington Informer Newspaper, 3117 Martin Luther King Jr. Ave SE, Washington, DC, 20032, http://www.washingtoninformer.com. You can revoke your consent to receive emails at any time by using the SafeUnsubscribe® link, found at the bottom of every email. Emails are serviced by Constant Contact

Back to top button

My News Matters to me - Washington Informer Donations

Be a Part of The Washington Informer Legacy

A donation of your choice empowers our journalists to continue the work to better inform, educate and empower you through technology and resources that you use.

Click Here Today to Support Black Press and be a part of the Legacy!

Subscribe today for free and be the first to have news and information delivered directly to your inbox.


By submitting this form, you are consenting to receive marketing emails from: Washington Informer Newspaper, 3117 Martin Luther King Jr. Ave SE, Washington, DC, 20032, http://www.washingtoninformer.com. You can revoke your consent to receive emails at any time by using the SafeUnsubscribe® link, found at the bottom of every email. Emails are serviced by Constant Contact
Close

Adblock Detected

Please consider supporting us by disabling your ad blocker