Schools and corporations are tackling diversity issues every day
Over the past decade, organizations have engaged firmly in a journey to define corporate policies ruling on diversity : gender parity, handicaps, multiculture, multi language are generally the main topics contemplated.
Awareness has grown that Diversity is both a key asset and a challenge : at best, corporations benefit from an increased sense of Community, outstanding team spirit and a stakeholder oriented culture ; at worst, it highlights that the organization is just composed of individuals with an individualistic culture who struggle to work as a team and probably fail to manage stakeholders expectations.
Likewise, schools have to face the same huge challenge : they have to balance every year multi-cultural classes, all sorts of handicaps, scarsity of resources, unstable organics and often no firm integration model. What will the resulting Community look like ? In some cases, diversity will be perceived as a threat, and we sometimes see the creation of utter gettoes from all points of view. But there are powerful exceptions too.
A positive case of inclusion : the “Vivaio high school” integration model
In Italy, one of the leading examples of integration at school is represented by the Vivaio high school in Milan, which includes in every section about 20% of ‘diversely able’ kids : the school started as a special school for blind kids, and extended to manage many types of physical and mental illnesses. The Vivaio high school has 40 years of track record in managing Integration with music used as the key facilitator.
The school objective is to build an inclusive Community where everybody is able to play its part, based on their capacity. Practically, everybody is ‘diverse’ and is taught to climb its own hill and play to the best of their capacity, in a friendly team atmosphere.
The public school governance model reflects the Community approach by embedding an advanced partnership between parents and teachers, and stability in the teachers group helps to accumulate experience in setting ad-hoc educational models. The scholar results are excellent, both in terms of personal development and academic achievements.
Let us oppose firmly the plans to terminate the Vivaio experience :
Due to its small size, the Vivaio School is facing the threat of being incorporated in a large institution incapable to preserve its specificity in the future. The Milan City and the Ministry of Education plan to remove the autonomy of the school from September 2018.Let us oppose this plan and give time to the school to make counter proposals : public and private organizations desperately need Vivaio-like models to be disseminated so that the new generation is educated to live diversity positively and make it an asset in their future professional lives. I would advocate 50 Vivaio schools just in Italy in order to bolster the culture of inclusion, while the political debate of “ius soli” is raging.
Join me to support the Vivaio school in Milan in its struggle for life and be an advocate for diversity by signing the appeal to the Milan Mayor. Follow the instructions in the link below in order to support the school in its battle for life.