Commitment to Equity

IVA’s mission of meaningful growth in students' intellectual character prioritizes a deeply personal and strengths-based positive approach to personal development. Our students bring their natural and grown curiosity, courage, dynamic personalities, productive struggle and excitement to the learning process. Our approach values students’ interests, experiences, and backgrounds. Each unique identity, culture, and perspective fuels our connectedness. When we listen to our learners and to one another we can connect to their interests, needs, and goals, and create collaborative experiences that grow curiosity, critical thinking skills, and an honest awareness of their own thinking. Our commitment to these values make our school a unique place to belong.

Promise #1:  We commit ourselves to an anti-bias agenda that celebrates diversity and challenges inequality and all forms of bias.

IVA embraces a learning community that does not discriminate based on race, color, ancestry, national/ethnic origin, age, sex, sexual orientation, religion, gender identity, mental health, physical and/or learning differences, socioeconomic status, or other characteristics that construct our unique human identities. IVA is committed to a school community of care and responsiveness where each individual is valued and supported. 

Promise #2:  We actively seek students and staff from diverse backgrounds.

IVA enrolls students through a public lottery system and aims to create a school that is reflective of our community. We understand the reflection and perseverance necessary to meet this goal. In some ways, we are already many steps forward. The Ed-Data organization annually assigns public schools a score on their “Ethnic Diversity Index”. This index measures how spread out a school’s student population is across the race/ethnicity categories reported to the California Department of Education. If all of a school’s students were part of the same race/ethnicity category their Ethnic Diversity Index score would be zero. Several CA schools have a score of zero. On the other hand, if a student population were exactly evenly distributed across the eight race/ethnicity categories they would have a score of 100. No CA school has a score of 100 and the highest score is currently 76. IVA’s 22-23 Ethnic Diversity score is 56. This score places IVAMS in the top 5% of most diverse schools in all of Los Angeles County. This year 52% of our staff are people of color. 

Promise #3:  We are committed to preparing teachers and staff for ongoing self-reflection and education.  

IVA provides teachers and staff with ongoing inquiry-based professional development internally and from non-profit partners in the community to create a values-aligned culture. Professional development is led in self-reflection, self-assessment, and accountability for ongoing growth in our character in a culture of thinking. IVA works diligently to address our own biases, and seek ongoing training in trauma informed practices, anti-racism, and identity. We explore the role of our identities on our perspectives and experience of race and racism. We unpack the impact of stereotypes, prejudice, discrimination, and implicit bias on ourselves, peers, and students. We reflect on the role that we play in perpetuating and or eradicating structural racism as individuals and as a school. We identify anti-racist action steps to take in our interactions both personal and professional, and in the school community. Our training includes book and article studies such as How to Be an AntiRacist by Ibram K. Kendi, White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo, Multiplication is for White People by Lisa Delpit, Teaching to Transgress by bell hooks, and other selections that help both educate, equip, and challenge through self-assessment, reflection, and a call to create change. We examine our curriculum and ourselves to make ongoing adjustments so that all teachers and staff educate from an anti-bias grounding honoring multicultural voices and perspectives, seeking social justice education. 

Promise #4: We commit ourselves to empower students in and out of the classroom to ask questions, to think and reason for themselves, and to listen with an open-mind so that we together can create a more just and equitable world. 

IVA teachers invite students into deep conversation through the curriculum in a safe and welcoming classroom environment to bring their unique voice into thinking and learning together. We are committed to learning to navigate the challenges that privilege some and oppress others by fostering critical thinking, creativity, and a reflective approach to personal growth. We explore the qualities of a good thinker and learner and support students to question, create, and take action to impact. 

Throughout our class curriculum, we integrate units, discussions, and projects to push students to explore topics like social identity, biases and discrimination, historical oppressions, and systemic injustice. We build from big questions like “How are we to treat one another?” “What is a just society?” and "How does my social identity impact how I see the world, and how the world sees me?" Through extended analysis of such questions, students engage with meaningful reading, writing, listening, and discussion together. 

Promise #5:  We offer a range of educational support programs and extra-curricular opportunities.

IVA Middle School applies all legal non-discrimination standards in the administration of its educational policies, admission policies, financial aid, employment, and in all school programs and activities. Our school serves students with disabilities by providing a Free and Public Education through the least restrictive environment. We welcome all students including those with a 504 or an IEP. In our weekly small group Advisories students are given a place to check in and practice social-emotional skills and discuss big questions with a smaller more trusted group. Our Advisory program relies on parent and community members to provide a small group support of 8 students to 1 adult. Every employee of the school including teachers, our behavior support team, instructional team, and office staff invite students toward reflective thinking and empowerment through a variety of interventions and support and welcoming engagement. This includes leading clubs, athletics, small groups connections including affinity group opportunities to check in and connect. Our students create their own clubs, participate in athletics with LBUSD, and enjoy all the events we can create along with our PTO. 

IVA Middle School welcomes any incoming 6th, 7th, and 8th grade students to apply. We believe in an equitable learning opportunity for all students. We distinctly aim at meaningful growth in intellectual character for our community.