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As we conclude the first quarter of the calendar year and in the spirit of ongoing transparency, we wanted to provide another update on the latest Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) work on the VIPKid platform. Creating a more equitable community and platform experience is an ongoing process, and we want to remain accountable by sharing the steps teams are taking across the organization.
If you’re new to the VIPKid community, welcome! You can read our previous D&I update emails and blog posts here. You can also visit our D&I website to learn more about our commitment to this very important work.
With this spirit of compassion and community, please see below for updates on the latest D&I work and opportunities to participate in this area:
Support for the Asian and Pacific Islander Communities
To start, we want to address the escalating violence targeting Asian and Pacific Islander communities over the last year, and the horrific crime in Atlanta earlier this month. It is evident that the fight against racism, xenophobia, misogyny, and hate is far from over. Our hearts and our thoughts are with the Asian and Pacific Islander communities, and, as a VIPKid Community, we stand in solidarity against hate and violence towards our Asian and Pacific Islander community members.
As shared in our Weekly Teacher Update on March 23, our offices will be making donations to community organizations and attending bystander intervention workshops. If you are interested, we welcome you to attend the workshops hosted by the organization, Asian Americans Advancing Justice.
Black History Month Recap
In February, VIPKid celebrated Black History Month with teacher spotlights, events, and a speaker series.
Representation matters and we recognize the power that it has in our community. VIPKid is working to amplify the incredible diversity within the teacher community. During Black History Month, we launched a weekly story series to celebrate Black Educators. This will continue throughout the year. Our hope is that by highlighting diverse educators, we will collectively build a community that is inclusive, welcoming, and brave for all. As we move forward through the year, our goal is to continue sharing the stories of teachers from many different backgrounds, so we can continue to learn and grow together. Be on the lookout for these stories in the Weekly Teacher Update and on VIPKid social channels.
On February 16, over 100 Black teachers came together for a celebratory night of trivia and connection. Our goal for this event was to create celebrations that focused on building a more trusted and welcoming community for our Black teachers. Thank you to all of the attendees for making this event a success!
On February 25, Ilyasah Shabazz, award-winning author, educator, and producer, joined us for a powerful talk as a part of our Diversity Speaker Series. She covered her experiences growing up with her father, Malcolm X, her mother, Betty Shabazz, and their household of learning. She also discussed how self-love and appreciation lead to embracing and learning about others.
Diversity Council Applications
Teacher voices are critical to making VIPKid the best it can possibly be. We always look to teachers for feedback on how the company can improve and grow. When it comes to matters of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI), teachers on the platform have an array of perspectives and experiences that are pivotal in ensuring the creation of a safe and welcoming environment.
Previously, the Teacher Advisory Council included a Diversity and Inclusion Cohort. To increase its impact, we have transitioned this cohort into an entirely stand-alone council – The Teacher Diversity Council.
The main difference is that the Teacher Diversity Council will be open to any teacher on the platform without the requirements of the Builders Program. These changes will help ensure we hear from more teacher voices that may have been unable to apply due to the previous prerequisites.
The Diversity Council will focus on evaluating VIPKid practices, policies, and projects from a DEI perspective, with the goal of advancing DEI at VIPKid.
Applications for this new council will open in April. Please stay tuned for more information through the Weekly Update for more specific timing.
Teacher Diversity Video Project
Over the past few months, the VIPKid team has been working with DEI consultants, teachers, and parents to create a video that showcases the diversity of the teachers on our platform. This video will live within the Student Portal and will be shared with new and current students and their families.
The teacher community has voiced concerns about experiencing racist or discriminatory behavior in the classroom. Although we recognize that this video does not directly address these harmful experiences, it is our hope that this video will act as a source of education for parents and students and provide an accurate representation of the community. We hope that parents and students alike can benefit from this video and see the value in learning from teachers with diverse backgrounds.
We plan on sharing this video with the teacher community in the coming months. This video project is connected to several ongoing projects to address racist or discriminatory behavior in the classroom. Stay tuned for more information about these ongoing projects.
New Marketing and Communications Guidelines
Our Marketing, Brand, and Communications teams have worked to develop Diversity and Inclusion Guidelines. Moving forward, teachers will see more inclusive images and language in our social media posts and in our communications to the community.
VIPKid is grateful to the proactive community of teachers on the platform and the Teacher Advisory Council who have flagged previous content and shared feedback about experiences and shortcomings that have persisted in our previous communications.
We recognize the importance of being inclusive of the entire teacher community. Inclusion and representation is a key part of creating equitable opportunities. These guidelines will help improve representation, promote diversity, and demonstrate inclusion in our marketing and communications.
As part of our commitment to this ongoing work, one of the action steps we are taking is revisiting curriculum and content to ensure historical events, characters, images, and language in the lessons are inclusive for all who experience them.
Teachers have been sharing feedback about existing lessons, as well as their experience teaching on the VIPKid platform. Thanks to these suggestions, we made changes to our curriculum to better reflect our principles. You can learn more about some of these changes through this blog post from February 2021: Working Towards a More Inclusive Curriculum
Let Us Know How We Can Best Support Teachers in the Community
These highlights are a small piece of our ongoing commitment to building a more diverse and inclusive community. In the upcoming months, our teams are working to better create and define policies to address racism and discrimination in the classroom, announcing the next speaker in our Diversity Speaker Series, and continuing to examine ways we can improve the experience of our entire community.
To share your ideas, send in a ticket to the Teacher Voice team and select the “Diversity and Inclusion” dropdown. We’re grateful for your feedback on this topic that is a priority for our community.