Dignity Framework

  • Vision of Inclusion

    In Yelm Community Schools we will create an inclusive culture that fosters a sense of belonging for all persons by respecting the dignity of each.

    • Definition of Dignity: Dignity is our inherent value and worth as human beings. Everyone is born with it. Dignity is an internal state of peace that comes with the recognition and acceptance of the value and vulnerability of all living things.

    • Definition of Belonging: Feelings of appreciation, validation, acceptance, and fair treatment that result from being treated with dignity.

    Culture of Dignity 

    To create a culture of dignity and climate of belonging in our school district, the following standards guide our actions: 

    • Build partnerships and community
      • Understanding: listen to perspectives and empathize with people.
      • Safety: put people at ease, physically and psychologically.
      • Inclusion: welcome, issue invitations, share power, and co-create unity.

    • Repair harm and restore relationships
      • Acknowledgment: respond to concerns and harm; accept people’s perceptions as their reality/truth.
      • Accountability: apologize for causing harm; take responsibility for actions.
      • Fairness: treat people equitably and equally.

    • Affirm differences and uniqueness
      • Acceptance of identity: support expression of people’s authentic selves without judgment.
      • Recognition: validate people and acknowledge what people do - effort, thoughtfulness, etc.

    • Presume competence and positive intent
      • Independence: enable agency; express beliefs that people are capable.
      • Benefit of the Doubt: extend trust.


    Belonging Through a Culture of Dignity

    Yelm Community Schools has adopted the educational equity model outlined in the book, “Belonging Through a Culture of Dignity” by Floyd Cobb & John Krownapple (2019). In the book, the authors advance the idea that educational equity is based on the foundational elements of dignity and belonging. The book makes the concepts of dignity and belonging accessible to all and explains their importance in the implementation of educational equity initiatives. The district has established a multi-year partnership with the authors, to support school teams in implementing “Belonging Through a Culture of Dignity” districtwide.


    Authors’ Description of the Book 

    While efforts to achieve equity in education are prominent in school districts across this country, the effective implementation that results in meaningful change remains elusive.

    Even with access to compelling theories and approaches such as multicultural education, culturally responsive teaching, culturally relevant instruction, culturally sustaining pedagogy, schools still struggle to implement equitable change that reshapes the academic experiences of students marginalized by the prevailing history, culture, and traditions in public education. Instead of getting it right with equity implementation, many schools and districts remain trapped in a cycle of equity dysfunction.

    In "Belonging Through a Culture of Dignity," Cobb and Krownapple argue that the cause of these struggles are largely based on the failure of educators to consider the foundational elements upon which educational equity is based, belonging and dignity. Through this work, the authors make these concepts accessible and explain their importance in the implementation of educational equity initiatives. Though the importance of dignity and belonging might appear to be self-evident at first glance, it’s not until these concepts are truly unpacked, that educators realize the dire need for belonging through dignity.

    Once these fundamental human needs are understood, educators can gain clarity of the barriers to meaningful student relationships, especially across dimensions of difference such as race, class, and culture. Even the most relational and responsive educators need this clarity due to the normalization of what the authors refer to as dignity distortions.

    Cobb and Krownapple challenge that normalization and offer three concepts as keys to successful equity initiatives: inclusion, belonging, and dignity. Through their work, the authors aim to equip educators with the tools necessary to deliver the promise of democracy through schools by breaking the cycle of equity dysfunction once and for all.

    Belonging Surveys 

    To understand the degree to which our students, families, and staff feel appreciated, validated, accepted, and treated fairly, we administer surveys annually to determine what areas we need to strengthen. The surveys are administered in the fall and spring to measure progress.

Have Questions?

  • Office of Student Learning at 360.458.6120 or email Kula Pixler