👩🏽‍🏫 Diverse Classrooms – Diversity and Inclusion

Cultural and neuro diversity is the new normal in classrooms today. Surprising stats about classrooms today in Alberta

#diversity #equity #inclusion #antiracism

There are two different types of diversity that I want to speak about in our classrooms. The first is cultural diversity in a classroom of 30 students we should expect 10 that are English language learners meaning that they have difficulty learning in the English language.

The second is neurological diversity: in a classroom of 30 students you should expect 3 students with mild, moderate, gifted special educational needs. 2 students with severe special educational needs. 1 student with multiple diagnosed special educational needs.

Teacher training is very important to handle the cultural and neurological diversity that is the norm in our classrooms today.

Diversity is the norm in Calgary’s classrooms. On average, a Calgary Catholic classroom of 30 students can expect

  • 10 students who are coded as English Language Learners (ELL) meaning they are unable to communicate fluently or learn effectively in English
  • 3 students coded as having mild, moderate, or gifted special educational needs.
  • 1-2 students that is coded as having severe special educational needs
  • 0-1 students that is coded as having multiple special educational needs.

This diversity now also needs to also consider the impact of the pandemic. A spring 2021 McKinsey report on 1.6 million elementary students in North America found that 2021 student scores fell compared to the historical averages.

  • 10% lower or 5 months behind in math
  • 9% lower or 4 months behind in reading

This gap was even larger for students of color and those in low income households.

  • 1 additional month in math and reading behind for black and hispanic students
  • 2 additional months behind for families with average household income of less than $25K

The data also showed that these gaps were widening: majority black schools were on average 3 months behind when school started in September 2020 and by the end of the school year they were 6 months behind in May 2021. So the gap had doubled. The kids are going to give up if we don’t do something now. The McKinsey report warned that kids are going to give up if we don’t do something now.

A 2020 survey of 16K parents reported a 5% increase in students diagnosed with anxiety and a 6% increase in students diagnosed with depression despite doing less tests than 2019. It also found that the number of absences increased on average by 2-5%.


  1. Alberta Student Population Statistics https://www.alberta.ca/student-population-statistics.aspx
  2. 30% of students in CSSD are ELL https://webdocs.cssd.ab.ca/AboutUs/ReportsandPublications/Documents/CCSD_Annual_Report_2020.pdf
  3. Definition of ELL https://www.edglossary.org/english-language-learner/
  4. McKinsey Spring 2021 study https://www.mckinsey.com/industries/public-and-social-sector/our-insights/covid-19-and-education-the-lingering-effects-of-unfinished-learning
  5. Racism and the Administration of Justice https://www.hrw.org/legacy/campaigns/race/criminal_justice.htm
  6. What is Critical Race Theory https://www.edweek.org/leadership/what-is-critical-race-theory-and-why-is-it-under-attack/2021/05
  7. Disrupting Implicit Racial Bias https://sites.ed.gov/whieeaa/files/2016/10/Disrupting-Implicit-Bias-FINAL.pdf
  8. Culturally Sensitive Counselor Questions https://counseling.online.wfu.edu/blog/10-diversity-questions-counselors-ask/