Diversity makes our story great

September 5, 2019

The evidence is clear—diverse and inclusive work environments result in more effective and creative teams across industries. If companies can effectively highlight and harness differences in perspectives, they can cultivate positive work environments that improve their bottom lines.  This is true for both for profit and nonprofit organizations.

Diversity is important in how educational organizations operate, especially in the classroom.  Research shows that a diverse teaching force leads to higher standardized test scores, better student attendance, fewer school suspensions, and enhanced social and emotional wellbeing.

At Saga, we believe that it is crucial that our team reflects the student populations we serve. The closer we get to creating a space for diversity to thrive in our organization, the more value we will be able to provide to the social sector, and the more impact we will be able to have on the communities we serve. This is not only a priority at Saga, but for each school district we support (Chicago, New York City and Washington D.C.).

We are extremely proud of our incredibly talented and diverse cohort of Saga Fellows and leadership staff this year—not only by race and ethnicity but gender, age, and experience.  Although Saga Education does not have the same level of brand equity as other larger service-based organizations, a diverse talent pipeline of people are selecting us, which shows that we are on the right track.

This was one of our most competitive years at Saga in wake of our new partnership with the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), with a 10% acceptance rate for our available AmeriCorps spots for the 2019-2020 school year. Over 39% of our AmeriCorps members self-identify as Black or Hispanic/Latinx, whereas nationally, only 20% of teachers identify as Black or Hispanic/LatinX. This is important given that the majority of the students in the schools we serve– 90% or more– also self-identify as such.

 Diversity is the essence of who we are– our thoughts, values, gender, age, ethnicity and experiences. While a diverse team is a beginning, it is not the end. We must focus on inclusion as well so that we create an environment where diverse people are accepted, welcomed, valued and appreciated.  We must continue to strengthen how we incorporate culturally relevant practices in our curriculum, training, and instruction. We will aim to continuously push one another’s thinking, challenge long-held beliefs and assumptions, and leverage our diversity to refine our approach to increase our impact and to have a profound social impact in the communities we serve.