Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Authorship at Alcove


INCLUSION

We don't really choose the membership at Alcove. The members choose us. And once you join our community, you belong to it. You're automatically included and invited to participate in anything we have to offer. Of course, everything is optional. But you're just as much a part of Alcove as any other member. Regardless of how long you've been with us, or how old you are, or how many a days a week you choose to come. When members feel excluded, we engage the community to help figure out how to make sure everyone knows they have a seat at the table. We want everyone to be seen and heard. Especially when it comes to differences that stem from race, ethnicity, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, socioeconomic status, ability, or neurology...


DIVERSITY

Having a plurality of perspectives and life experiences represented among the membership (and staff) at Alcove is essential to the quality of education we can provide. Our flagship philosophy class, for example, falls flat if everyone comes to it with the same set of values, biases, and blindsides. We don't fetishize difference at Alcove, and we're wary of diversity for diversity's sake. But we do cherish the rich variety of our collective experience, and always look to leverage it for the sake of learning: from each other, and with each other. As a staff, we're also keenly aware that education is inevitably political, and that an organization like ours can't be neutral in the struggle for social justice. If there are structural obstacles preventing self-directed learning from being a real possibility for families of color, for example, then we have to understand and address those obstacles...


EQUITY

No two people are plugging into Alcove from exactly the same set of background conditions. Some of us live further away than others. Our family structures differ widely. Not everyone has a Nintendo or a laptop or a TV. Some of us experience the privileges of being seen in the world as White, while some of us don't know what that feels like. Many of us have to deal with pretty specific mental health issues that other people may have no frame of reference for. So, because of our diversity, in order for everyone to be equally included, the Alcove staff have some work to do behind the scenes to meet individual members and families where they are. You can read more about that effort under "accommodations" on our How It Works page...


AUTHORSHIP

But equity, diversity, and inclusion aren't possible unless everyone at Alcove is on board to promote those values, and team up to make our community function well for everyone. Alcove isn't a commodity to be consumed in exchange for tuition. It's a community you literally get to create together as we go. Take ownership of Alcove. Or better yet: take authorship. Michelle, Alexi, and Noe set out to establish a bare-bones structure in which young people could design their own educations, and lives. But life and learning are multiplayer games. One of the most valuable things Alcove has to offer is the opportunity to learn to live together with other people, whom inevitably won't be just like you. We think the solution to pretty much every problem is more empathy, better understanding. Join us, and let's write our future together...