Families participating in our Moderated Tuition Program
Lunch available to all at no daily charge
Equity & Inclusion at Vistamar
Vistamar School was founded in 2005 on the principle that diversity of thought and culture encourages authentic exchange of perspectives, mutual respect, and a mature understanding of the world. These principles profoundly shape Vistamar’s multicultural curriculum, vibrant student co-curricular life, and lively family engagement and educational programming. We learn more in an environment where preconceived notions are continuously challenged by fellow students, faculty, staff, and families who come from different backgrounds. We practice authentic and ongoing commitment to promoting healthy social identity formation as well as the shared values that unite our community and allow us to develop greater empathy as a result.
Vistamar strives to serve as a leader among Los Angeles area independent schools. Our top priorities include supporting ongoing efforts to recruit and retain excellent teachers of color, design of inclusive co-curricular programming for all Vistamar students, and increasing our outreach and engagement with all Vistamar families.
What does Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion look like at Vistamar?
We start from a place of excellence. We celebrate our diverse identities with signature events.
Taste of Vistamar - A community-wide potluck and music event where we celebrate our connections, our heritage and our cultures through food. Families, faculty, and staff bring dishes that represent their heritage to contribute to the event. At communal tables, all members of the Vistamar community eat, listen to music, and bond.
Soulful Celebration - A celebration of Black history and culture that has become a beloved annual tradition for the entire Vistamar community. Students contribute individual projects to a live multi-media gallery highlighting Black history, arts, traditions and activism. Families, students, faculty and staff come together to share a meal, tour the galleries and experience a performance of student-written and shared poetry, stories, songs, and music.
Lunar New Year Celebration - United Asian Association organized and hosted a school-wide potluck for Lunar New Year this year. A wide range of Asian cultures were represented though the foods shared. This celebration for the community was a great opportunity to share Asian cultural experiences and unite our students.
We offer an array of programming including affinity groups, alliance groups and interest groups. SAAIG and student leaders attend a variety of conferences nationwide. Our SAAIG student leaders plan a day for the school to engage in dialogue around issues of equity, justice and belonging.
Self and Community Wellness In 9th Grade, each student will dedicate an exploratory towards engaging in conversation about identity and how a deep understanding of ourselves informs and has an impact on our perspectives of ourselves and others. We will explore themes of identity, self-esteem, healthy relationships, advocacy, injustices, self-care and how we see structures of power and privilege impact the world around us.
What is SAAIG? Over the last decade, Vistamar students have spearheaded efforts to found numerous student affinity, alliance, and interest groups (SAAIG). Through bi-weekly meetings, all students have the opportunity to explore different aspects of their identity and find community among like-minded peers.
SAAIG Mission and Purpose SAAIG Student Leaders define their common mission: “We strive to create BOTH safe and brave spaces where students can develop community and participate in something bigger than themselves.”
Examples of existing affinity, alliance and interest groups:
African American Mentoring Program (AAMP)
African American Association (AAA)
Latino Students Association
Gender and Sexual Alliance
United Asian Association
Mixed Kidz Club
Jewish Culture Club
Identity Day In 2018, Vistamar started the tradition of committing a school day to engage with one another in purposeful discussions of identity. Students, faculty, and staff take the time to experience student-facilitated discussions and activities exploring aspects of belonging and self in place of a regular day of classes.
Identity Day in 2022 gave us a chance to be together and consider our essential question for the year: what does it mean to belong? Through an extensive program of workshops and activities organized by the SAAIG leaders, we were able to take a day for education and to build greater connections among affinity groups, grade-level peers, and with the community in general.
Family and Alumni are important members in shaping our community.
Each year we host Family mixers for students and families to be in fellowship with other families of similar affinity. Some examples of Family Mixers we host include:
African American Family Mixer
Latino Family Mixer
Asian Family Mixer
Latino End of Year Picnic
Other Programming includes:
People of Color hot chocolate event - alumni of color return to Vistamar to reconnect with one another over hot cocoa and share their experiences with graduating seniors.
Club de Lectura - Spanish Book Club meets three times during the year and is led by Lupe Chacon and teachers Francisco Montilla and Lucia Linares. This is a fun and relaxing time for parents to discuss a book in Spanish, meet each other, and see some of the Spanish faculty in action. A number of current parents participate, plus we open the session to parents of alumni who enjoy continuing their relationship with Vistamar.
We believe that in order for deep learning to happen, all faculty and staff must cultivate inclusive education skills. As a result, Vistamar is committed to providing all staff and faculty members with ample opportunities for ongoing professional growth around the subjects of identity, equity, and inclusive teaching.
We provide annual professional development opportunities to faculty and staff including conferences, workshops and webinars. Examples include NAIS People of Color Conference, White Privilege Conference, Asian Educators Alliance Conference, Pollyanna Conference, and many In-house professional development sessions, among others.
We offer employee resource groups, including the Staffulty of Color Affinity Group and the Staffulty White Anti-Racist Alliance Group.
At the school’s founding, the Diversity and Access Committee (DAC) was established to guide Vistamar’s ongoing commitment to equity and inclusion. It is spearheaded by Board of Trustee members. DAC members include the Head of School, Assistant Head of School, Director of Equity and Inclusion and Latino Programs Coordinator as well as staff, faculty, SAAIG student leaders and former SDLC student participants. Notably DAC is, and has always been, the only board committee to involve student members, demonstrating DAC’s ongoing commitment to centering student voice and experience.
The Admissions Team and the Office of Equity and Inclusion work closely to attract a population of students that reflects the diversity of Los Angeles. Our students come from over 67 zip codes and 80 different sending schools, with nearly 49% of students identifying as students of color and approximately 33% on moderated tuition
We also partner with Community Based Organizations (CBOs) such as the Independent School Alliance (ISA), Young Eisner Scholars (YES), A Better Chance (ABC), and KIPP Public Charters to ensure that access is provided to families who may not otherwise be familiar with independent schools. Enrolling a group of students from a variety of backgrounds affords Vistamar students the opportunity to learn more about the world around them. We encourage spirited debate, contrasting points of view, and the celebration of differences. The rich intellectual engagement that students experience in our classrooms daily is enhanced by our diverse population.
To support families of color at our school, we also partner with The Private School Village (PSV). PSV builds community by providing programs, organizing events, and sharing resources for Black families in private schools.
Vistamar attracts and enrolls one of the most diverse student bodies in the greater Los Angeles area.
Get Free Hip Hop Civics Ed - is a multimedia Hip Hop civics curriculum for youth and young adults. GET FREE is inspired by the exuberance, ingenuity, political energy, resistance, love, and DIY model of underground Hip Hop. Its aim is to push and extend ideas of democracy, citizenship, freedom, community, civic engagement, and intersectional justice.
Table Talk Guide from ADL - specifically provides context and discussion questions related to George Floyd that can help you structure a conversation