Cultural diversity a feature at Cordova High School



Maxim Russu, Cordova High School

Cordova High School embraces the wealth of diversity and multiple perspectives in its student body, and administrators and teachers find ways both inside and outside the classroom to stress the importance of that diversity.

For CHS principal Jerad Hyden, diversity means a lot more than ethnicity or race, but a human-made framework that should reflect how we communicate with others.

“Diversity is not just about race or ethnicity. It is truly a social construct which drives the way we all interact, experience and engage one another, and ultimately perceive our community as a whole,” Hyden said. “Without diversity, and the drive to be inclusive in our thinking and efforts, we fail to fully support all learners … For this fact alone, diversity is mission-critical to schools.”

According to the school accountability report card in 2021-2022, CHS acquires a higher percentage of Hispanics and Blacks that attend the school compared to Folsom High School, hence, making CHS more diverse than FHS despite lower attendance percentage of people of Asian origin.

Cordova High School

Race and Ethnicity Percent that attend 
White 34.8%
Black/African American 10.7%
Asian 10%
Hispanic/Latino 35.0%


Folsom High School

Race and Ethnicity Percent that attend 
White 45%
Black/African American 2%
Asian 28%
Hispanic/Latino 15%


Meggie Schultz, an English Language Arts teacher who also teaches 11th grade English language development classes, said diversity is an essential part of creating a safe and positive environment at school.

“Sharing different perspectives and stepping outside your reality to understand the reality of others is a key piece of the human experience,” Schultz said. “It allows us to be empathetic and gives us opportunities to make connections to those around us.” 

Different perspectives and different cultures introduce students to new opportunities as they’re connected with different people around them. 

Schultz said that “by celebrating diversity in school, we are acknowledging that we have things to teach each other and that, oftentimes, our experiences have commonalities we may not see at first. … The colors of rainbows are a reminder of the beauty and diversity in the world, and in each other.”

“In my classroom, we celebrate diversity by looking at texts by a variety of authors from different cultures, races, and genders. We read about the experiences of others and connect them to our own lives,” Schultz added. “We look at texts that challenge our current thinking and push us to understand different perspectives, letting us grow in our understanding of how the world works.”

Studying about other cultures and different backgrounds also allows us to examine our biases and assumptions, Hyden said.

“In my doctoral research, what I have found is that a pure focus on content, that is the predetermined curriculum for a subject, is not nearly as important as the critical-thinking skills we gain by navigating student discourse, collaborative work, and by engaging in the learning with our peers,” Hyden said. “It is not a factor in learning but the factor in learning.”

Jonathan Tees, an English teacher at Cordova, said students with diverse backgrounds give a different perspective on what’s being taught.

“In my English classes, the variety of perspectives can present fresh insights into any text we read,” Tees said. “We learn to become more open-minded in the subjects studied because we will inevitably bump into the reality that our perspectives, though unique, are also limited.”

Tees said he thinks diversity is a must for schools.

“By subjecting ourselves to diversity, we come to learn the invisible mechanisms that make one behave, dress, communicate, etc. in the way that they do,” he said. “We are, therefore, not quick to judge and can rather develop empathy for others.”

To celebrate such others and diversity at Cordova, teachers always try to engage students in many activities including dances, parties and the most recent event, Spring Activities Day.

“Students got a chance to experience various cultures through food, dress, dance and associated activities which highlight the unique differences we share at a school as diverse as ours,” Hyden said of Spring Activities Day. “It was truly an amazing experience and one that other schools could emulate.”

Overall, learning about others is very helpful, Tees concluded, as it helps students keep an open mind and be more open to various opportunities.

“The world is a diverse place,” Tees said. “Success requires appreciation.”