The leadership team at De La Salle North Catholic High School includes Ashleigh de Villiers, James Broadous, Ruth Richard, Tim Joy, Zulema Naegele, Aiyana Ashley, Ni’Cole Sims and Sarah Maher. Not pictured is the school’s new president, Oscar Leong. (Courtesy De La Salle North Catholic)
The leadership team at De La Salle North Catholic High School includes Ashleigh de Villiers, James Broadous, Ruth Richard, Tim Joy, Zulema Naegele, Aiyana Ashley, Ni’Cole Sims and Sarah Maher. Not pictured is the school’s new president, Oscar Leong. (Courtesy De La Salle North Catholic)

De La Salle North Catholic is the most racially diverse private high school in Oregon, according to Niche, an education analytics researcher. The De La Salle student body comprises a racial and cultural mix of capable yet underserved students. The school is 40 percent Latino, 35 percent African-American, 13 percent Caucasian, 9 percent multiracial and 3 percent Asian/Pacific Islander. 

“We consider our diversity a communal asset,” said school administrators in a press release. “Our schoolwide commitment to our racial and equity statement starts by acknowledging the social teachings of the Catholic Church, especially those around the life and dignity of the human person. The “dignity of the human person is the foundation of a moral vision for society,” according the U.S. bishops’ document on faithful citizenship. The school also focuses on solidarity, “the idea that we belong to one human family, that our being human establishes our God-given dignity,” said school leaders. “For these reasons, we strive toward equitable opportunities and outcomes for each of our students through frequent adult and student conversations about race and culture.”

The faculty and staff at De La Salle participate in professional development that results in creating “an accepting and inclusive culture at De La Salle North Catholic,” read the press release.

Each staff member has composed personal equity statements that are posted in classrooms and offices for all to read. Last year this inspired student council members also to write personal equity statements, which they shared with the student body during one of the school assemblies. This year, the curricular focus will be on multicultural content and pedagogy that examines experiences of race and culture.

School leaders added that De La Salle’s “forthrightness in confronting unconscious biases and examining institutional practices that create obstacles for some students has led to many of our students being prominent voices for change here in Portland, being equity leaders on college campuses across the United States, and young civic leaders in their young professional lives.”