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Living the Values of Diversity
CFIS Communications

Just one conversation with our former Head of School, Mme Margaret Dorrance, reveals the importance she places on creating an inclusive, internationally-minded environment for our students, faculty, and staff. Throughout our school, lesson plans are tailored to support this mindset, nurturing our students to become active leaders who will change the world for the better. Here, Mme Dorrance explains where this passion started and how it became a way of life at CFIS during her tenure from 2012 to 2022.

"When I was in Grade 11 (which, for those who are wondering, was several decades ago!), I took three courses that profoundly impacted me and left lasting impressions. I learned about world religions, studied apartheid in South Africa, and was introduced to the horrors of World War II and the Holocaust. These subjects, combined with my love for French, Spanish, and Latin, heavily influenced my decision to become a teacher. They opened my eyes to the vast world beyond my limited experience in small parts of Canada and the United Kingdom.

Since then, I’ve been fortunate to incorporate the teachings of what was known as 'Tolerance and Understanding' in the 1980s, later 'Multiculturalism' in the 1990s and 2000s, at the Alberta Education level, the Calgary Board of Education level, and as a leader in two independent schools. Visiting the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis, Tennessee, and speaking with Martin Luther King III at a Calgary We Day, were two unforgettable highlights of my work on this topic.

The way educators teach children about what is now known as Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion continues to evolve. Educators, including myself, are continually learning how to best address and teach this subject. At CFIS, our foundational programming started with UNESCO and has recently incorporated Round Square and International Baccalaureate values. These programs help our students understand and live the values of diversity from a young age. They align with and enhance our school’s emphasis on mutual respect, cultural diversity, international perspectives, curiosity about the world, and ethical, responsible citizenship.

I believe that all members of our community understand that CFIS is a place where all religions, colors, orientations, and gender expressions are acknowledged and accepted. We must continuously reinforce the importance of cultural peace and understanding. I recall a recent statement by a former CFIS parent in response to what he valued most about the school. He said,

“CFIS is an incredibly inclusive community that does not differentiate between cultures and religions. The school has actively celebrated religious and social events from various cultures during the four years my children attended the school.”

This filled my heart with joy, as it is exactly what I hope to hear from both current and former parents and students about our school.

The topics of diversity, equity, and inclusion will forever evolve, providing us with ample opportunities to learn and grow. With an open mind and heart, we welcome and move forward towards a more inclusive future at CFIS.

To learn more about the learning environment at CFIS, contact our Admissions team at