Diversity, in the context of this initiative, refers to racial and ethnic backgrounds of individuals. While the term 'diversity' can encompass a variety of identity markers (e.g. gender, religion, sexual orientation, disability status, income status, nationality/citizenship), in Massachusetts a significant and persistent academic achievement gap exists between white students and students of color (specifically Latinx and African American students), and a representation gap exists between educators of color and students of color (specifically between Latinx, African American, and Asian educators and students). Therefore, while The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) values all types of diversity, in this context diversity refers to race and ethnicity. While Latinx and Hispanic can be considered cultural or linguistic categories rather than racial ones, for the purpose of this strategic plan, Latinx is used as a racial category. Unless otherwise stated, the terms "people of color" or "students of color" refers to Latinx, African American, Asian, American Indian, Native Hawaiian, Pacific Islander, or multiracial individuals.