Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion Updates

As we settle into our roles as Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Co-Directors we want to share what we have been working on over the past several months. A central aspect of our roles is to support and sustain an equitable, inclusive culture for all members of our School Family.  We have taken the lead on fulfilling the recommendations from the 2020 Listening Circles Report. On the top of the list of priorities was to define the terms, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DE&I) for our community. 

Creating common language and practices is an important aspect of equity and inclusion. We have to define and name our values and actions, explicitly, in order for people to feel like they can learn, participate, and belong. The fancy name for this could be situated learning- when folks who have participated in a community for a long time teach the newcomers the ways of the community, as if they were apprentices, and help them to become experts on their own. Over the course of nine hour-long sessions we met with faculty and staff to take account of what we do to support students and each other, our culture, our values. We collaboratively worked to  define DE&I.  Over 100 employees participated in this process (many of them also parents to students at our school!) and after a lot of wordsmithing, talking, and thinking, everyone agreed on these definitions.

We are also finalizing our community agreements, or statements on how we will work, learn, and collaborate together.  We will offer these as agreements for our entire school family.  Looking to next year we hope to have workshops for parents and caregivers to understand our definitions and community agreements and to strengthen our skills around communicating authentically and engaging in conflict (did you know collaboration is a conflict style!?). 

In addition to documenting these values, we have been working on several other collaborative projects including crafting frameworks for interrupting bias, holding DE&I learning circles for staff, supporting community events and the PTCA governing board, and planning for next year. Our goal for next year focuses on community building. Guided by the definitions and community agreements we aim to create a strong foundation for our School Family by providing learning opportunities for staff, parents and caregivers, and strengthening structures and processes for doing so.

Change is one of the many important parts of an innovative school community.  We will push forward in building a collaborative and inclusive school culture. In the meantime, if you want to share your thoughts or ideas with us, please reach out. We would love to hear from you!


Cassie Leymarie

Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion Co-Director


Humaira Afzal

Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion Co-Director