WASHINGTON ACADEMY HEAD OF SCHOOL RELEASES PUBLIC STATEMENT ON EQUITY AUDIT AND ROADMAP TO AN EQUITABLE AND INCLUSIVE SCHOOL COMMUNITY
As you may be aware, Washington Academy has undertaken an initiative to identify and assess equity issues that may exist within its community. The school’s decision to undertake this process is consistent with its longstanding goal of providing both staff and students with a safe learning and working environment. Washington Academy is now able to publicly provide the result of this assessment.
This report was created by Lawrence Alexander, Director of Equity and Inclusion at Carney, Sandoe & Associates out of Dartmouth, MA. Mr. Alexander has extensive experience addressing issues of inequity in schools and workplaces, and conducted a thorough investigation of Washington Academy’s culture and policies over a six-month period. He has worked with the Washington Academy Board of Trustees, school leadership, employees and current students of the Academy in order to better understand how we can become a more inclusive, equitable, and welcoming school community. In the process of conducting an Equity Audit, a Community Belonging Survey was administered to every student, and eight focus group meetings with WA faculty and staff were conducted. Training with all employees on implicit bias and conversations with students about community and belonging were facilitated, again as part of the equity audit.
Prior to this work on the Equity Audit, the WA Board of Trustees had established a standing committee on Equity, Inclusion and Diversity (EID), and they began developing two value statements that would guide not only the Board of Trustees, but also the school as a whole in its work on EID. The first is a vision statement, the second, a committee purpose statement.
WA BOT Equity, Inclusion & Diversity Vision Statement
We, the Washington Academy Board of Trustees, value equity, inclusion and diversity. We support and celebrate a culture of equity, inclusion and diversity where all students, families and staff feel welcomed, valued, supported and a sense of belonging. We believe this culture starts with us, and we believe that Washington Academy has a responsibility to teach our WA community to be responsible global citizens.
WA BOT Equity, Inclusion & Diversity Committee Purpose
The Washington Academy Board of Trustees Equity, Inclusion & Diversity Committee ensures that issues of equity, inclusion. and diversity (EID) are prominent at the highest level of the school’s governance structure, the BOT. The committee works to build the board’s capacity, skills and understanding of EID upholds a system of accountability and commitment from board members, and provides oversight of the school’s policies, initiatives, and strategic goals related to equity, inclusion and diversity.
These two statements set the path for the creation of Washington Academy’s Roadmap to an Equitable and Inclusive School Community. You can read the full Roadmap on our website by clicking on the following link: ROADMAP
This Roadmap outlines where the Academy wants to be. How the school gets there will require planning and implementation of many action items that are supported by this overall guide. The Roadmap was adopted by the Board of Trustees on April 15, 2021 and is a result of the work of the Trustees’ EID Committee and school leadership. The Roadmap is supported by the recommendations of the Equity Audit report and the two documents together form the foundation on which Washington Academy is moving forward in this effort.
The areas of work will include, but are not limited to a focus on:
1. Professional education for faculty and staff related to cultural fluency.
2. A focus on equity-centered pedagogy and culturally responsive curricula.
3. Continued board education on best practices for operationalizing equity.
4. A focus on recruiting, hiring, and retaining a more diverse faculty and staff community.
5. A focus on diversifying the board of trustees.
Alexander concludes, “The Washington Academy community has been a willing and supportive partner throughout this process and while the work ahead is challenging and won't be accomplished overnight, I am confident that they will move the school in a direction that ensures inclusion, safety, and an authentic sense of belonging for all.”
As an educational institution, we stand committed to and support a culture of equity, inclusion and diversity where all students, families, staff and community feel welcomed, valued, and a sense of belonging. We are committed to the work that is and will be necessary to bring us to this place, and we welcome everyone to join us in bringing positive forward movement. You can read the full report on our website by clicking the following link: EQUITY AUDIT
-------Judson McBrine, WA Head of School