May 11 Community Update:
Topics covered in this update:
1. Commitment to our Students
• Anti-Racism Curriculum
• SEAL (Social Emotional Awareness and Learning) Program
2. Commitment to our Faculty
• Culturally Responsive Teaching and the Brain by Zaretta Hammond
• Learning for Justice
3. Commitment to our Parents and Community Members
• Elevating Voices
• DEI Curriculum Night — Thursday, May 13, 7-8 p.m.
4. Leadership and Accountability
• Bias Incident Response Protocol
• Restorative Justice Practice Training
Park’s Anti-Racism Action Plan
At The Park School of Baltimore, the work of anti-racism, and our larger goals around diversity, equity, and inclusion, are the responsibility of every member of the community; the benefits of that work are a brighter future for each individual, a thriving community, and an enriched society. As students, families, and employees live and learn together at Park School, we all must engage in these efforts — and we must recognize that these efforts are lifelong commitments. We have a duty to prepare our students for the world that we hope for, as well as for the one in which we currently live. A significant part of that preparation must include confronting the legacy of oppression that many in our society, in particular those who are BIPOC — Black, Indigenous, People of Color — continue to face. The principles on which Park School was founded must continue to guide us even as we are challenged to live and practice them more fully by each successive generation. Our mission, objectives, and philosophy provide us with a structure within which we can enrich and transform each other’s lives — we must do so equitably, inclusively, and without bias.
The following ideas and approaches have been shaped by student voices, alumni, parents, employees, and the broader Park community; our work will be critically assessed and consistently updated. Through the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) the community will be engaged, updated, and informed regarding existing priorities and progress.
The late John Lewis wrote, “...each generation must do its part to help build what we called the Beloved Community, a nation and world society at peace with itself.” Such peace can only be achieved and sustained when our community embraces the work it must do to combat racism and to recognize and affirm the dignity, work, and self-worth of every individual.
- Must be embraced, understood, and practiced by all community members.
- Recognizes the pervasiveness of racism and requires intentional sustained effort at the individual and community level to address and eradicate.
- Embodies the progressive education values of individual and collective responsibility through the lens of anti-racism.
- Enriches all in our community and builds the capacity for all community members to live fuller, more authentic lives.
- Recognizes that anti-racism and anti-bias awareness, knowledge, and skills can be learned and developed.
- Encourages healthy identity development across all racial groups including white racial literacy and identity development.
- Embraces the difficult, often painful work of acknowledging past failures and current tensions, all in service to building our capacity for authentic, healthy community engagement.
- Requires a life-long commitment to personal and collective growth and progress.
Anti-Racism Work Requires a Commitment to our Students
In service to our students we will…
- Prioritize the auditing and mapping of Pre-K through Grade 12 anti-racism teaching
- Support ongoing and new programming to foster student racial identity development.
- Support and expand affinity spaces in all three divisions.
- Strengthen cross-divisional and cross-generational opportunities for BIPOC students to connect with one another and with adult members across and beyond the Park community.
- Expand the use of restorative justice practices as a framework to address conflict between and among students.
- Review and update student behavioral expectations, as included in divisional Student Handbooks, in order to reflect clear and explicit anti-racism and anti-bias codes of conduct.
- Publish protocols for students to report race and other bias-related incidents, to be implemented and tracked across all areas of school life in order to address issues and to identify patterns.
- Establish a regular schedule of meetings, to be framed as listening sessions, with BIPOC students and members of the Park administrative team to ensure student voices are fully heard.
- In the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, continue to review Park School distance learning and blended learning (remote/in-person) plans through the lens of race, equity, and inclusion.
- Address the need for trauma-informed social emotional learning practices, with a specific focus on racialized trauma.
Anti-RacisM Work Requires a Commitment to our Families
In service to our families we will…
- Create a family agreement whereby all enrolled families at Park will commit to actively engage in the school’s equity and inclusion work, including specific steps to build a strong anti-racist community.
- Support the continuity of anti-racism work at home and beyond Park, through the development and delivery of relevant resources and programming for all Park families.
- Build the capacity of our Parents’ Association Board members, in their role as community leaders and ambassadors, to engage the larger parent body in the school’s anti-racism efforts.
- Strengthen Parent Affinity Group offerings and initiatives, including opportunities to support BIPOC families in a predominantly white institution.
Anti-Racism Work Requires a Commitment to our Employees
In service to our employees we will…
- Provide consistent, ongoing, scaffolded anti-racism professional development and training for all employees, to include:
- Culturally responsive teaching training for all faculty — to equip faculty members with the tools needed to create authentic, thriving learning communities.
- Restorative justice training for all faculty and academic administrators — to ensure a consistent approach to addressing student conflict and student discipline that centers the work on building, maintaining, and repairing relationships among all members of a school community.
- White racial literacy training for white employees — to build capacity for greater ownership and responsibility for the work of creating an anti-racist school.
- Implicit bias training for all security personnel — to ensure personnel are a part of the school’s overall commitment to anti-racism and anti-bias awareness, to ensure they are more fully integrated into the life of the school, and to have the tools necessary to protect and serve all. We recognize the historic and present tensions that exist between BIPOC and police. We will proactively address community concerns regarding interactions between Park security personnel and BIPOC community members.
- Review, discuss, and recommit to the Park School Statement on DEI, the school’s Strategic Plan, and other foundational materials, with all employees on an annual basis.
- Continue to provide and strengthen institutional support for the Employees of Color Council and affinity spaces.
- Continue to prioritize funding and resources to support opportunities for BIPOC employees to gather, connect, and reflect on roles and responsibilities in a predominantly white school.
- Strengthen affinity spaces for white employees to engage in anti-racism work and support one another in taking ownership and responsibility for their role in creating an anti-racist school.
Anti-Racism Work Requires a Commitment to our Community
In service to our community we will...
- Create further opportunities for our community members to share personal experiences, to support one another, and to help shape the school’s future work.
- Continue to engage outside resources and experts to inform our work and facilitate communication and education in the larger community.
- Provide annual professional development and training for all members of the Park School Board of Trustees organized by the Board’s Sub-Committee on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.
- Review, assess, and strengthen recruitment and retention efforts geared towards students, families, employees, and volunteers to provide for a fuller representation of BIPOC in the Park community.
- Create an internal Anti-Racism Coordinating Council, comprised of faculty, staff, and administrators to review components of the plan and provide quarterly updates of division and department-specific initiatives in order to ensure accountability and progress.
- Recognize the commitment and expertise within the Park alumni community and support efforts to connect Park BIPOC alumni with one another and with current students.
- Create an Anti-Racism Advisory Board, comprised of students, faculty, parents, and alumni, who will meet quarterly with the Head of School to share assessments of progress on this plan.
Leadership and Accountability
We recognize that data, both quantitative and qualitative, matters. It uncovers hidden truths and holds us accountable to our principles and to one another. As leaders of the school, we will coordinate and expand current efforts to collect and analyze key metrics. Whether around representation, discipline, course placement, or other areas of student and community life, we must ensure that our actions create lasting change.
We understand that any list of priorities addressing the work of anti-racism may fall short and exclude important interests and factors; however, we ask all community members to recognize their individual role in this collective responsibility, and to support this plan in its current and future iterations.
Members of the senior academic leadership team, identified below, understand their role and are committed to the work ahead. They are available to you as resources in this essential effort.