Building School Culture Through the Lens of Equity, Anti-Bias and Anti-Racism
Two months into our new school year, we are well underway in intentionally making Yale a more equitable, culturally inclusive, and responsive school through the lens of equity, anti-bias, and anti-racism. As we listen to our students, one thing that they keep telling us is that they value positive relationships with Yale staff. Our students want to belong to a school community where staff know their students, and where every person’s individuality is acknowledged and respected. Our goal this year is to improve school culture, and we will know this is happening when every student and every staff member feels that they belong to the Yale community.
How are we going to get there? This year we have established an Equity Group, which has begun as a group of interested staff leading this charge. Our driving question as we embark on this journey is, “How can we humbly and meaningfully engage in anti-racism and anti-bias work at Yale while sharing our learning with one another? We began this journey acknowledging that this is important work, will be uncomfortable at times, and that we will make mistakes along the way. This is okay, as we recognize that doing nothing perpetuates the harm that has always existed.
A starting point for each adult in the building is to be intentional in getting to know their students. As we do this, we build relationships with our students. We begin to learn about each person’s unfolding story regarding what brings joy to their life as well as mental health and equity issues. As we learn more about others, we also learn more about ourselves and become more aware of the impact that our own biases have on our school community.
After surveying a few traditionally marginalized student groups, it has provided us with some helpful “map” data from which we began our work. Our next steps are to invite students to become members of our group to dive deeper into “street” data that we will collect from our students. From there, we will begin discussing these concerns and developing schoolwide strategies at ILT meetings, department meetings and staff meetings. We look forward to this task and challenge before us as we reimagine a more equitable and inclusive school.
ROB SLOBODA, PRINCIPAL