Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI)

School Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Statement

At Hawthorne Valley School (HVS) we are committed to the ongoing work of creating a culture where diversity, equity, and inclusion thrive. We uphold the right of students, parents, faculty, and staff to be welcomed, to be valued, and to feel safe. We believe that the free expression of identity is essential for a healthy school community.

We also recognize our particular responsibility to create an inclusive equitable school culture with particular attention to race, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, class, and ability. We believe that each individual is responsible for working to create a more just world, and that those with greater privilege in their positions, identities, and experiences bear greater responsibility for that work.

By understanding this, we recognize the value of addressing the endemic nature of racism, oppression, and inequality within our history and culture. This commitment is supported by an anthroposophical understanding[1] of the spiritual nature of all life and the importance of consciously striving to hold all human beings with warm regard and respect.

At HVS, we seek to create just structures in which everyone has a meaningful voice in decisions that impact them. We are committed to addressing, through supportive and restorative approaches, any incidents of bias and discrimination that arise within our school.

School Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Goals and Actions

In service to the above intentions, and with the support of consultants, HVS has formed a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Group comprised of teachers, staff, and parents. We are working on the following three goals and associated actions:

Cultural Climate Cultivation
  1. We commit to creating an inclusive culture for all families with an emphasis on welcoming diversity in race, culture, gender, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, class, and ability. This goal includes supporting the integration of new families into our school community and maintaining meaningful relationships that support a healthy social life.

This work includes a commitment to seeking ways (e.g. using restorative practices and compassionate communication) to encourage a culture where it feels safe to report incidents and to ask questions, in which feedback, both positive and negative, is welcomed and received with a forward-looking approach.

Actions to be undertaken by the DEI Group during 2020-21:

  • Continue DEI Group training with Multicultural BRIDGE.
  • Plan development opportunities that foster within the faculty, student, and parent body a better understanding of the complexities of race, culture, gender, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, class, and ability.
  • Revisit topics already covered in previous training, including a focus on unconscious bias.
  • Reach out to existing families to better assess and improve our approach to creating an inclusive and just community.
  • Organize school events and festivals that encourage diverse artistic expression in visual arts, music, dance, storytelling, and puppetry.
  • Develop support systems that allow school staff, students, and parents to address issues and questions regarding diversity, inclusion, and well-being in the school community.
    • Use restorative circle work to foster a culture of compassion, clear communication, and security for all diverse expressions of identity.
    • Implement processes to appropriately address:

– Incidents of aggression, or micro-aggression, within the school community.

– Concerns regarding issues of diversity and equity from parents, faculty, and students.

– Questions that arise in support of student health and well-being.

Curriculum Enrichment
  1. We commit to reviewing and renewing our curriculum to address historical legacies of oppression and contemporary issues of race, culture, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, class, and ability.

Actions to be undertaken during 2020-22:

  • Introduce curricular offerings with more authentic opportunities for students to experience a broad range of cultural experiences.
  • Engage all faculty in collaborative review to honor the different histories and perspectives of all people and to strive to uphold strong social justice values.
  • Consider carefully how lesson content is presented both through teaching and support materials in the classroom, the library, and throughout the school.
  • Pay special attention to how material is introduced and represented at school-wide functions such as musical concerts, plays, and assemblies.
  • Undertake an audit of photos, pictures, quotes etc. currently posted on walls and notice boards in classrooms, hallways, and the library and recommending changes as appropriate to increase the diversity in themes and messages promoted in the school.
  • Build a collection of diversity, equity, and inclusion resources that are available at the school to support faculty, staff, parents, and students to enhance teaching and learning. These resources include books, movies, podcasts, and maintaining a list of potential local opportunities and events, etc.
Community Outreach and Financial Aid
  1. We commit to developing new financial aid and scholarship opportunities so that we can welcome parents and students from a diverse spectrum of humanity to our school community.

Actions to be undertaken during 2020 – 2023:

  • Work with the HVS and Hawthorne Valley Association (HVA) development team to explore ways to proactively increase diversity of race, culture, gender, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, class, and ability within the student body at HVS, specifically through the school’s tuition adjustment process, scholarship opportunities, and outreach.
  • Work with HVS leadership to evaluate hiring practices in order to build diversity in the faculty and staff.

RESOURCES

BOOKS

Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria by Beverly Daniel Tatum

The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin

Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates

The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander

So You Want to Talk About Race? by Ijeoma Oluo

What If All the Kids Are White? by Louise Derman-Sparks and Patricia Ramsey

My Grandmother’s Hands: Racialized Trauma and the Pathway to Mending Our Hearts and Bodies by Resmaa Menakem

Whistling Vivaldi by Claude Steele

Waking up White by Debby Irving

Raising White Kids by Jennifer Harvey

White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo

Me and White Supremacy: Combat Racism, Change the World, and Become a Good Ancestor by Layla Saad

Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America by Ibram X. Kendi

How to Be an Anti-Racist by Ibram X. Kendi

Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teachings of Plants by Robin Wall Kimmerer

MOVIES

Eyes on the Prize (documentary series)

The Hate U Give

13th

I Am Not Your Negro

Traces of the Trade

Selma

Do The Right Thing

The Long Walk Home

Hidden Figures

Robin DiAngelo and Resmaa Menakem did a workshop in May on “Covid-19 and racial embodiment” that was very powerful to watch. 

Geographies of Racial Capitalism with Ruth Wilson Gilmore

Race: The Power of an Illusion (3 parts, available to rent on vimeo, or watch a free 30 min excerpt on How the Racial Wealth Gap was Created)

PODCASTS

1619

Scene on Radio – Season 2 “Seeing White”

Speaking of Racism