Thank you to everyone in the community who shared their perspective over the past days and weeks. We are grateful for your courage, honesty, passion, and wisdom and for investing the time, effort, emotion, and energy to lend your voice. While Shipley is a diverse community reflecting a multitude of needs and concerns, this historic moment demands we focus on long-standing and persistent societal racism and racial injustice. We must make swift and lasting change at Shipley.
The School opened June with a note reflecting the beginning of a movement and followed with an invitation to engage. You responded. Alumni, students, families, colleagues, and members from across the community sent individual notes and group letters, made solo phone calls, and joined collective forums. We heard individual and collective pain. We now close the month by stating clearly that we have listened, and we will act.
Racism has no place at Shipley.
On behalf of the School, we apologize to anyone who has experienced racism at Shipley.
Now is the time for action.
The persistence of racism is unacceptable at Shipley, and its elimination demands urgent, significant action. The events over the last month intensify the need for a measurable Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Plan that includes the broad feedback we have heard over the last month. This summer, the community will be invited to review and offer feedback specific to the Plan, with formal adoption of the Plan taking place this fall. The Plan reflects the following key beliefs and will include metrics to hold us accountable.
A diverse community of students, colleagues, families, and trustees is necessary for Black members of our community, and for the entire community.
- The School will expand outreach efforts, assess recruitment/hiring data, implement annual anti-bias training for all hiring managers, and continue support to retain Black colleagues.
- The Board will continue to implement trustee recruitment practices that ensure the Board of Trustees reflects the dynamic and diverse population of our community and world.
Ensuring equitable experiences in a diverse community requires intentional effort.
- To provide opportunities for all community members to express themselves in safe and constructive ways, the School will increase programming for affinity organizations and spaces for students, colleagues, and families. These organizations will be available in all three divisions.
- To (re)establish relationships with alumni from underrepresented backgrounds, the School will strengthen the Alumni Diversity and Inclusion Committee by attracting additional members. The School will also create alumni affinity groups, including a Black Alumni Association.
- To support Black students, the School will provide opportunities for alumni to connect with current students via mentorship, networking, and relationship building.
Ignorance promotes blindness, which perpetuates institutional racism; education promotes understanding.
- The School will offer a diverse and inclusive curriculum with intentional focus on cultural fluency to ensure all students acquire the knowledge and skills necessary to thrive in a complex global community.
- The School will develop a timeline and process, including professional development, for teaching colleagues to analyze the current curriculum through a culturally competent lens.
- The scheduled review of the PreK-12 SEED (Social, Emotional, and Ethical Development) curriculum will include dedicated scope and sequence for identity building and cultural competency, including the impact and consequences of harmful language and behavior.
- The School will increase the frequency of required professional development focused on cultural competency, responsiveness, and anti-racism for all teachers, staff, and administrators.
- The Board of Trustees will engage in annual diversity, equity, and inclusion training.
Engagement, transparency, and accountability develop trust in the School and further our Mission.
- The School will revise its handbooks regarding incident reporting and discipline towards racist language and actions to ensure safe, clear, consistent, fair, and equitable policies for students, colleagues, and families.
- The School will build evaluation metrics for teaching colleagues regarding diversity, equity, and inclusion.
- The School will conduct a campus climate assessment to measure the collective well-being and institutional opinions of diversity, equity, and inclusion.
- The Board of Trustees has established a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Task Force to help ensure institutional programs progress toward goals related to diversity, equity, and inclusion.
Part of the School’s commitment to continue to listen includes an opportunity for community members to review and provide input regarding the Plan. It is worth repeating that the engagement of students, families, colleagues, alumni, and friends is essential to Shipley’s success. Please look for these opportunities to be announced later this summer.
The work of striving for understanding and justice belongs to all of us. Thus, the School remains committed to providing educational resources for our community. We are grateful to those who have reached out recently with suggestions to add to the School’s list of resources.
In closing, we again wish to express our appreciation to all members of our community for your engagement during this extraordinary time for Shipley and our broader society. We will work to honor it with an ongoing commitment to our shared mission.
Michael Turner, Head of School
Brandon Jacobs, Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
Brooksley Wylie, Chair, Board of Trustees
Gordon Cooney, Co-Chair, Board of Trustees Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Task Force
Denise Powell, Co-Chair, Board of Trustees Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Task Force
Neal Regino ’03, Alumni Council President