June 17, 2020

To All Members of our Academy Community,

Last Thursday was the first large gathering at school since early March, and it couldn't have been more fitting to have the reason be a community outpouring to Stand Together Against Racism. It was a powerful evening where voices and stories from members of our community filled our stadium. For those of you who were unable to attend, I urge you to watch this video featuring students Alaina West, Vaughn Armour, Tsega Seleshi, Zora Brown and Olivia Pierre-Louis, alumni Dalyn DeCree '19 and Morgan Harper '01, parent Dee Moultrie and faculty members Dr. Pascal Losambe, Shekyra DeCree, Dr. Beckett Broh and Shaka Arnold.

 
In response to our evening on campus, Curtis Jewell '97 and Mahon Brown '97 hosted a virtual gathering for Black alumni to share their thoughts and experiences on Sunday evening. These alumni reconnected and met each other while also providing collective thoughts to guide our school community as we move forward. If you would like more information on Black alumni gatherings or how to be involved with current students, please reply back to this message, email me or contact Director of Alumni Relations Melissa Clarke Beckett .

As beneficial as Thursday evening was, it represents just a small step forward as our work continues in order to ensure the experiences of all children and families match our core values of respect, responsibility, honesty, compassion, fairness, moral courage and integrity as well as our Statement on Diversity and Inclusion .

Since then, we have been in the process of gathering students and planning for next steps throughout the remainder of this summer. These student leaders recently met with Dr. Losambe and Dr. Broh to plan a community forum that will focus on understanding students' experiences with racism. We will rely heavily on the students' voices to guide further efforts.
 
We will follow this student forum with a series of gatherings to engage our entire community in real conversations about race near the end of the summer. Expect to see further communications from us on this in the coming months.

We are committed to being responsive to our community and will integrate the examination of our practices and curriculum into the ongoing Strategic Vision Goal 2 work that we'll be undertaking with our faculty throughout this upcoming year. We hope this initiative will open up pathways for dialogue that can become meaningful conversations within our entire school.

For the first time ever, we are asking our faculty and staff to stay connected and engaged with the school throughout the summer in order to participate in professional development training that will assist them in understanding and being sensitive to everyday issues involving racism as well as familiarize them with campus safety precautions related to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Later this week, our Justice in June community groups will meet for the first of their "learning and action" sessions. This opportunity to get involved was introduced by Dr. Broh in her June 6 letter . If you are interested in this opportunity and have not yet signed up, please click here to receive more information about participating in the group.

Most importantly, we want to hear about your experiences at our school. We thank those who have already shared their stories. In order for us to fully comprehend the situations that need to be addressed and initiate action that will improve opportunities for all, we need you to be a part of the dialogue... and not just this summer but any time in the future when injustices arise. This is an effort that must be sustained and will take much time and perseverance by all of us.

The work ahead to improve our school, our campus and our community cannot be done alone. Please join us in ensuring that Academy is welcoming for all of our students and families.

Sincerely,

Head of School