OCTOBER 21, 2019
Dear SWS Parents,

In our five-year Strategic Plan drafted in 2016, the SWS Board made a commitment to "review and reflect upon our school programs to ensure we live the values of Seattle Waldorf School and prepare our students to meet the modern world with initiative, creativity, and compassion. We will engage the school community at large in dialogue about diversity and develop a program to foster an inclusive and healthy learning environment."

In the past two years we have made significant strides in advancing this dialogue and deepening our understanding of what it takes to foster a learning environment and community that is diverse, inclusive, and equitable. This work is not easy or quick, and is ongoing in all areas of the school -- hiring, admissions, curriculum development, festival life, Board membership, student activities, and more. Many in our community are taking active roles in supporting these efforts, through participation in the Parent Equity Committee, the Faculty Equity Committee, the High School Social Justice Club, and Equity Advisory Group. Others are engaging by organizing and attending Community Circles and our DEI Speaker Events. Faculty and staff are attending various workshops, including the recent Northwest Teaching for Social Justice Conference. At its meeting last week, the Board had a training session with Racial Equity Consultants, who has been guiding the school's work in this area for the past year.

In support of our strategic goal, all faculty, staff, and trustees will spend Tuesday, January 21 in a day-long in-service training with Fran Partridge and Tanisha Brandon-Felder (Racial Equity Consultants). This training will focus on deepening our shared awareness, knowledge, language, and skills in working with issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion. The Board is committed to integrating the work of the DEI committees into ongoing strategic and financial planning for SWS.

This in-service training day will mean that there will be no school for students on January 21, 2020. (Link to updated SWS 2019-2020 Yearly Planner.) We recognize that taking an additional day out of the classroom has an impact on our families, and we will offer break care -- information will be available soon.

We would like to share the DEI statement of commitment drafted by the Equity Advisory Group that is guiding our efforts: "At Seattle Waldorf School we are committed to creating a community that is inclusive for all faculty, staff, families, and students, especially those who have been impacted by racism and oppression, and to create a culture that supports racial equity by changing our existing systems and practices."

Thank you for your support and engagement in this important and meaningful work.

Tracy Bennett
Head of School
Curt Eckman
Board President
We would also like to remind you of some upcoming DEI opportunities.


Thursday, October 24   |  7:00 - 8:30 p.m.
Hazel Hall, Seattle Waldorf High School

Come and hear Dr. Pamela Taylor lead a discussion using the framework of the film, Cracking the Codes: The System of Racial Inequity. This event is open to the public and is appropriate for ages 14 and up.   Link to flyer.


January 21, February 4, March 10, April 28, and May 11   |   6:00 - 9:00 p.m.
Hazel Hall, Seattle Waldorf High School

Dr. Pamela Taylor will lead a series of Racial Healing Circles that are co-hosted by the SWS Parent Association, and are open for registration at Brown Paper Tickets. Follow this link to register.


Tuesday, November 12  |   6:30 - 8:30 p.m.
Hazel Hall, Seattle Waldorf High School

Dr. Jabali Stewart, recently Director of Intercultural Affairs at the Bush School, will again lead a powerful community circle where participants will share their personal stories, experiences, and questions. Topics will be based on who is in attendance but could include race, inclusion, biographical questions, and more. Dr. Jabali Stewart is a trained "circle keeper" and leads with heart. Future dates: January 16 and February 11.


Wednesday, October 23  |  7:00 - 8:30 p.m.
SWS Library, Meadowbrook Campus

Please join us for our upcoming DEI book club in the Meadowbrook Library. A discussion co-led by parents Ritz Sethi, Carla Wallace, and Marigold Preschool Teacher Martha Swain will cover the first six chapters of So You Want to Talk About Race by  Ijeoma Oluo. If you can't make it this week please join us for one of our future dates: November 20, January 27, and March 2.
Seattle Waldorf School  |  206.524.5320  |   seattlewaldorf.org