|Dear SWS Community,
The Equity Advisory Group (EAG) was formed in January 2019 in response to a call from the Parent Equity Committee, Faculty Equity Committee, and Head of School to deepen our collective understanding of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) at Seattle Waldorf School. Prior to beginning the EAG work, the two committees created a working diversity statement that has since been adopted by the SWS Board of Trustees and EAG as the SWS Diversity Statement.
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.
(Statement first created at the October 2018 All-School Community Kickoff for DEI work at SWS. This is a working statement and is subject to change. Last updated October 8, 2018)
The EAG consists of volunteers from our community including faculty, Board, and parents.
Over the past one and a half years, with leadership and guidance from Tanisha Brandon-Felder and Fran Partridge of Racial Equity Consultants (REC), we took the necessary time and space to understand how our identities, privileges, and positions in the world influence and bias our perspective. This work was necessary to build a diverse and healthy group that could learn together about how to use an equity lens to understand systemic racism. With this solid foundation of trust and understanding, we then focused on co-creating a process for assessing racial equity at our school. We created key questions to put into a school-wide survey. We decided to supplement this school-wide survey with a series of focus groups to capture the feelings, perspectives, and lived experiences of the members of our diverse school community.
In March, after months of work and with the greatest enthusiasm, we were putting the final touches on our surveys and arranging focus groups for you, our community. This work has been so important to us and we hoped that you would join us on the journey toward greater diversity, equity, and inclusion in the many facets of our school. Then the pandemic swooped down on our endeavors. After much discussion, we have decided to forge ahead now. We know that many of us are overwhelmed by the many added responsibilities and stresses of our present situations. Understanding that, we bring the opportunity to fill out the surveys now, and then in the fall we will host focus groups to follow up on what we learn from the survey. We want to be able to have as full participation as possible, even in these strange and uncertain times. So while we urge you to participate in the survey now, there will also be further opportunities in the fall to continue the conversation and for SWS to learn about where you believe we stand with regard to being a racially equitable organization.
After all the survey and focus group information has been gathered, it will be compiled by Racial Equity Consultants and from this, the EAG will present the findings and recommendations to the SWS Board and leadership bodies of the school to assist in determining future strategic initiatives that will strengthen diversity, equity, and inclusion at Seattle Waldorf School.
Luci Hackbert, Michelle Collins, Betsy Weill, and Flora McEachern
Parent and Faculty Equity Committee Representatives