From learning more about cultural competency and how to honor and connect with students based on their many cultural identities to actively considering how they can be anti-racists, MKA faculty have embraced some difficult conversations and have actively committed to adjusting both curriculum and students’ classroom experiences to create equity and social justice.
Faculty leaders on the Diversity, Inclusion, and Anti-Racism Team, with the assistance of several Upper School student leaders, offered the following optional Professional Development workshops during Summer 2020:
- “Honoring Multiple Cultural Identities to Build Relationships”
- Grades Pre-K-12, offered twice
- 54 faculty participants
- “A Call to Action: Anti-Racism Begins with Me”
- Grades Pre-K-12, offered three times
- 82 faculty participants
During August of 2019, the Diversity, Inclusion, and Anti-racism team offered a two-day retreat on multicultural education with 38 attendees. This highly interactive retreat at Van Vleck House and Gardens supported and inspired participating faculty members by providing: the time to reflect on their identities and multicultural practice; the opportunity to collaborate with and learn from their peers; and the space to grow as educators, community members, and human beings.
Consultants and speakers who have informed and guided the entire MKA faculty in addressing topics from building cultural competency to acting as an anti-racist:
- Stephen Jones
- Rosetta Lee
- Jennifer Bryan
- Mary-Helen Immordino Yang
- Khyati Joshi
- Bryan Stevenson
- Gene Batiste
This year, members of MKA’s administrative team and Board of Trustees have begun to engage in deep learning about racial equity at both a personal and systemic level through work with Paul Gorski and the Equity Leadership Institute. This learning will expand to include analysis of MKA’s policies and systems that may reinforce bias and faculty learning later in the school year.
During the summer of 2020, all faculty members read White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo. At August in-service, they participated in follow-up discussions in small affinity groups. Thoughtful sharing and conversation in those groups provided an essential building block for faculty commitment to an actively anti-racist perspective.
The Board of Trustees and parents were also invited to read White Fragility and to participate in group-specific discussion. These engaging workshops were well attended, and conversations were generative.
Each year, MKA sends 10-13 faculty members to the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) People of Color Conference (PoCC). The primary mission of PoCC is to provide educators of color with a space for leadership and professional development and for networking. MKA is committed to providing the opportunity to attend this vital conference to all faculty of color.
In addition, each year, six Upper School students attend the Student Diversity Leadership conference, which runs simultaneously. Student attendees learn how to lead and to engage their peers in the important work of diversity, inclusion, belonging, equity, social justice, and anti-racism.