Now more than ever, Annie Wright Schools must reaffirm its commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion. Our goal is to be a community in which everyone feels included. In order for this to happen, we must put ourselves consistently and with conviction in to the work itself, utilizing a system to evaluate, respond to and reflect on school culture and practice.
The system starts with the formation of “subcommittees.” Led by members of Annie Wright Schools' DEI Working Group (founded in 2015 as the DEI Curriculum & Practice Group), these subcommittees focus on a chosen area of interest or need. They work throughout a pre-determined time frame and produce concrete deliverables. Participation in the subcommittees is open to faculty, staff, trustees, alumni, and, when appropriate, students and parents. Every semester, certain subcommittees conclude while new subcommittees launch.
There is, however, one more critical component. The Working Group is designing a short, quarterly “pulse check” that asks AWS community members to share their lived experience. Responses to this survey provide feedback on our community culture and help give direction to future subcommittees. In this way, we have a mechanism that perpetually reinforms us about ourselves. As AWS grows and changes, and as our community grows and changes, such a system will allow us to be responsive, intentional, and directed.
The DEI Working Group not only developed the approach, they also designed the first seven subcommittees listed below. Working with committed and convicted community members is energizing. It is also impactful. While we recognize that time is in short supply, we hope this model is flexible enough that all members of our community will find a way to meaningfully contribute and advance our DEI effort. Ensuring the Diversity Statement is woven into our institutional fabric feels like a great way to nurture that very community.
If you are interested in joining a subcommittee, please let us know here