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Friends Academy Trustees 2.21 (1) Flipbook PDF

Friends Academy Trustees 2.21 (1)





Table of Contents ​QUAKER HISTORY





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QUAKER HISTORY Notes from Tom Gibian, member of the Board of Trustees 2.21 The origins of Quaker values and their connection to Quaker governance The Religious Society of Friends originated in the Lake District of England in the 1650’s toward the end of the English Civil War. It was a time of significant religious upheaval characterized by experimentation and dissent and an interest in seeking a religious experience different from what was offered through the Church of England, with its focus on tithing, the intermediation of religious experience through a Church hierarchy and other deceitful practices. The focus of the early Quakers was on direct, personal experience of a universal, divine spark. In Quaker worship, where all voices are invited to share messages upon being moved to speak, it was said that Quakers did not get rid of the clergy, they got rid of the laymen. The early Quakers were not royalists and they were not supporters of Cromwell. They were seekers of the truth and explicitly not members of a political party. In a time of violence they were avowed pacifists, believing that all wars and, in fact, violence, were inevitably destructive Trustees

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to all participants. During this time, foundational values emerged: ● All people are endowed with the Light within. ● The inner Light is accessible to everyone through patience, expectant listening for the soft, still voice of God. ● This experience can direct us to a deeper understanding and aids our search for truth and for purpose. ● We embrace curiosity, discovery and the recognition that we can all be life-long learners precisely because there is always more to be revealed, more to be understood. Quakers sometimes describe these two pillars, the Light within and the understanding that we as individuals and communities can seek and discern the truth in ways that are both spiritual and imminently practical as ​continuing revelation.​ These 2 pillars lead directly to a third foundational belief; that the world we seek can be made here and now. We do not need to wait for a life after death to experience the divine. 375 years later, how relevant are Quaker values? I think of Quakerism as a balance between the contemplative/the spiritual, even the transcendental, with a firm grounding in dissatisfaction, rebellion, dissent, fearlessness and hope. While the concept of Speaking Truth to Power originates with the Hebrew prophets, the phrase was coined by Bayard Ruskin, a Pennsylvania Quaker, a colleague of Martin Luther King and the organizer of the 1963 March on Washington. For Quakers, Speaking Truth to Power is not a bug, rather it is a feature of our faith. For any of this to make sense, the awareness of the Light within, the openness to continuing revelation, the commitment to building the world we want, it was necessary, vital, for people (all people, African Americans, girls, women, native Americans, everyone regardless of their origins) to be active participants in civil society. Not just active, but informed, constructive, useful, skeptical, open-minded and equipped with the tools required to be life-long learners. That meant that they had to know what they were talking about, they could analyze ideas, choose between competing narratives. In other words, they had to be educated. So Quakers started schools. Penn Charter, 1688, the first Quaker school in the United States was coed (rare at the time) and provided financial aid to those in need. Ezra Cornell, Johns Hopkins, William Penn all started universities. Haverford, Swarthmore, Guilford and Bryn Mawr followed. Today, the largest Quaker school in the world is in Hobart Tasmania. Why? It was started by English Quakers who travelled to Australia to testify as to the treatment accorded prisoners. Being Quakers, they started a school. What is a Quaker education? A Quaker education inspires Questions, Reflection and Action. QRA. These disciplines and, especially, getting them in the right order are timeless and incredibly modern. Quaker education also recognizes that the foundational pillars that spring from the Religious Society of Friends is and always has been built on five ideas: 1. Question. Knowledge becomes sticky when it is challenged, when it is tested, questioned, analyzed. This is fundamental to the Friends Academy experience. 2. Lifelong learning deepens when it is experienced, touched, and absorbed. Yes, learning is cerebral but it becomes internalized and real when it is experienced fully and actively. 3. Academic success is enhanced through personal relationships with teachers who know you, care about what you think, see you and hear you. 4. High level learning happens in the community. When kids feel safe, when they feel accepted, when they feel they belong. Community is vital and made robust through diversity, inclusiveness, equity and belonging. 5. The classroom extends beyond the walls and, in fact, beckons us to look in the most Trustees

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unexpected places. Today, our goal is to see the connections between Quaker values and the way we teach our children and what we ask of them as contributing community members. We are also going to connect those values to the way we govern the school that we hold in trust and what we ask of ourselves and each other. The Religious Society of Friends is an experiment based on recognizing the Light within, that our understanding deepens over time, that together we can make the world we seek. So consider this. How do you know that the leading you experience is the truth and not just a strongly held personal conviction. This question emerged at the very beginning of the early Quaker experience. It was the experience of James Naylor, who was an early convert and a charismatic leader, who, at a time when George Fox was jailed for his beliefs, went on a personal crusade to promote Quakerism. It was this crisis that demonstrated the need for a governance structure that could recognize and act on an unexpected truth as well as recognize and reject ideas that are not recognized as in the spirit of what we believe to be true. This is the discernment process that is at the heart of the Quaker process. We share our ideas so that they lose their identity as “our idea” and become the group’s idea to embrace, refine or reject. It can be hard work to figure out how individual understanding and inspiration can be tested, refined, challenged and incorporated into building institutions that are resilient, flexible and relevant regardless of trends and fads. I believe DEI (diversity, equity, and inclusion) competence is fundamental to Friends Academy’s long-term financial and enrollment sustainability. Over the next several generations of students, how will the FA brand be perceived? How can FA move into what I imagine remains the unoccupied niche of being an excellent school that encourages individual striving and has developed a school community culture where every student belongs and every student's great natural talent is celebrated. Consider the world our children will inherit and lead, the competitive advantage of cultural competency, the rewards of good karma, the boost associated with openness to continuing revelation and the impact on a student’s academic and personal success by growing up in a school where they know they belong because they own shares rather than renting and simply moving through. Our challenge as a Quaker school is to recognize the sometimes uncomfortable truth that it doesn’t work if we think we are able to pick and choose which of the Quaker values we find to be convenient to the moment.


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A hallmark of the Quaker school experience is the basic belief that we are all teachers and learners and that each has uni​que gifts and talents.

Education is in the era of co-construction, Quaker education has always been based on seeking to co-construct the environment with students.

Educational pedagogy moved from sage on stage to guide on side. Quaker education is grounded in the practice of the teacher being guided on side.


Putting matters in the middle of the table invites everyone to focus on it with the understanding that each holds a piece of the Truth.

Letting your life speak: ​ Demonstrating your values through actions and modeling Continuing Revelation: ​We all have a piece of the truth and by listening for that of God in each other we become more fully aware of the Truth. When we learn something new we apply that new knowledge to our future actions. Community​: When operating from a sense of community we are aware that the individuals have an impact on the group and the group has an impact on individuals. Communities have the capacity to hold big conversations, to have challenges. Quaker schools have long held the practice of co-construction with student voice and needs central to our teaching practices. Peaceful Conflict Resolution​: Holds that we are not our conflicts, we are participants in conflict. Quaker communities are able to have and resolve conflict while seeing, protecting, and Trustees

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honoring each person’s individual light. Sitting with Tension​: Quaker communities are unafraid of tension or challenge. By focusing on community we are called to resolve our conflicts peacefully, we understand that tension and challenge will contribute to continuing revelation, and we are willing to allow time or seasoning. We are not called to choose among the values held by Quakerism but rather to embrace and navigate all of them.


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Place the topic in the center of the table Address the group, not the individual Speak only once, allow space for others to share Let there be space for reflection between speakers Understand, once in the group, it no longer belongs to the individual Continually search for the Truth ○ Asking why? And why not? ○ The goal is not to win the argument or have your ideas prevail

Recognize the Spirit moving through the gathering The goal is to experience, even in mundane matters, a sense of the spirit moving through the group Standing in the way is rarely asserted. When standing in the way, it is a pause in the process to allow space for processing. Reaching consensus refers to being able to support the sense of the Meeting, even when in disagreement Consider options for navigating disagreements such as ​eldering​ and ​threshing sessions Quakers are observers of process, not arbiters of Quakerism

NEW TO QUAKER SCHOOL’S What makes a Quaker School different? The inherent strength of Friends schools and Friends meetings lies in their interconnectedness. As one meeting member clearly described in a recent study of Trustees

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meeting-school relationships, “It’s the Quakerism that pulls us together. It’s meeting for worship; it’s the notion of nonviolent conflict resolution. These ideals provide a kind of glue for us” (​The Care Relationship​, Friends Council on Education).1 A hallmark of the Quaker school experience is the basic belief that we are all teachers and learners and that each child has unique gifts and talents. Students are called upon to discover their own voices and interests within the framework of rigorous, college-preparatory academics. The foundation of the educational experience is built upon the idea that students’ quality of character – what kind of people they are becoming – is as important to their lives and to the world as their intellectual growth and exploration.2 Quakers reject the idea of creeds but do agree on certain principles that guide the Society of Friends. ● There is that of God, or the “Inner Light,” in all people. ● Through this personal, direct relationship with God the Truth can be revealed ● Divine Truth cannot be confined by creed ● God’s creation must be respected and preserved; we are stewards of the earth ● Faith should be evident in daily actions – a way of life. 3 ​ ​ One of the undergirding and overarching values of the Religious Society of Friends is equity. Our commitment to social justice combined with our belief in equity create space for conversations confronting issues, people struggle to address. Quaker Pedagogy Includes: ● Common themes of peace, social justice, environmental sustainability, and service ● Understanding and nurturing the mutuality of the impact between the community ● Seeking that of God or good in each student, focusing on their individuality Teaching Practices: ● See students as individuals and build out from there toward letting their lives speak. ● Listen with intention both internally, and to each other ● Understand and nurture the mutuality of the impact between the community and the individual. The community refers to those gathered together in the physical Irene McHenry ​ ​ 3 ​ 1 2


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space as well as the gathered community of the School, and the community beyond including our global connections. Learn through active inquiry and reflection. The inquiry and reflection are internal and external. Focus on collaboration as a skill to be developed, refined, and as a necessary means of learning. We believe that we all contribute to our learning. Experiential educational practices Incorporate peace, equity, and social justice

Quaker values in education are based on the knowledge that every single person has a worthwhile contribution to make: “Pupils in a Quaker school learn in a pressure-free environment to support their study without the fear of failure, leading to greater attainment during formal assessment. Our students perform well because they are engaged with their lessons and are challenged and supported in their studies. They benefit from the use of silence to reflect upon their studies and experiences which then encourages them to develop an open-minded approach to the world. All our schools offer students an enriching and exciting education they’ll carry with them for the rest of their lives. We provide every individual with moral, social, spiritual and educational progression, creating lifelong friendships and a passion for living and learning. Education in a Quaker school equips students with respect for all and confidence without arrogance. They leave us with a resilient, enquiring and reflective mind and go on to help make the world a better place, achieving personal and professional fulfilment along the way.”4

FRIENDS ACADEMY Friends Academy is a Quaker Faith based college preparatory K- 12 School. We believe in that of God, the Inward Teacher, or goodness in every person. We live this belief by engaging diverse thoughts and experiences. We draw strength and spiritual sustenance from community members who come from various religions, religious backgrounds, races and ethnicities, education, sexual orientations, gender identities, abilities, and classes. Friends Academy is a Quaker Faith based college preparatory K- 12 School.

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We believe in that of God, the Inward Teacher, or goodness in every person. We live this belief by engaging diverse thoughts and experiences. We draw strength and spiritual sustenance from community members who come from various religions, religious​ backgrounds, races and ethnicities, education, sexual orientations, gender identities, abilities, and classes. Our educational experience is guided and expressed by our Quaker Testimonies. We are intentional that the testimonies not be words to be remembered but embedded in the way we live our lives. The most recognized testimonies include simplicity, integrity, equity, equality, community, and peace. Our guiding principle is love, kindness, and respect. Friends Academy is not under the care of a Meeting and the Meeting is not under the care of the school. Our Meeting is unprogrammed (meaning no minister or religious leader). Each week at a designated time and day “students in each division learn to be silent, to find a place in the stillness within the busyness of their lives, and pause to reflect. It is through this practice that students come to understand that each is a valued member of a community whose voice will be listened to deeply and respectfully. We accept that as a diverse community, a vast majority of non-Quakers we approach the Meeting for Worship differently. Yet individually and collectively we join as we listen to the still, small voice within. Each student is a worshipper though we may worship each in our own way. The one commonality we share is that of a caring listener. Together and individually we engage in active waiting, as we strive to dissociate the mind from the distractions and focus inwardly. It is in our silence that we knowingly help and strengthen others in the process, as worship becomes a corporate experience. We listen tenderly to all messages, even those that may not seem to speak to our condition. An journey to understanding how to ​Let Your Life Speak The daily educational experience at Friends Academy whether it is in our Early Childhood Center, an Upper School classroom, on a field, stage, or a field trip is built on a Quaker foundation that includes inquiring, discerning, and resilient. A reflective person of conscience who embraces complexity and understands the Quaker adage “let your life speak.” Every student learns to do well and to do good by shaping deep individual questions and forming meaningful collaborative relationships as they pursue lives of authentic purpose. Friends Academy: Our Shared Quaker Educational Purpose and Practices As a Friends school, we believe in continuing revelation. Education at Friends Academy is a process of seeking truth and deepening our awareness, which demands ongoing reflection within a community of diverse thought and perspective. We believe in the innate goodness of each member of our community. We value every perspective and Trustees

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experience, and encourage their discovery and exploration by both the individual and the community to achieve greater understanding. As a student-centered Quaker school, we support students through the process of becoming more active questioners who are increasingly responsible for their learning and for their world. We seek to inspire deep inquiry that fosters discernment, good judgment, and ethical action. “Meeting” in the classroom promotes a culture that honors “meaning making,” individual and shared. Learning happens when students actively construct ideas and test approaches. The Quaker adage, “Let your Life Speak,” spurs graduates to lead purposeful lives of integrity and service. Mindful of current research in cognitive psychology and neuroscience, Friends teachers model active learning as partners, supporting students to practice: Seeing Possibility.​ Believing individual goodness and truth are continually revealed, students have faith in their own and each person’s potential and with optimism and resilience, approach challenges as opportunities. Listening actively and Reflecting. P ​ racticing Quaker discernment and reflection, students appreciate sharing diverse and divergent perspectives to develop empathy and deepen awareness. Inquiring deeply.​ Students identify problems, consider contradictions, and resist singular answers. They recognize complexity and uncertainty, taking risks and trying new approaches. Asking, Exploring and Revising Questions.​ Students have a growth mindset. They approach challenges as opportunities and uncover new ways of thinking about and framing queries by testing and interacting directly with real world issues, materials and resources. Collaborating in Constructing Ideas and Designing Flexible Solutions.​ Sharing and evaluating their understanding through discussion, students do hands-on experiments and use materials to shape interpretations, seeking feedback to inspire new approaches. Demonstrating Understanding through Performance.​ Deep learning is recursive. Feedback and formative assessments reward students learning through attempts, approximations and from mistakes, encouraging them to demonstrate their own understandings with integrity. Thinking Purposefully to Act Ethically.​ As part of a global community of equals, students affirm our commitment to equity by resolving conflict peacefully and being socially responsible citizens. Let Your Life Speak ​A Friends Academy graduate is inquiring, discerning, and resilient. A reflective person of conscience who embraces complexity and understands the Quaker adage “let your life speak.” Every student learns to do well and to do good by shaping deep individual Trustees

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questions and forming meaningful collaborative relationships as they pursue lives of authentic purpose. Friends’ graduates embrace thinking for themselves and listening actively to others, while holding integrity and equity as beacons to guide them as active and socially responsible citizens of our world.

THE TESTIMONIES Testimonies​ (often referred to as “The SPICESS”) · · ·

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Integrity​ - living as whole people who act on what we believe, tell the truth, and do what we say we will do. Simplicity​ - focusing on what is truly important and letting other things fall away. Equality​ - treating everyone, everywhere, as equally precious to God, or possessing inner light or goodness, and recognizing the potential and gifts in each person. Equity ​Community​ - supporting one another in our faith and or spiritual journeys and in times of joy and sorrow; sharing with and caring for each other. Peace​ - seeking justice and healing for all people; taking away the causes of war in the ways we live. Stewardship - u ​ sing only our fair share of the earth's resources; working for policies that protect the planet.

Queries Since the time of George Fox, it has been the practice of Friends to use queries (questions without a direct answer to be considered and reflected upon to gain deeper understanding) to assess the state of their Society and remind them of the ideals they seek to attain. ● Queries are a guide to self examination, a framework within which to clarify, and consider the direction of the life of the community, examples include: ○ Do we honor nurture, and sustain our Quaker roots and the testimonies and practices of the Religious Society of Friends? ○ Do we seek to live into these testimonies in our relationships with one another: students, faculty, staff, parents, alumni, neighbors, and the wider community? ○ How are Friends’ values of service, simplicity, integrity, diversity, equality, community, stewardship of the environment, and nonviolence reflected in the life of the School? ○ How do these values influence our programs? ○ How do we build policies and create institutional structures that reflect the testimony of equity and equality, which is grounded in the recognition of that of God in every person? Trustees

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○ What are the School’s practices in regard to meeting for worship and decision making in the manner of Friends? ○ How do we work with other Friends institutions, and how do these relationships help us serve the broader community of Quaker education? ○ How do we join with other Friends organizations in the struggle for peace, equity, justice, and a sustainable world? ○ How do we balance the need for openness with the need for confidentiality with respect to sensitive information? ○ Do we appreciate how the testimony on integrity calls us to truth telling, authenticity and wholeness? ○ Are we faithful to the demands that the testimony of integrity makes upon us, as individuals and as a collective body, the Governing Board, as we carry out our responsibilities and duties? ○ Do we value all our varied skills, experiences and wisdom? ○ Do we encourage inclusion? 5

GUIDANCE FOR MEETING FOR WORSHIP What to expect in the silent, waiting form of Quaker worship Overview. ​The traditional Quaker meeting for worship is unlike any other form of worship. There will be no officiating minister, no prepared readings or prayers or sermon, no hymns, no sacramental rituals or religious objects, only deepening silence and occasional spoken ministry from the body of worshippers. Beginning. ​The traditional Quaker meeting for worship begins when the first Friend enters the meeting room and begins to "center down," to seek the depths within him or her. We have no formal beginning to the worship. Silence. ​Friends sit in silence, a waiting, expectant silence that grows deeper as time progresses and as the worshippers reach those depths within them and as their attention settles on God and each other in love. Ministry.​ At some point in the hour (by convention no sooner than twenty minutes or so after the beginning of worship), someone may stand up and speak. Ideally, this "vocal ministry" has been prompted by the Holy Spirit as a gift of ministry to the meeting. We accept each person's vocal ministry in a spirit of peace, even if it does not speak to us personally, in the faith that it may speak meaningfully to someone else. The meeting progresses.​ Occasionally, the whole hour passes without anyone speaking, but usually several people do, leaving sometime between their messages. 5



from Friends Seminary Essential Principles, Practices and Procedures [email protected] 11

The gathered meeting.​ Sometimes the silence becomes especially deep as the meeting progresses and comes alive with Presence. This often happens when increasingly rich vocal ministry draws the meeting in toward its Center, until some—maybe all—of the worshippers become aware of each other and of God's presence, in a deep communion of the Spirit. We call this a "gathered" or "covered" meeting. Closing.​ At the appointed time, usually an hour, some designated person closes the worship by saying, "Good morning, Friends." Friends then turn to each other and shake hands and say their own "good mornings" to those around them. Directly after the meeting.​ Before Friends leave the meeting room, many meetings hold a period directly after "rise of meeting" for "afterthoughts," and for introductions, and announcements. "Afterthoughts" are short messages that these Friends did not feel "rose to the level of spoken ministry," meaning that the Spirit's promptings did not become urgent enough or clear enough for them to share the message with the meeting during worship, but the thought is still on their mind. In speaking of God,​ we use various words, but we need to hear the truth beyond those words. The Divine Spirit, which Friends have variously called “The Inward Light,” “The Christ Within,” “The Seed,” and “That of God in Everyone,” has the power to raise up the good and to overcome the evil in our hearts. It can also render us capable of carrying out God’s will in individual and social life. The source of Friends ‘testimonies and concerns is found in hearing and obeying this Spirit. At Friends we welcome those of all faiths and beliefs – some attendees will connect directly with the Divine Spirit others may believe there is light or goodness in every person. 6

Adult Guidance for Meeting for Worship Each week on a designated day and time each division the school attends a Quaker Meeting for Worship. It is important to distinguish that a school Meeting for Worship is different from a Sunday Meeting for Worship or a Meeting for just adults. In the school Meeting the “adult” wears into Meeting their professional responsibility. Perhaps the most important aspect of this responsibility is our charge for the care, safety, and wellbeing of every student. The teacher-pupil relationship is not equal. Teachers and all education professionals are in a unique position of trust, care, responsibility, authority and influence with their 6


New York Yearly Meeting


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pupils. This means that there is always an inherent power imbalance within the teacher-pupil dynamic. Teachers must be careful not to shift that responsibility or balance by sharing information that would be an emotional burden to children. Adults must be careful in sharing our personal information that is emotionally open; meaning the message puts an emotional burden on the child to wonder and or worry if the adult is fully healed. While similar to the responsibility adults have when a student shares emotional wounds (still in the healing process) a child should not be placed in the position of care for the adult. Adults are mindful that their voice has power and by speaking they may inadvertently shy students from speaking. Adults are encouraging students from all ages and grades to connect to their inward teacher and if ​moved​ will stand to share their message. Meeting is not the place to share personal thoughts about other individuals and may never be used to public shame or hurt the dignity of others.


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RESOURCES AND ORGANIZATIONS TO FOLLOW Friends Council On Education Pendle Hill Quaker Information Center

Resources: ● Teaching in a Quaker School Digital Library ​ ● Quaker in Residence Jen Cort ​[email protected]​org

CONNECTING EQUITY, QUAKERISM, AND BOARD WORK Presentation with Camille Edwards and Jen Cort 10.20

Principles of Good Practice for Trustees: 1. The board adopts a clear statement of the school’s mission, vision, and strategic goals and establishes policies and plans consistent with this statement. 2. The board reviews and maintains appropriate bylaws that conform to legal requirements, including duties of loyalty, obedience, and care. 3. The board assures that the school and the board operate in compliance with applicable laws and regulations, minimizing exposure to legal action. The board creates a conflict of ​interest​ policy that is reviewed with, and signed by, individual trustees annually. 4. The board accepts accountability for both the financial stability and the financial future of the institution, engaging in strategic ​financial planning​, assuming primary responsibility for the preservation of capital assets and endowments, overseeing operating budgets, and participating actively in fundraising. 5. The board selects, supports, nurtures, evaluates, and sets appropriate compensation for the head of school. 6. The board recognizes that its primary work and focus are long range and strategic.


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7. The board undertakes formal strategic planning on a periodic basis, sets annual goals related to the plan, and conducts annual written evaluations for the school, head of school, and the board itself. 8. The board keeps full and accurate records of its meetings, committees, and policies and communicates its decisions widely, while keeping its deliberations confidential. 9. Board composition reflects the strategic expertise, resources, and perspectives (past, present, and future) needed to achieve the mission and strategic objectives of the school. 10. The board works to ensure all its members are actively involved in the work of the board and its committees. 11. As leader of the school community, the board engages proactively with the head of school in cultivating and maintaining good relations with school constituents as well as the broader community and exhibits best practices relevant to equity and justice. 12. The board is committed to a program of professional development that includes annual new trustee orientation, ongoing trustee education and ​evaluation​,7 and board leadership succession planning.

PRIVILEGE People often resist talking about privilege because they feel they are being judged, blamed, or don’t feel they operate from a privileged place. The challenge in understanding privilege is that it is not as much about how you feel as it is about what the world offers to you. Privilege status for some groups more than others is a fact. Supporting historically marginalized groups supports all Role Privilege: ​The presumed privilege status accompanying a role or position, particularly considering work and/or school setting.





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Trustees have multiple roles requiring them to: 1. ‘Zoom in’ and ‘zoom out’ meaning be aware of the work of the school without being involved 2. Consider their motivations for being trustees 3. Support the Head of School 4. Be forward-thinking

WHY FOCUS ON EQUITY NOW? 1. Human readiness skills 2. Colleges and universities 3. Preparation for: a. The ‘jobs that don’t yet exist b. Parenting skills c. Relationship skills 4. Research demonstrates the many benefits of all constituent groups working together


National Association of Independent Schools​ and ​Lauren Brownlee


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'My parents enrolled me in school to have access to better education, to be physically safe, and to expand my opportunities, and I am grateful. My teachers tried to be supportive, but they didn't get it. I got through school, and I am so happy to be at my HBCU. My high school is already asking me to contribute to the annual fund, which shows how little they get . I have less money in college than I did in high school.' - Mark, College freshman


Principles of Good Practice for Equity and Justice: 1. The school establishes the foundations for its commitment to equity and justice in its defining documents (mission, core value, and/or philosophy statements). 2. The school respects, affirms, and protects the dignity and worth of each member of its community. 3. The board of trustees and the head of school articulate strategic goals and objectives that promote diversity, inclusion, equity, and justice in the life of the school. 4. The school develops meaningful requirements for cross-cultural competency and provides training and support for all members of its community, including the board of trustees, parents, students, and all school personnel. 5. The board of trustees and the head of school keep the school accountable for living its mission by periodically monitoring and assessing school culture and ongoing efforts in admission, hiring, retention, financial aid, and curriculum development. 6. The school works deliberately to ensure that the board of trustees, administration, faculty, staff, and student body reflect the diversity that is present in the rapidly changing and increasingly diverse school-age population in our country. 7. The head of school ensures that diversity initiatives are coordinated and led by a designated individual who is a member of one of the school leadership teams, with the training, authority, and support needed to influence key areas of policy development, decision-making, budget, and management. Trustees

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8. The school uses inclusive language in all written, electronic, and oral communication. 9. The school adopts a non-discrimination statement applicable to the administration of all of its programs and policies, in full compliance with local, state, and federal law. That said, the school makes the law the floor, not the ceiling, for establishing itself as a diverse, inclusive, safe, and welcoming community for all students, staff, and families.


Rerouting Shortcuts Cognitive shortcuts can lead to stereotyping and biased behavior. Here are some suggestions on how to “reroute” these shortcuts. June 1, 2015, ​Jen Cort

Human brains create cognitive shortcuts to focus on important matters. Can you imagine how much time it would take to get ready in the morning if you had to think about every step rather than relying on cognitive shortcuts for efficiency? We also use these shortcuts to respond to new situations. Imagine you are swimming at the beach and a shark touches your leg. Do you spend a lot of time thinking through all of your possible responses, or do you react immediately? Most likely, you react—and quickly—

because your brain developed a plan by taking snips of information seen or heard in the past and created a cognitive shortcut. I believe these shortcuts serve an essential purpose. Still, in the context of anti-bias education, they need to be looked at since they profoundly impact our relationships with students, their parents or guardians, our colleagues, and ourselves. Take, for example, stereotypes, ​implicit biases​ and prejudices. Cognitive shortcuts cause us to make assumptions and stereotype other people, and they can prompt discriminatory or exclusionary behaviors, even without our awareness. However, these fallible cognitive Trustees

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shortcuts can be identified and rerouted. The sooner we learn to identify them, the sooner we can reroute them to be in alignment with social justice values and positive school culture, thus deepening our teaching relationships. What can you do to recognize and reroute your shortcuts? Request professional development for your department, co-teachers and/or administration on privilege, bias, and prejudice​. This professional development should include conversations about these topics, how they are perceived, and how they are addressed. You may even introduce statements such as “That was a shortcut” to be used in reference to yourself and others. Examples of shortcuts in a school setting might be thinking a single parent may not come to volunteer, assuming a girl is going to be a better problem solver than a boy or deciding an administrator may not listen to your new idea. It’s important in all instances to separate conclusions based on experiences with individuals from shortcuts you created about groups. Understand your own bias, which is essential for effecting change.​Be willing to ask yourself tough questions when faced with an exchange, meeting or situation where prejudices or biases were at play. Did your perceptions influence your reactions? Unchecked, shortcuts can lead to ​stereotyping and microaggressions​. Practicing mindfulness can help you avoid these outcomes. Recognize that most of us have at least one area of privilege, ​as perceived by others. T ​ hese privileges need to be recognized in ourselves as well as in others. Identifying our privileges will help interrupt this cycle of fallible shortcuts. You might want to keep a “Reflection Journal” to aid you in the process. Consider that privilege assertion can be unintentional. ​Unintentional actions do not mean that the injuries are any less painful when privileges are asserted. However, remembering that assertions may be unintentional (and even outside the knowledge base of the individual) provides a starting point for having conversations around rerouting shortcuts. Help your students recognize that privileges are afforded and assumed. Encourage students to recognize the complexities of privilege as they relate to historical injustices, membership in identity groups, structural inequities and so on. Create a safe classroom. This is a crucial step. Working actively toward reducing fallible shortcuts does not ensure ​safe classrooms​ for all students. There are many other considerations. Is your classroom​ ​LGBT-inclusive​? Does your curriculum include diverse voices and experiences? Are​ ​families​ honored and invited to be involved? Learning to reroute shortcuts that inform biases and prejudices requires time, consistent attention, and dedication. The benefit of this process is once rerouted, cognitive Trustees

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shortcuts can more consistently be representative of the values at the heart of anti-bias education.9

BUILD SCHOOL RESILIENCE TO CRISIS 1. Clarify identity: a. Is what we say we are who we actually are? b. Are we one school or multiple schools under one name? 2. Answer who we are? a. What do we stand for? b. How does JEDI show up in our school? 3. Answer who are we not? a. What will not stand for? What do we stand against? b. Are we ​person specific o ​ r ​position

c. specific? ​ 4. Communicate with consistency across constituent groups: a. What are your shared messages? b. What is the relationship between trustees and the Head of School when difficult decisions are necessary?

MATRIX FOR CONSIDERATION OF TRUSTEE WORK As you think about your school, please take a few minutes to answer the following to the best of your understanding. The constellation of trustees: ❏ Total number of trustees ❏ Number of people of color (POC) ❏ Number of women ❏ Other historically marginalized groups ❏ Are potential board members expected to have a demonstrated commitment to JEDI? ❏ Are your trustees representative of the student body?




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School data: ❏ Do trustees know the school’s demographics by social identifier: ❏ Student body ❏ Faculty/staff ❏ Student achievement by subgroup ❏ Student attrition by subgroup ❏ Faculty promotion by subgroup ❏ Faculty attrition by subgroup ❏ Do you survey alumni students, parents, and faculty to understand if the school is a welcoming campus and learn what, if anything, is attributed to a challenging campus. Trustee participation in equity and diversity actions: ❏ Do the trustees engage in ongoing strategic JEDI training? ❏ If yes, is JEDI specifically mentioned? ❏ Is implicit bias directly addressed? ❏ Do the trustees have a diversity committee of the board? ❏ If yes, how does that committee connect to the school? ❏ Trustee visible and audible support for community JEDI work Strategic Thinking: ❏ Do you have a current strategic plan? ❏ Does it include JEDI goals? ❏ Do you have two mission statements (‘mission’ and ‘diversity’)? Administrative expectations: ❏ Do you expect faculty and staff to engage in ongoing strategic JEDI training inclusive of JEDI? ❏ Is JEDI included in the Head of School evaluation models? ❏ Does the board consider JEDI when advertising for non-tuition revenue streams? ❏ Do you expect faculty/staff presentations to include focus on JEDI?


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DIVERSITY OF BOARD CONSTELLATION Board Source offers advice for addressing board diversity: “Don’t be one of those boards. Take the time to articulate your values regarding the importance of diversity, and then put them into practice throughout your organization and your board.”


Board Source urges boards to think of themselves as:   “The decision-making body at the highest level of organizational leadership,  boards play a critical role in creating an organization that prioritizes, supports,  and invests in diversity, inclusion, and equity. Whether in the hiring of the  executive, the determination of strategy, the allocation of resources, or the goal  of serving the community with authenticity, the board’s leadership on diversity,  inclusion, and equity matters.  As stewards of the public good, all social sector organizations, regardless of  mission, are called on to embrace and celebrate our common humanity, and the  inherent worth of all people. In doing so, we must also acknowledge that a  climate of growing intolerance and inequity is a challenge to our democratic  values and ideals. Divisions along economic, racial, religious, and political lines  have created an increasingly polarized society in need of healing. And the  complex issues and dynamics at the intersection of race, class, gender, and  sexuality call for deeper thinking as we seek to understand each other.  We believe that social sector organizations are better able to do this work   effectively and with authenticity when they are led by boards that are 




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● diverse:​ The individual leaders who compose nonprofit boards are a  reflection of an organization’s values and beliefs about who should be  empowered and entrusted with its most important decisions. We believe  that all social sector organizations can better achieve their missions by  drawing on the skills, talents, and perspectives of a broader and more  diverse range of leaders, and that the diversity of viewpoints that comes  from different life experiences and cultural backgrounds strengthens  board deliberations and decision-making.  ● inclusive:​ The most effective boards work to build a culture of trust,  candor, and respect — none of which is possible without a culture of  inclusion. Boards that cultivate an inclusive culture ensure that all board  members are encouraged to bring their perspectives, identity, and life  experience to their board service. An inclusive board culture welcomes  and celebrates differences and ensures that all board members are  equally engaged and invested, sharing power and responsibility for the  organization’s mission and the board’s work.  ● equity-focused:​ Boards play a critical role in helping organizations  understand the context in which they work and how best to prioritize  resources and strategies based on that reality. An awareness of how  systemic inequities have affected our society and those an organization  serves enables boards to avoid blind spots that can lead to flawed  strategies, and creates powerful opportunities to deepen the  organization’s impact, relevance, and advancement of the public good.”11   



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GENDER IDENTITY Language and the changes which pushed the conversation forward  ■ ■ ■ ■


American Pediatric Association changing guidelines  Introduction of hormone blockers  American Psychological Association changing diagnostic criteria  Media presentation 

Gender Identity ​is an individual’s deeply held sense of being male, female, or another gender and is separate from biological sex. Gender Expression ​is the way we show our gender to the world around us. Societal expectations of gender expression are reinforced in almost every area of life. Gender Role ​behaviors and attitudes generally considered acceptable or desirable for people based on their actual or perceived sex or sexuality. Non-binary​ the rigid expectations of birth sex do not match the understanding of whom a person understands themselves to be. Sexual Orientation​ is about our physical, emotional, and/or romantic attractions to others. Transgender​ ​a gender description for someone who has transitioned (or is transitioning) from living as one gender to another; an umbrella term for anyone whose sex assigned at birth and gender identity does not correspond in an expected way (e.g., someone who was assigned male at birth, but does not identify as a man).13


Sexual Gender Orientation  Role  

12 13


Gender Identity

Non-Binary Gender Role

  Gender    Expression 

Based on It’s Pronounced Metrosexual  It’s Pronounced Metrosexual


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CONSIDER BIAS Cheryl Staats, Kelly Capatosto, Robin A. Wright, and Victoria W. Jackson (2016) write in the ​Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity​ defining “‘implicit bias‘ as the associations we harbor in our subconscious causes us to have feelings and attitudes about other people based on characteristics such as race, ethnicity, age, and appearance. These associations develop throughout a lifetime beginning at a very early age through exposure to direct and indirect messages. In addition to first life experiences, the media, and news programming are often-cited origins of implicit associations.”14


Reflections What did I hear?

How will I reflect on it?

What did/will I share?


​Kirwan Institute


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What is my commitment?

What is my plan?


ABOUT MY WORK Jen Cort blends her experiences as a clinical social worker and educator. Educational administrative experiences are as an assistant head of lower school, head of a middle school, and senior administrator. Therapy background includes serving as a counselor in lower, middle, and upper schools as well as private practice. Jen has had the privilege of working in over 140 schools, offering keynote, and break out conference sessions, writing for journals and blogs, and serving as the host of an internationally syndicated podcast "Third Space With Jen Cort" bringing student, faculty, staff, and parents voices focusing on equity, diversity, inclusion, and justice.

[email protected] (301) 318-2330


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