Dear Hewitt Community,
Back in June, we wrote to share the ways in which we were engaging in painful but honest, productive, and necessary conversations about the structural changes necessary for The Hewitt School to confront systemic racism and put the words of our diversity and inclusivity statement and our mission into action. A central element of our call to action was the formation of an Anti-Racism Task Force. We write today to share an important update on the considerable work that has been done by that Task Force, and to share the guidelines that will inform our work in the months and years ahead to make Hewitt an actively anti-racist institution.
Over the course of the last three months, the Anti-Racism Task Force has met together with school leadership in full-group and subcommittee meetings, convened and ably guided by Director of Equity and Community Life Loris Adams. The Task Force held many conversations with students, alumnae, faculty and staff, and parents and guardians to address institutionalized racism both in the world and at Hewitt, and their work culminated in a set of recommendations presented to the Hewitt Board of Trustees a few weeks ago.
We are pleased to report that the Board of Trustees unanimously approved the recommendations and on behalf of the Board, we thank the Task Force members for the extraordinary work and service that made this important moment and sign of forward progress possible. Below are the recommendations developed by the Task Force and approved by the Board of Trustees. In the coming months, school leadership will work to identify the next steps in prioritizing and implementing recommendations. We look forward to keeping you apprised of our progress as we all commit to making Hewitt a more equitable, sustainable, and joyous community.
Though getting to this moment has involved a considerable amount of work, we know that the work must continue. We look forward to working with the entire community to move these recommendations forward, as this is truly the work of the entire community: faculty, staff, students, parents, guardians, alumnae, and trustees. There is no better way to mark our 100th anniversary year than in this strong and powerful statement of support for diversity, equity, and inclusion; this is a truly monumental and historic moment for our community.
By Faith and Courage,
Suzanne Baillie, Co-Chair, Board of Trustees
Juan Sabater, Co-Chair, Board of Trustees
Tara Christie Kinsey, Head of School
Hewitt Anti-Racism Task Force Recommendations
Approved November 2020
The Anti-Racism Task Force worked as a full group and in subcommittees to develop recommendations in each of three areas--Community and Care, Pedagogy and Curriculum, and Leadership and Governance.
Pedagogy and Curriculum
- Hewitt will deepen and broaden our K-12 teaching practices so that we are delivering high-quality, culturally responsive, and research-based learning experiences that align with Hewitt’s Anti-Bias Education Goals, and enable learners and educators to act, alone or with others, against prejudice and discrimination.
- Hewitt will conduct a K-12 curriculum audit to assess how well the School embeds social justice and anti-racist standards into the scope and sequence of grade-level courses and schoolwide curriculum.
- Building upon the inclusion of our Anti-Bias Education Goals in the 2020 Curriculum Night events, Hewitt will expand opportunities to engage parents and guardians in understanding how the Goals guide teaching and learning experiences. Those opportunities will include student voice so parents and guardians have another key perspective on the importance of an anti-racist education.
- In alignment with Hewitt’s strategic vision and to develop pedagogy and curriculum that truly expands our students’ perspectives and experiences, Hewitt will focus on real-world learning opportunities outside the Hewitt campus and beyond the immediate neighborhood of the Upper East Side.
Community and Care
- Hewitt will establish mandatory, consistent employee professional development (PD) dedicated to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) to ensure common language and understanding in our professional community. This training will begin at employee orientation and onboarding and will be ongoing. Hewitt will survey the student body for input on the impact of this PD programming on the student experience.
- Hewitt will increase the level of care for students of color and students from marginalized identities through counseling and mentorship support. We recommend that Hewitt consider programs such as K-12 affinity spaces, meetings between students of color and school leadership, cross-divisional mentorship programs, and an alumnae-student mentorship program.
- In addition to the measures described above, Hewitt will develop mandatory, consistent, and ongoing programming for all students around diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) to ensure common language and understanding in our student community as well as concern for and sensitivity to all members of our community.
- Hewitt will deepen and broaden our commitment to increasing the diversity of the student body. Hewitt will conduct an audit of the admissions process to assess how equitable and accessible it is in order to develop a process that ensures the diversity of our student body.
- Hewitt will deepen and broaden our commitment to increasing the diversity of the professional community by pursuing new hiring channels and conducting an audit of the hiring and retention process. The audit will gather information in order to support the creation of more specific metrics for assessing proportional diversity in the professional community.
- Hewitt will increase the level of care for employees of color and employees from marginalized identities through focused mentorship and professional development. We recommend that Hewitt consider programs such as ongoing affinity spaces and meetings with the school leadership.
Leadership and Governance
- Building on the progress of the past few years, Hewitt will deepen and broaden our commitment to ensuring diverse perspectives and backgrounds, reflective of the racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic makeup of our student body, among our volunteers, including but not limited to our Board of Trustees, Parents’ Association Board, Alumnae Council, and admissions volunteers and ask the Equity and Community Life Committee of the Board of Trustees to oversee these efforts.
- Hewitt will require volunteers, including our Board of Trustees, Parents’ Association Board, Alumnae Council, and admissions volunteers, to complete anti-bias and anti-racist training.
- It is essential that parents and guardians understand and embrace the School’s commitment to equity, inclusion, and anti-racism. At the end of the 2020-2021 academic year, Hewitt will assess the efficacy of diversity, equity, and inclusion programming for parents and guardians to inform future planning.
- Hewitt’s community handbooks will include restorative justice policies, as developed by the Values Committee.
- Hewitt will conduct an audit of current school traditions, symbols, and the institutional lexicon to assess alignment with the School’s commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion.
- Hewitt will deliver an annual state of the school report to the full community which shall include a section devoted to our progress toward becoming an anti-racist institution in order to provide data, transparency, and accountability for the School’s progress toward specific and measurable goals related to diversity, equity, and inclusion.
Dr. Kinsey and the co-chairs of the Board of Trustees sent this message to the Hewitt community on December 9, 2020.