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Armstrong School

 

 

 

Message to the Community

 

September 14, 2020
 
Dear Armstrong Community,
 
In recent months, individuals and communities across the country have struggled with past and present evidence of racism and social injustice touching all institutions. Since May, and continuing all summer, we have witnessed devastating and heartbreaking events of racial violence, police brutality and social injustice in this country that have shaken all of us to the core. We know we must do better. At Armstrong we are committed to doing so.
 
With our growing awareness of diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) work, we recognize that we have made mistakes in the past, and that members of our community have been let down or hurt, despite our best intentions. We are aware that there is a difference between intentions and impact. For our hurtful actions or inactions, we are saddened and deeply sorry. Again, we know we must do better, and we are committed to doing so.
As a school, we have a unique opportunity to address racism and social justice. Our role is to be aware of the wider world and help our students make meaning of it.  As Donna Orem, President of National Association of Independent Schools, stated this summer, "As institutions across America are reckoning with systemic racism, I believe that schools can take the lead in addressing both historic and present-day injustice. We value and develop individual potential and build and nurture communities. Listening, learning, and growing are central to what we do. I believe this is an opportunity to make our schools safer, stronger, and active participants in the creation of a more just world."
 
Focusing on racial injustice and anti-racist practices as a full school community is still relatively new for us. DEI work is everybody's work. We know that this work is and will continue to be hard and that this work is never done.
 
Our Leadership Team, Board of Trustees, Faculty and Staff have embraced our school wide DEI work. We are currently preparing to bring that work to our students and families in a deeper more comprehensive approach.  Armstrong is committed to working against racism and toward equity and justice for all members of our community.
Our Commitments Going Forward
 
We commit to;
  • our strategic goal of striving to be an inclusive school community;
  • working harder towards having all voices represented and identifying what perspectives are not included in the conversation;
  • continuing to look at racism and hate and continuing to have the difficult conversations;
  • taking action to dismantle racist structures in our school and world;
  • supporting our community through this difficult time as we work toward a more just and equitable future, and to making space for racial healing and connection for all members of our community; 
  • making Armstrong a safe community for our students, families, faculty and staff of color, and where all members of our community can bring their authentic selves to school; 
  • continuing to raise awareness of the difference between intent and impact; and
  • ensuring that administrative policies and practices (recruiting, retention, enrollment) honor and embrace our DEI efforts.  
Work to Date
 
Board of Trustees
  • With the Leadership Team, set the strategic goal:  Strive to be a progressive school community where all members feel valued, included, and connected and declared DEI work a high priority in our efforts to become a truly inclusive community.
  • Confirmed that we have anti-discriminatory policies in place.
  • Increased diversity of the Board.
 
Leadership Team/Faculty/Staff
  • Created Co-Directors and Coordinator of Equity and Inclusion titles for community members leading the work, and dedicated time in their schedules to do the work. 
  • Conducted a community read of White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo; participated in professional development with CircleUp Education on diversity, bias and micro aggressions, and with Alison Park of Blink Consulting on foundational antiracism work.
  • Developed a community resource list focusing on systemic racism, socioeconomic disparity, and taking anti-racist action.
  • Began assessment of DEI practices and areas for growth within our community.
  • Ongoing DEI discussion lunches were implemented/held throughout the year. 
Students/Families
  • Started conversation, in a Parent Education session with our current families.
  • Prepared and adapted lessons from Pollyanna's racial literacy curriculum for pilot this year.
Goals for 2020/2021
 
Board
  • Review DEI board best practices to identify opportunities for improvement- strengthen efforts to ensure diversity in our Board Practices, including recruitment and training of Board members.
  • In partnership with the Leadership Team, identify the next steps to implement our strategic goal to be a more inclusive community and oversee implementation.
  • Engage in Board DEI training.
 
Leadership Team/Faculty/Staff
  • Develop DEI mission statement.
  • Assess as a community where we are on antiracist practices and develop a shared language and cultural competencies for all members of our community.
  • Support teachers in developing culturally competent instructional practices.
  • Explore affinity groups for faculty and staff.
Students/Families
  • Implement Pollyanna's racial literacy curriculum pilot in 5th and 6th grades, and expand to all grade levels in 2021-22.
  • Engage students in age-appropriate explorations of politics to prepare for the 2020 election.
  • Explore affinity groups for students.
  • Continue conversations and educational outreach with families.
Charles Armstrong School remains dedicated to working against racism and toward equity and justice for all members of our community, past, present and future.  We know this will take a commitment from all of us to do this work effectively. We ask you to join us in this critical effort so that together we can move towards the creation of an America where the lives of Black people, Indigenous people, and People of Color truly do matter and are treated with the dignity, respect, and care that all human beings deserve. 
 
Sincerely,
 





Jessica Miller 
Head of School 
 Beth Springer
Chair, Board of Trustees

 

We Value:

We are student-centered
Our instructional approach embraces neuro-diversity.
We nurture and celebrate individual strengths and talents.
We cultivate self-confidence and the joy of learning.    

We grow together.
Our highly-trained faculty foster continuous student growth within a supportive environment.
We educate and actively partner with families.

We honor community
Our students’ shared experience cultivates a sense of belonging.
Our families, faculty, and staff develop meaningful, lasting relationships.

 

We'd love to hear 
from you!

Charles Armstrong School
1405 Solana Drive
Belmont, CA 94002

Main Line: 650-592-7570

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