This letter was shared with our alumni community on June 4th. A similar letter was also sent to current Upper School students, faculty and staff prior to graduation.
Dear Alumni and Friends,
These past months have been unlike anything we have experienced together. Most recently, as a nation and within our Milton community, the tragic deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, and others have caused feelings of fear, outrage, and pain.
In a message to our students, faculty, and staff sent over the weekend, we unequivocally condemned racist violence, systemic injustice, and bigotry. Some of you took to social media to share stories about your own experiences at Milton and implored us to take action to fully live our ideals and mission. Thank you.
Please know this: We hear you and acknowledge that we are not immune to racial inequities and injustices. We can and must do better to foster inclusion and equity throughout our School. We are committed to doing this critical work, as complex and uncomfortable as it may be at times.
Our obligation to take anti-racist action, especially here on our campus, remains essential to living our principles. We do not have every answer, and we will not always get it right. But we must make progress, and we are committed to doing so. We must fully represent our values.
Today, we provide an update on our ongoing work. We realize that this is only a beginning but hope it will provide some needed clarity. In January, our Board of Trustees endorsed a Strategic Plan for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) with five main pillars. Aligned with the plan, and in response to current events referenced above, we will begin with the following initiatives that we have communicated today to our Upper School students:
- Assessing our academic program, across all grades and departments, including those named specifically by students and alumni. We will identify areas in which we build multicultural knowledge and employ inclusive instruction. We will also identify areas of weakness. We will use this knowledge to build a stronger, more consistent program to develop cultural competency and the understanding of culture, identity, and anti-racist action. In that context, we will expand the teaching of systemic oppression and create connections between the social effects of racism and the lived experience of individuals. We will include these considerations as we prepare for potential hybrid-learning models for the 2020–21 academic year.
- Deepening our diversity and equity training programs for all faculty and staff, including expansion of anti-bias training for all new faculty and staff to ensure that all employees practice inclusion, understanding, and empathy across differences. We will continue to train employees in critical roles, such as Campus Safety officers, to increase their ability to engage with all members of our community. Additional opportunities for feedback will be created.
- Dedicating time throughout the academic year to engage the entire School in anti-bias and anti-racist education.
- Ensuring that we have adults in our community who mirror the student population, in whom students can seek connection and support. We will review current recruitment practices and develop enhanced strategies to further our hiring and retention efforts for faculty and staff of color, with particular attention to hiring Black teachers.
- Using feedback and data to measure and refine our goals. This year’s student survey identified some of the elements listed above—curriculum, community education, and time—which require greater attention. We are developing a DEI dashboard to help track and assess our progress; our Board of Trustees has committed to holding us accountable for improvement.
- Supporting local and national organizations that educate others about, and provide resources for, the support and care of marginalized communities. Although our non-profit status and the restricted nature of our endowment limit our ability to financially support other organizations meaningfully, there is more we can do to support issues of anti-racism, intersectional identities, and youth support.
These efforts will define us, individually and collectively. As we look to graduate 187 seniors tomorrow, we know that the Class of 2020 is ready to go out into the world with strong, empathetic hearts and capable minds; they’re prepared to champion justice and equality for themselves and others. We make a commitment to you—and to all our students, current and future—to do more for equity and justice at Milton and throughout our broader community. We invite you to share any further questions or concerns with us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Todd B. Bland
Head of School
Director of Multiculturalism and Community Development