Abby Kelley Foster Charter Public School is committed to fostering a diverse, equitable and inclusive school community for students, faculty, staff, families, and community partners to feel supported, valued, and safe. It is our goal to create and preserve an environment that welcomes all members regardless of cultural experiences, learning styles, race, ethnicity, nationality, gender identity, sexual orientation, ability, religion, and socioeconomic status.
Resources to have Conversations about Racism and Social Justice
Books are a great way to start the conversation with children and young adults in age-appropriate ways. Here is a list from the Anti-Defamation League for elementary and middle school students. Here is a list for young adults and adults.
Establishment of the DEI Advisory Committee
DEI Task Force
In February 2019, an incident occurred during Black History Month, involving a Colin Kapernick poster. The incident was the catalyst for the convening of a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Task Force that included, Celia J. Blue PP’18, Trustee and Co-Chair; Kelly Davilla, IB Coordinator; Brian Gero, Asst. Middle School; Brian Haas, Former Executive Director and Co-Chair, Robert T. Jones,T. Lee Associates, Consultant & Subject Matter Expert, Susan Scully-Hill, Ph.D., Former Board Member, Sophronia Woods, Guidance Counselor; Bibiche Zagabe-Ndiku, P’21, ’23, PP’ 17, ’18.
The Task Force working with the following students, parents and staff; William Gitau ’19, Naleigha Evans ’20, Gregroy Asare ’19, Shawn Odanga ’19, Marilyn Ifegwu ’20, Gifty Kessie ’19, Cassiroyal Osei Poku ’19, Sathi Patel ’21, M’Bake Sarr ’19, Kalyn Agor ’19, Triniere Rodriguez, (High School Art teacher); Shelly Yarnie P’30, PP’19 (Trustee), Kelly Davilla, (IB Coordinator) and Glen Wilson, (High School Special Education staff member). Together, they accomplished:
- Two High School Student Forums on March 29 & April 3, 2019 Kaepernick & Beyond; A Conscious Dialogue on Community for grades 8-10 and grades 11-12
- Culture Day Workshops on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, facilitated by College of the Holy Cross students through Rob Jones of T. Lee Associates.
During the June 2019 Board of Trustees, (BoT), meeting the DEI Task Force presented their report which included the recommendation of establishing a standing DEI committee that would report to the BoT. The BoT concurred and the DEI Transition Team was formed to make it a reality.
DEI Transition Team
From June through October 2019, the DEI Transition Team met and strategized how to make the DEI Committee into a reality. The members of the team were Celia Blue, Brian Haas and Rob Jones. They met and came up with a plan to populate the committee with the following in mind: Creation of a standing DEI Committee at AKF that includes representation of parents, faculty, students, administration, board members and community partners. The overarching goal of the committee will be to ensure that AKF will continue to be an inclusive and culturally responsive learning environment where staff, faculty and administration continue to be committed to providing a high-quality education to a diverse student population.
In addition, the purpose of the committee will be to plan, develop, oversee the implementation of a DEI plan, develop a policy statement, initiatives, and monitor/measure effectiveness of initiatives within the district. The Committee will also be responsible for ensuring a continuous improvement process is in place that elicits feedback from all AKF stakeholders (students, faculty, staff, administration, board members, community members) and demonstrates that all feedback is heard and valued as we move towards inclusive excellence.
The DEI Transition Team developed the criteria for members of the committee and a timeline to get the committee started. In the meantime, a decision was made to start professional development with the senior administrators in the district. A book study on the book, White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo was started in August 2019 and concluded in September after three sessions. In October 2019 we held two information sessions on the DEI for the AKF community to answer questions about participation on the DE&I Committee.
Stemming from the recommendations of the DEI TaskForce, the BoT approved the formation of the DEI Advisory Committee in June 2019, reporting directly to the BoT. The committee is co-chaired by Siby Adina, Curriculum Coordinator, Elementary School and Celia Blue PP’18, Board Chair. Committee members was selected following a District wide application process inviting faculty, staff, parents, and members of the Abby Kelley community to apply.
The DEI Advisory Committee at AKF is a standing committee that includes representation of parents, faculty, students, administration, board members, and community partners. The overarching goal of the Committee is to ensure that AKF will continue to be an inclusive and culturally responsive learning environment where staff, faculty, and administration continue to be committed to providing a high quality education to a diverse student population. In addition, the purpose of the Committee is to develop and oversee the implementation of a DEI plan and monitor the effectiveness of initiatives within the district.
The Committee will also be responsible for ensuring a continuous improvement process is in place that elicits feedback from all AKF stakeholders (students, faculty, staff, administration, board members, community members) and demonstrates that all feedback is heard and valued as we move towards inclusive excellence.