Establishment of the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Committee
 

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Task Force
In February 2019, an incident occured during Black History Month, involving a Colin Kapernick poster.That  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, 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 2019, Marilyn Ifegwu 2020, Gifty Kessie 2019, Cassiroyal Osei Poku 2019, Sathi Patel 2021, M’Bake Sarr 2019, Kalyn Agor 2019, 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 Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Transition Team was formed to make it a reality.

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion 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 Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion 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 DEI Committee.
 

DEI Committee
Stemming from the recommendations of the DEI TaskForce, the Abby Kelley Foster Charter Public School’s
Board of Trustees (BoT) approved the formation of the DEI Committee in June 2019, reporting directly to the
BoT. The committee is chaired by Siby Adina, Curriculum Coordinator, Elementary School and Celia Blue,
Board Co-Chair . The Committee was selected following a District wide application process where faculty,
staff, parents, and members of the Abby Kelley community were encouraged to apply.

The DEI 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.

List of 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. 

The books from this list and more are available at the AKF Elementary School. Please contact Joanne Wiggins, Elementary School Librarian. 

Additional DEI Committee Resources