Diversity, Equity, & Inclusivity at Headwaters

At Headwaters School, our Purpose is to cultivate identity formation, foster empathy, and embrace diversity to bring more peace to the world. In our PACT, we invite our community members to be Peacemakers, Advocates, Creators, and Thinkers. 

We recognize that words are not enough and we are engaged in ongoing work to bring this language to life in our students as well as our faculty, staff, trustees, parents and other community members.

In these days, weeks, and years of deep pain in our city and country related to racial injustice, we must recognize that peacemaking is not passive, and we must work relentlessly together in pursuit of a more just and equitable society. 

Our Commitment to Anti-Bias and Anti-Racist Education

Our school's foundation is grounded in the concept of personal agency and active peacemaking, and we will work to provide educational experiences for our students to help them grow as individuals in order to actively bring more peace to the world. This work includes recognizing the ways racism and privilege manifest in us as individuals and in our school community, and doing the work to dismantle systems that support them. 
We are working to implement and support a schoolwide Anti‐Bias/Anti-Racist education that:
  • Encourages learning about each other’s differences
  • Invites all students to be proud of themselves and their families
  • Teaches students to respect and honor differences, recognize bias, and to speak up for what is right
  • Encompasses gender, language, religious diversity, sexual orientation, physical and mental abilities, and economic class
  • Takes an active, problem-solving approach that is integrated into our curriculum and environment 
  • Promotes an understanding of social problems and invites students to invent strategies for improving social conditions
Credit to City Garden Montessori in St. Louis for some of this language and for being a leader in this work.

The AIM Process

During the 2018-2019 school year we conducted a school-wide process called the Assessment of Inclusivity and Multiculturalism (AIM) led by faculty member Lorena Germán. AIM is designed by the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) and is both a tool and process used to learn more about our attitudes, our demographics, our successes, our failures, and our hopes for our future. AIM provides schools with a deep understanding of the climate of inclusion on their campuses because school leaders need reliable information in order to further strategic equity goals. While the benefits of diversity, equity, and inclusion are often seen as intangibles, we believe they are central to our efforts to refine and improve the culture and learning environments at Headwaters. 

The AIM process was comprehensive and included two parts. One was quantitative in the form of an online community-wide survey and the other was qualitative and was executed in small focus groups. The results of this process influence our thinking and actions about how to make our school more welcoming, more diverse, and more equitable. Only by being in conversation can we generate the ideas needed to support all students in their journey toward identity formation and bringing more peace to the world.

In summer 2019, the Administrative team set goals for completing the following AIM recommendations. We've met some of the goals but we have much more work to do. You can email questions to the AIM committee at aim@headwaters.org.
Recommendation Area of the School Progress
Develop a mission statement for diversity, inclusivity, and multiculturalism (ABAR work) and set actionable, measurable goals for the work Operations & Administration In Progress
Board of Trustees undergoes trainings and participates in discussions about diversity, multiculturalism, and inclusivity in order to embed that into its work effectively. School governance & leadership Planned for Fall 2020
Ensure school community is familiar with the board and administration in order to rectify any misperceptions. School governance & leadership Ongoing
Provide accessible and effective professional development (PD) opportunities for the integration of multiculturalism into the curriculum. Guides & Staff Life Ongoing
Develop a fundraising strategy to recruit and retain families from low socioeconomic backgrounds. Admissions & Financial Aid Needs Further Action
Develop a recruitment strategy to reach families of color, students with varied disabilities, families of various socioeconomic backgrounds and families with religious practices. Admissions & Financial Aid Needs Further Action
Offer parents resources and education in the area of diversity and multiculturalism. Parent-Guardian Involvement Ongoing; more scheduled for Fall 2020
Embedding a wellness approach that addresses teasing, student action, advocacy and coping with teasing. Student Life Needs Action
Create webpage with AIM details and progress of recommendations Communications & Community Complete; will be updated with ongoing progress

Enid Lee, Canadian educator and consultant

I use the term anti-racist education because a lot of multicultural education hasn't looked at discrimination. It has the view 'People are different and isn't that nice,' as opposed to looking at how some people's differences are looked upon as deficits and disadvantages. In anti-racist education, we attempt to look at--and change--those things in school and society that prevent some differences from being valued.

We are inspired by these Anti-Bias Education resources:

  1. Each child will demonstrate self-awareness, confidence, family pride, and positive social identities.
  2. Each child will express comfort and joy with human diversity; accurate language for human differences; and deep, caring human connections.
  3. Each child will increasingly recognize unfairness, have language to describe unfairness, and understand that unfairness hurts.
  4. Each child will demonstrate empowerment and the skills to act, with others or alone, against prejudice and/or discriminatory actions.
Teaching Tolerance’s Social Justice Standards
The Social Justice Standards from Teaching Tolerance are a set of anchor standards and age-appropriate learning outcomes divided into four domains—identity, diversity, justice and action (IDJA). The standards provide a common language and organizational structure for anti-bias education at every grade level.

Springs Campus

18 months to Pre-K
6305 Menchaca Rd.
Austin, TX 78745
Phone: 512-443-8843

Creek Campus

Elementary School
9607 Brodie Ln.
Austin, TX 78748
Phone: 512-804-2708
Fax: 512-628-4810

River Campus

Middle & High School
807 Rio Grande St.
Austin, TX 78701
Phone: 512-480-8142
Fax: 512-480-0278