Advocacy and Peacemaking for Racial Justice

Ted Graf, Head of School
 
Dear Headwaters School Community, 

We condemn the racism and injustice that is woven into the fabric of our country. 

Black lives matter.

As a school community dedicated to advocacy and peacemaking, we must be a part of the solution. We care deeply about our Black students, faculty, staff, parents, and community members who are feeling the pain of years, decades, and centuries of systemic racial injustice.  

Words alone are not enough. We know we must do the work. We know that accountability is ongoing. Here are the actions we have taken and will take in the coming months to do our part in creating change. 

AIM Process
During the 2018-2019 school year we conducted a school-wide process called the Assessment of Inclusivity and Multiculturalism (AIM). AIM was designed by the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) as both a tool and process to learn more about our attitudes, our demographics, our successes, our failures, and our hopes for our future. The AIM process was comprehensive and included two parts: a community-wide survey and small focus groups called discovery groups. The results of this process influence our thinking and actions about how to make our school more welcoming, more diverse, and more equitable. 

AIM Progress
Last summer, the Administrative team set goals for completing the AIM recommendations. A large part of our work this school year was focused on faculty and staff trainings, which included work with Beyond Diversity; AISD Office of Cultural Proficiency Workshops (Isolating Race, The 6th C, Words Have Power); Equity Space; UT Teaching Texas Slavery Workshop; Workforce Solutions Interactions Matter Symposium; White Fragility Book Club; and training with Tiffany Jewell of Montessori for Social Justice on creating anti-biased, anti-racist classrooms. Students participated in Social Justice courses, the No Place For Hate Youth Summit, Civil Rights Day, and reading and studying texts and stories that amplify voices of color.  

Upcoming Work
Though we've made progress on some of our goals, we have much more work to do. This includes:
  • Developing a mission statement for diversity, equity, and inclusivity.
  • Providing more training about diversity and equity for board members, faculty/staff, students, and parents.
  • Providing accessible and effective professional development opportunities for the integration of anti-racist and anti-bias education into the curriculum.
  • Developing and offering regular training and education on anti-racism for parents.
  • Developing a recruitment strategy to better connect with families of color.

We are building a webpage to track our progress and create a higher level of accountability around these goals, and we will share the link to that page in the coming weeks.

Summer Reading Invitation
As we have done for several years, we are inviting our faculty and staff to participate in a shared summer reading. This year we are opening it up to parents and students who wish to join us, and we are offering three book choices by Black authors. In August or September we will host a discussion for each of these books. 
We are committed to listening, learning, and growing as Peacemakers, Advocates, Creators, and Thinkers. It has never been more important to reassert our purpose of cultivating identity formation, fostering empathy, and embracing diversity to bring more peace to the world. I invite you all to join me in making that commitment to progress in our community and beyond.

Sincerely,

Ted

Ted Graf
Head of School
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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