The Agnes Irwin School's Commitment

The letter below was shared with the Agnes Irwin community on June 26, 2020.

Dear Agnes Irwin Community,

In our June 10 letter, we outlined several steps already taken this year to amplify our diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives in support of our commitment to being an anti-racist institution — but we know that the conversations we've engaged in, the processes we've developed, and the training we've undertaken are only the beginning of this work. We are deeply sorry for the painful experiences shared by Black and Brown members of our community, and for our failure to foster an environment where our entire community always feels heard, affirmed, and celebrated. Many students and alumnae have called on us to do more, shared their own stories with us, and proposed action steps they believe our school should take. We are grateful for their voices, guidance, and engagement, and look forward to our continued partnership on these vital issues.

Our Commitment

Beginning immediately, The Agnes Irwin School commits to:

  • Recruit, hire, and retain more Black faculty, staff, and administrators, as well as individuals of other underrepresented experiences.
  • Change our curricula to diversify the voices represented, making it more inclusive, anti-racist, and reflective of a contemporary academic experience that prepares students for the world they are a part of.
  • Require expanded diversity, equity, and inclusion training for our faculty, staff, administration, and Board of Trustees.
  • Increase our professional development programming on culturally competent, culturally responsive, and anti-bias education, as well as training focused on the ability to manage and address difficult situations in the classroom.
  • Revise our school handbooks and incident reporting and discipline procedures to ensure safe, clear, consistent, fair, and equitable policies.
  • Conduct an anonymous survey of AIS constituents to assess our school climate and use this data to develop action steps aimed at creating a more equitable and inclusive community for all.
  • Expand our parent programming (including the SEED program) to give families the knowledge and tools they need to partner with us in educating our students for a global, diverse, and multicultural world.
  • Increase programming for our student body to provide affinity spaces and opportunities for education to ensure a school culture that aligns with our core values, is safe for all of our students, and where they are empowered and encouraged to be allies and upstanders.
  • Continue to evolve and grow our commitment to ongoing collaboration and regularly-scheduled updates with our alums, students, and families as we learn more from our community.

Core Values and Community Standards

We firmly believe that every adult at The Agnes Irwin School must be committed to the safety and socio-emotional well-being of the students in our care. We take seriously any allegations that suggest that any member of our community has operated outside of that commitment, and are taking necessary steps to ensure that every educator operates within the standards of excellence we expect at The Agnes Irwin School.

An Invitation to Ongoing Partnership

In mid-July, our entire community is invited to participate in Agnes Irwin's Summit on Racial Justice. This event will include focus groups for students, alumnae, faculty and staff, and parents; information about steps we are taking as a school to strengthen and expand our DEI efforts; and opportunities to work together to develop systemic solutions to make our school a better environment for all current and future students, families, faculty, staff, and alumnae. We are in the process of finalizing the timing and program for this event, and will share more details by July 10.

Please know that we welcome your continued input at dei@agnesirwin.org. We appreciate the opportunity to partner with you on this important work.

Sincerely,

Wendy Hill, Ph.D., P'21
Head of School

Sally Keidel P'27
Head-Elect

Ginny Sharp Williams '88 P'20
Chair of the Board of Trustees

Camille Seals P'30
Assistant Head of School for Academics & Inclusive Excellence

Jacques Vauclain P'21 '26
Trustee
Chair of Board Committee on Equity & Inclusion

Alexandra Fergusson Powell '00
President, Alumnae Association
Trustee, ex officio

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