An Update & Invitation from the Anti-Racism Task Force

An Update & Invitation from the Anti-Racism Task Force

August 12, 2020


Dear Woodward Community,

As described in our communication on July 10we are listening and will continue to do so. We are grateful for the 600+ communications we have received, offering feedback, insights, and ideas to combat racism. Since then, the Anti-Racism Task Force has been hard at work, meeting weekly to make progress on the action steps we had previously outlined. We hope that you will join us for a DEI webinar on August 26 to hear an update on the work of the Task Force, which has included:

  • Developing a cohesive Anti-Discrimination Statement to use Academy-wide that is truly reflective of the type of learning environment we envision Woodward to be.
  • Conducting a complete analysis of how Middle School and Upper School decide a student's placement level and readiness to move to Honors Prep or Advanced Placement classes. Determining if any inequities exist within our population.
  • Revisiting the Employee Handbook and Student Handbook to strengthen our anti-discrimination policies.
  • Re-envisioning the "family of funds" under The Woodward Fund campaign to allow donors the opportunity to direct their funds to DEI work.
  • Creating a hate speech policy that specifically addresses the concerns we’ve heard from students, alumni, and parents regarding racially charged and/or insensitive language used at Woodward that will not be tolerated. This policy will include any such written or oral incidents of hate speech or use of certain words on social media platforms including reconciliation measures and disciplinary actions.
  • Continuing to listen to the voices of all members within the Woodward community through an annual, comprehensive climate survey that:
    • Assesses where any systemic racism or bias exists at Woodward.
    • Creates forums for community members to provide concrete ways to ensure our policies and procedures are equitably applied for all.
    • Measures effectiveness and holds leadership accountable for delivery of Anti-Racism goals.

Please know that we are aware of recent social media posts that have circulated, depicting inappropriate and insensitive language by Woodward students. Due to the fact that our students are minors and are protected under privacy laws, we are not able to disclose the specific nature of disciplinary actions. The Task Force will continue to work with Academy principals, administrators, and counselors to remind all students that they are expected to uphold Academy standards on social media and that their accounts become part of their public record that may affect their future.

As promised, and to keep our community informed by providing specific details about the important work summarized above, we hope you will be able to join us for the DEI Webinar hosted by members of the Anti-Racism Task Force.

DEI WEBINAR

Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Webinar 
hosted by members of the Anti-Racism Task Force

WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 26, at 4 P.M.

The session will be recorded.

If you have specific questions regarding the work of the task force in advance of the webinar, we invite you to submit them using THIS FORM. We will do our best to answer your questions during the webinar, but also will offer the opportunity to submit questions during the webinar via our live Q&A. The webinar will last approximately 60 minutes and will be recorded and posted on the DEI web page for viewing. I plan to deliver a separate message to our students upon their return to school.

As we mentioned, we truly appreciate your feedback, engagement, and your patience during this time as we work toward creating systemic change at Woodward. Most of all, thank you for your commitment to the betterment of our community. We truly believe that by working together, we can make a difference.

Sincerely,

F. Stuart Gulley
Vicki Palmer, Anti-Racism Task Force Chair