Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

In the past year, our country has experienced a period of awakening to racial and other social inequities. Many sectors of society, including schools, are undergoing an intense and overdue period of reckoning. This moment of reckoning calls on us to:

  • Confront the specter of White Supremacy, now exposed more plainly in a wider array of social life.
  • Transform the subtleties, silences, and absences in policies, structures, and practices that traditionally shape the dynamics that mold our communities.
  • Re-evaluate the pedagogical legacy of Waldorf education and Rudolf Steiner so that we meet and reflect all families. 

In June 2020, Concerned Parents of Color trusted the Waldorf School of Philadelphia enough to openly speak against patterns that hurt our community. Since then, our school has worked to lay a foundation for truly anti-oppressive teaching, learning, and leading. Prioritizing community reflections on undoing racism as a mindset, White fragility as a process, and anti-racism as a practice informs our institutional approach to this work today. 

We strive for a community where all students feel nurtured and loved deeply enough to develop their talents in the fullness of their humanity. We want our families to feel both supported by the school and connected to each other. We recognize that racism and White Supremacy anywhere (including within our school) is a crisis of epidemic proportions. We pledge to continue to work hard to make sure that families and children of color feel safe, supported, and included within this community. Without question, our school’s commitment to meaningful action is steadfast. 

As of July 2021, we have implemented all 10 recommendations made by Concerned Parents of Color in June 2020. The chart below outlines the specific actions we have taken. We recognize that these steps were overdue and, in continuing to prioritize this work, our aim is to implement best practices that we hope will eventually enable us to be a model of thoughtful, informed DEI work.

Recommendation  Status
1 Retaliation protections for families and staff who speak out against racism. A Non-Retaliation Policy was implemented in September 2020.
2 An accountability plan for addressing discrimination complaints or concerns. A Racism, Discrimination, and Bias Incident Protocol was approved and implemented in September 2020 and continues to be refined based on feedback from our community.
3 A sustainability plan for retaining families of color. Updates to our school's sustainability plan were completed in April of 2021. The new plan is informed by DEI professionals as well as learnings from a series of targeted training and workshops. The plan contains new features such as improved data collection, analysis and reporting protocols, and efforts that build and maintain inclusivity as a core value of our school. This plan will continue to evolve and we welcome the input and guidance of our new DEI Director to ensure our plan is updated and adapts to the needs of our school and community.
4 Adding diversity, equity, and inclusion practices to the teacher and faculty chair evaluations.   A new faculty DEI evaluation process, developed collaboratively by DEI professionals and our faculty, was completed in June 2021. We will continue to deepen this work in our school, in partnership with our newly appointed DEI Director.
5 The hiring of a private independent consultant who can serve to facilitate accountability circles and address the ongoing need for education and capacity building of staff and others in the community (person must be certified and trained on issues of race and social justice). Following a comprehensive search, Julian McNeil was hired as our DEI Consultant in September 2020. Mr. McNeil will continue to be engaged by the school through the transition of our new DEI Director onboarding process.
6 Hire a Diversity and Inclusion Director to provide ongoing support, management, and training for faculty, staff, parents, and the community. We are pleased to announce the hiring of our school's inaugural DEI Director, who will take up the position in August 2021. 
7 Create transparent standards for how harmful incidents will be addressed. A Racism, Discrimination, and Bias Incident Protocol was approved and implemented in September 2020 and continues to be refined based on feedback from our community.
8 Teachers/FDG/Administrators should have evaluations reviewed and approved by the board. Organizational changes made by our Board in February 2021 established a Head of School model which streamlines oversight and review of evaluation processes. The Head of School will meet regularly with the Board’s Executive Committee to provide updates regarding school operations, including Human Resources matters as well as to seek the Committee’s input and guidance.
9 A change of the board structure so the board supervises and provides oversight and accountability to the faculty chair. Changes to our organizational infrastructure were approved by the Board of Trustees at its February 2021 meeting. The changes establish a Head of School that reports to the Board. The Head of School is responsible for the oversight and accountability of the Faculty Chair.
10 A conflict of interest policy that requires all board and staff to state in writing any loyalty binds or dual relationships which will result in subsequent recusal from having the power to make decisions in matters of conflicting interest. A Conflict of Interest Policy was approved and implemented in July 2020.

Our Commitment to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

The Waldorf School of Philadelphia actively encourages and supports diversity, equity and inclusion in our community. We strive to deepen our understandings of each other and the world as they relate to and are reflected through heritage and areas of social justice. We welcome people from (but not limited to) all races, gender, identities, sexual orientations, socioeconomic statuses, ages, and religions. Our community works to embrace and deepen our own understanding of both our strengths, which support our goals for the inclusion of all, as well as the challenges hindering our progress towards these goals.

In addition to our stated commitment to diversity, we have also adopted the position statements of the Association of Waldorf Schools of North America (AWSNA) and adhere to the Association of Delaware Valley Independent Schools (ADVIS) Non-Discriminatory Policy as to Students.

Anti-Racism Resources for Parents

Many parents are looking for resources for talking about racial justice at this tragic time in our country. For resources visit our page Anti-Racism Resources for Parents.

Join our Work and Become Involved

Join our Diversity and Inclusion Committee. To contact the Diversity and Inclusion Committee at diversity@phillywaldorf.com.

   

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Fund

The Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion designation of the Annual Fund is an unrestricted gift to allow our school to expand and evolve diversity, equity, and inclusion programming and services. Make a gift to the Annual Fund 2021-2022 today by visiting phillywaldorf.com/give