Jefferson Huang, Ph.D., president of The St. Paul's Schools, shared the following messages with members of The St. Paul's Schools community.
June 13, 2020
Dear Members of The St. Paul's Schools Community,
Over the last two weeks, we have engaged in a series of forums with employees, students, parents, and alumni to process the tragic killings of George Floyd and other members of the Black community and to discuss the racial inequality that is still pervasive in America. We want to thank all those who participated in these conversations—who voiced their sadness and outrage, who listened to learn, and who spoke with great conviction about the need for change—change that must begin within our own school community. Thank you for being courageous and for speaking your truth.
To the Black members of our community, your lives matter. What has emerged from the forums is a clear call to action, and we write today to provide details on how we are moving forward. We, the leaders of The St. Paul's Schools, recognize that real, enduring social change will only be possible when each of us—as individuals and individual institutions—commits to becoming better. It is not enough to say we reject racism and bigotry in all forms. We must act with purpose to ensure that St. Paul's truly is an inclusive and respectful climate for all and to eradicate prejudice and the marginalization of any students on our campus.
To fully achieve our shared vision requires ongoing reflection and intentional planning. Based on our own self-studies and the comments we heard in the forums, this work falls into the following main categories.
- Above all, we must foster a culture where each student can be his or her authentic self and feel safe, loved, and appreciated.
- We are committed to evaluating our curriculum to ensure that all students see themselves reflected.
- We will continue to invest in professional learning for our faculty and staff to help develop cultural competencies and an equity mindset.
- It is critical that we strengthen our hiring practices so that our administrators, faculty, and staff come from more diverse backgrounds and our students see adults who "look like them."
- Finally, we know that open dialogue builds understanding and that we must continue these community conversations and hold ourselves accountable for progress
We want you to know this work will persist, even when the headlines and protests quiet down and our national attention shifts to other issues. Our next series of community forums will be held in mid-August, and we will provide additional details this summer. We also will begin outlining concrete action items for the five areas of focus listed above—work that will inform our next strategic plan.
As Episcopal schools, we are grounded in our mission to educate hearts and minds in an inclusive community. Service and justice are two pillars of the Episcopal faith, and we are grateful to all of you who are doing the hard work of building a better future and a more just and peaceful world.