August 10, 2020
An Open Letter from Head of School Dan Steinfield
In an open letter on June 23, 2020 I expressed our school’s conviction that racism is sinful and offensive. Over the last several weeks I have listened to students and parents who have shared their experiences of racial bias, cultural blindness, and marginalization within our community. Most recently, alumni voices are raising awareness of troubling experiences during their years at DC.
These experiences highlight how we have fallen short of our biblical mandate to act justly, love mercifully, and walk humbly, as well as our core value of community. On behalf of the DC community, I apologize to the Black members of our school community who have been suppressed, offended, or experienced hurt over the years. Such behavior is contradictory to our mission and vision and is unacceptable. I humbly make myself available to listen to and meet with any members of our community who desire to do so.
As we prepare for the upcoming school year, I want to update our community on the action steps we are taking and will continue to take to address racism in our community. Our efforts will be ongoing; we re-commit ourselves to promote equity and justice and to keep it at the forefront of our thinking, planning, and decision-making as an educational institution and in our community life conversations.
Action Steps for the 2020-21 School Year include:
- We have taken the step to onboard a part-time staff member to a newly developed role of Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) Director. This director will partner with the Head of School, administration, students, and parents to provide guidance and accountability to deliver our stated action steps. The Diversity and Inclusion Director will start out as a part time role with the plan to develop into a full time role in the future.
- Amplify the voice of the student-led Multi-Cultural Alliance, which will report regularly to the Head of the Upper School and Diversity and Inclusion Director to enhance the overall student experience.
- Create an advisory council of members of DC’s leadership, staff, parents, and alumni that includes members of our Black community to serve as a regular voice in strategic planning and executive decision making related to diversity and inclusion issues.
- Provide ongoing professional development for leadership, faculty, and staff in the areas of cultural competency and diversity, equity, and inclusion, and equip them to foster a just and safe educational culture for students of all backgrounds.
- Review and revise our reporting system for students, parents, and employees to share incidents of racial bias as well as enhance our protocols to resolve these concerns.
Additionally, we are further developing our recently announced strategic plan (March 2020) which calls for developing community across racial lines and becoming a more inclusive community. Areas that we will continue to pursue or begin exploring to achieve these crucial objectives include:
- Reviewing and updating curriculum to better reflect multiple perspectives so that all students see themselves represented and have the opportunity to learn from those who are different from themselves.
- Reviewing and supplementing classroom and school libraries to ensure diverse texts are available.
- Further diversifying our leadership, faculty, and staff.
- Advancing student programming and activities so that DC becomes a more inclusive and inviting place for all our students and families.
- Fostering dialogue on diversity, equity, and inclusion; amplifying marginalized voices and experiences; and being Gospel-centric with reconciliation and restoration as its aim.
As we move forward, I welcome your feedback on these and other initiatives that will make DC a more inclusive community.
DC’s community is one that desires to encompass diversity on many levels and yet, at the same time, find unity as we are all members of the body of Christ. Diversity and unity co-exist; this should be a hallmark of the DC community as we strive to know, better understand, love, and serve one another. In the days ahead, we will confront racism on all levels. We will seek to eliminate subtle racism, while recreating policies, procedures, and curricula that better reflect our biblical mandate to walk together in humility, brotherly love, and honor (Romans 12:10). I am thankful for a school community committed to biblical unity and on mission together as we seek to embrace diversity, live in unity, and walk humbly with our God.
He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. Micah 6:8
Soli Deo Gloria,
Head of School
FOR MORE INFORMATION: CONTACT HEAD OF SCHOOL DAN STEINFIELD @ DSTEINFIELD@DCCS.ORG.