June 12, 2020
Dear C&C Community:
As we bring our 105th school year to a close, our community and country is navigating a historic set of challenges. This new pandemic, compounded by the most recent violence against Black lives, has exposed the fragility of our social structures. Our awakening to how deeply rooted social and racial injustice is embedded in this country and in our systems has been painful to own. At the same time, these crises have given voice and visibility to the strength, healing, creativity, and power that is generated when we come together, engage in deep self-reflection, accept responsibility, and commit to each other’s humanity.
As with previous crossroads in history, we’ve been given another chance to acknowledge the past, use it to inform the present, and reimagine and create a more honorable future.
The Board of Trustees wants to use this moment of reflection to strengthen our community and realign with our progressive values. We are learning that the strongest way to build community is to be reflective, grounded, and engaged. We use C&C’s mission, values, and history to guide us, but it takes more than that. We’re learning that we need to see the whole community and not just center our policies, practices, budgets, and culture in privilege or in whiteness. Inclusion means everyone is valued, everyone is seen and heard, and everyone is empowered.
We’re learning and will persist at the hard work of identifying ways our actions and organizational structures serve to either replicate or disrupt anti-Black racism, so that we can make concrete changes. We understand that this humanizing work has to be shared, while acknowledging that Black and Brown members of our community are impacted most by the structures that maintain inequities. Lastly, the Board recognizes that in order for us to be effective in our stewardship, we have to value active listening and be responsive to all those whom we serve.
With even more urgency, we will persist with discussing and learning about the distinct layers of systemic racism, and we will also take strategic action to oppose it. In its place, we will continue building diversity, equity, and inclusion at our school.
Words are meaningless without actions to back them up, and we are working on specific steps we can take at the Board level to engage with and support this work across the School. We will be sharing more with the community about these plans in the coming months, ahead of the new school year. The Board is committed to growing with the community in our anti-racist work and supporting it with ongoing reflection, resources, visibility, engagement, and accountability.
These insights are powerful gifts to hold onto, and we are eager to integrate them into our work next year and in our next phase of long-term strategic planning.
On this last day of the school year, we wanted to take Scott’s words to heart, that, “How we end matters and impacts how we begin next year,” and to acknowledge the strength and tenacity of this community.
The Board lifts up our Principal for his dedication, thoughtful and consistent care; our senior admin team and staff for their incredible adaptability and responsiveness; our faculty for their astounding innovation and courage; our families for their deep patience and generosity; and our students for always teaching and inspiring us to be better. In addition, over the last few weeks, the parent engagement in our remote learning focus groups has been vibrant and constructive, helping us plan for a safer return to School. We thank the entire community for its courage and strength of purpose in getting to the end of this school year and allowing it to inspire how we look ahead.
In the C&C tradition of using music to encourage, learn, and grow, we leave you with the words of “Ella’s Song,” dedicated to Ella Baker: “We who believe in freedom cannot rest.” Now is everything, as we work towards making our community whole and imagine a society where true equity becomes the new normal.
With enormous gratitude for your support and commitment to City & Country,
John Kolz, Board Chair, XIs & XIIIs Parent
Veronica Rivera Savage, DEI Committee Chair, XIs Parent
Scott Moran, Principal, IXs & XIIIs Parent
On behalf of the Board of Trustees of City and Country School