Working together on the path forward for diversity
This past Tuesday, faculty and staff met with diversity consultant Martha Haakmat as part of our in-service training day. Martha is a former head of school from Brooklyn Heights Montessori School in New York City, and now devotes her full time to diversity training in schools around the country.
For the faculty and staff, this was a good first step forward in thinking more about ways we can build naturally on the school’s commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion, and anti-racism. During the training, teachers had time to reflect on their own experience and journey when it comes to diversity. Martha helped us explore some of the vocabulary that is often used in diversity work, so that teachers and staff can share a common language to help in discussing these topics together and with others.
Probably the biggest takeaway from this training was for all us to better understand that the best path forward is one where we don’t see diversity work as something “extra” to be added on top of already busy schedules. Instead, we can examine what we’re already doing everyday through the lens of diversity. Taking small steps forward each day is realistic and effective. Teachers also realized that we’re all in this together. None of us knows all the right answers for how to best move forward on this path. Yet we can work together to figure this out. And no one needs to feel alone in making this journey.
This feels like such a Montessori way to do things. Maria Montessori expected students to develop the skills needed to be responsive to the world in which they lived. If she lived today, she would be the first to acknowledge that the world has changed dramatically in the last century. She would continue to insist that students as life-long learners always ask the question, “what’s next?” If our students are going to become leaders in creating a more humane world, it is important that we as teachers and parents be lifelong learners ourselves, modeling our own commitment to self-growth, collaboration with others, and problem solving.
Are you interested in joining others in the work of diversity, equity, inclusion, and anti-racism? We’d be glad to have parents involved as well. I look forward to keeping everyone in our school community informed about our progress along the way.