Dear Wellington Community,
As our nation continues to reckon with the results of centuries of systemic racism and oppression, the Wellington community is confronting the existence and devastating effects of these systems in our own community. This conversation is taking place across many of our constituent groups, both offline and online. Simultaneously, students and alumni across the country are turning to social media platforms such as Instagram to shine a light on racial injustice and discrimination in schools with the hope of creating change in their own place of learning. In this spirit, a group of upper school students created a safe space to share stories of discrimination at Wellington. We thank those who have shared their experiences with us. Through these stories, we have seen important themes emerge, including systemic racism along with clear indicators that there is a great deal of healing and necessary culture change that we need to address.
Please know, we are listening, we are learning, and we are humbly reflecting on the part our school leadership has played.
The vulnerability of these testimonies will catalyze a stronger, more equitable, and affirming community for all. Ultimately, the accountability for change rests with the head of school and board of trustees chair, and we are committed to advancing this effort. We believe that deep and lasting change can occur when each member of our school family, past and present, embraces this work. Together, we have developed this action plan to guide our next steps in supporting and elevating each person in our community:
- Revisit Wellington’s student and faculty accountability policies and procedures as they relate to racism, gender-based discrimination, and harassment.
- Reinforce our commitment to being an anti-racist organization through formalizing ongoing professional development and training for all staffulty, incorporating anti-racist work in classrooms from pre-k through grade 12, auditing our curriculum for inclusion while extending this work into our family and community learning and speaker series.
- Expand and redefine our support systems for our students and families through strengthening affinity groups for students, alumni, and parents. To that end, we are committed to fostering a student culture of accountability where individuals feel safe, feel heard and feel supported when reporting racial and gender discrimination or harassment.
- Intentionally increase representation of diverse perspectives in our faculty, staff, and board of trustees.To that end, the board has established the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion committee, and we are currently working to identify students, parents, alumni, and staffulty to serve on this committee.
- Host listening sessions with our Black alumni to learn about their experiences, and shape a more positive experience for current and future Black students.
- Reimagine school celebrations such as Black History Month and our paid employee holiday schedule to reflect our belief that in order to fully realize our anti-racist vision, this inclusion must permeate all facets of our systems and how we operate including how we elevate and celebrate with our community.
We know we cannot do this alone. We are thankful that so many of you are passionate about building an anti-racist culture at Wellington, and we invite you to consider the following opportunities for your involvement:
- We invite our alumni who identify as Black to a listening forum. Our school leadership would like to hear about your experiences so that we may work together to create systemic change at The Wellington School. Sign up by clicking here.
- Become an alumni mentor. The Boys of Color Mentorship Program and Female Students of Color provide an opportunity for Black students to meet with alumni and staffulty to discuss life inside, outside, and beyond Wellington, receive guidance, and make connections that last a lifetime. Share your interest by clicking here.
- The Wellington Alumni Association Board shapes the way alumni are engaged and served through events, connection opportunities, and more. It is vitally important to have a diverse range of alumni voices at the table so that we may serve alumni properly. Share your interest by clicking here.
- Join us in courageous conversations on the Wellington Community Equity & Inclusion Panel as we listen and learn. Your perspective is vital to continue our journey in building a more equitable and just Wellington. Sign up by clicking here.
- Share your interest in serving on the Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Committee of our Board of Trustees as we continue to cultivate an environment that inspires, educates and actively supports our school community to effectively engage diversity and inclusion. Share your interest by clicking here.
- Service on our Board of Trustees begins with service on one of our board committees.To explore our board committees in-depth and indicate your interest in serving on other board committees, please fill out this form. Share your interest by clicking here.
We welcome your engagement in this important work. We hope you will join us in shaping the world by first shaping Wellington for the better.
Dr. Jeff Terwin Ted Manley
Head of School Chair of Board of Trustees