Sebastopol Charter Statement related to Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Access (DEIA)
At Sebastopol Charter, we are actively working towards a school where diversity, equity, inclusion and access are integral to the learning community. We believe this makes the best learning environment for all students, families and teachers. We want all children and families to feel welcome and valued and will do this by bringing awareness in particular to racism, gender inequity, gender identity, LGBTQ rights, socioeconomic status, family structure, health, physical and neurodevelopmental differences. In collaboration with school staff and administration, we hope to bring educational and parenting resources and address any unintended blind-spots and bias in programming. Our goal is to support the community of students, families and teachers to increase self-knowledge, cultural sensitivity and build alliances.
What does this look like at Sebastopol Charter?
Sebastopol Independent Charter School (SICS) is committed to respecting and welcoming all people. We most emphatically reject discrimination and actively work towards mutual understanding and positive engagement. SICS works to promote inclusivity and understanding.
We actively examine our practices as a reflection of our changing world. We recognize the historic and ongoing impact of racism around the world and the injustice and discrimination faced by Black, Brown, Indigenous and People of Color. We understand that racial justice in education is a journey of both moral and educational imperative.
Advancing diversity, equity, inclusion and access (DEIA) is one of the compelling forces behind our priorities. This priority aims to bring us closer to the world that we want for our youth. We are committed to an ongoing process of learning, listening and deepening our understanding of equity, inclusion, and justice. With reverence, we strive to create, embrace and support a diverse, equitable, inclusive, and just community where everyone feels respected, connected and valued.
We know that we have far to go as a school and as individuals in our understanding of racial oppression and social justice. Please join us by elevating your own commitment to social renewal and transformation.
We are interested in each other and welcome our community members’ different backgrounds, religions, identified race, gender identity, sexual orientation, linguistic preferences, neurodiversity, family diversity and whatever more that we can learn about, as we are all developing in various ways. We learn about each other and embrace our differences.
Through our social inclusion curriculum, we learn to include and not exclude each other. 8th grade students are specially trained in social inclusion identification, problem-solving and conflict-resolution in helping younger students on the playground.
We are committed to restorative discipline in which we aim to resolve conflicts by restoring our friendships and appropriate communication methods. Teachers are trained to implement this on a daily basis. We have a restorative discipline coordinator who works with students to restore situations that need more in-depth work.
In our curriculum through the grades, students learn about different people’s challenges and breakthroughs related to social injustices and prejudices. The students are inspired to learn about the changes in perspectives that others were able to influence, such as learning about historical events through biographies of people of different backgrounds. Our students receive tools for being resilient and being leaders in welcoming of each other and others.
A little history of the DEIA
The Diversity Equity and Inclusion Alliance (DEIA) was formed by a group of parents and faculty/staff who began meeting together in 2015 to actively work to support diversity, equity and inclusion as core values of our learning community. In the 2019-20 school year the format shifted to a smaller working-group approach, with two parent representatives, a teacher representative and the executive director.
Starting in the 2021-22 school year, the working group will include one returning and one new parent representative each year, with parent reps participating for two years, in addition to the two faculty/admin reps. All members of the school community are invited to participate in support of the DEIA by giving input to the parent/teacher reps, engaging in education opportunities and supporting group initiatives. The current representatives are Chris Topham (Executive Director), Lynne Struye (4th grade teacher), Francesca Soriano (Parent of 1st, 5th, 8th graders) and Caitlin Beale (parent of a 3rd grader).
Resources for our community to explore
Equity, inclusion and bias
- Novelist Chimamanda Ngozi: The Danger of a Single Story
- Disability rights activist Judith Heumann: Our fight for disability rights — and why we’re not done yet | Judith Heumann
- Crip Camp available on Netflix
- Freedom a short film by Joe Bluhm and Michale McDonald
- We all Have Implicit Biases. So What Can We Do About It? Dushaw Hockett
- Listening to the voices of LGBTQ people: https://itgetsbetter.org/stories/
Centering the experiences of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color
- The 1619 Project by The New York Times
- NPR’s Podcast “Code Switch“
Resources to help adults talk with children about diversity, equity and inclusion
- Why We need to talk to children about race Ted Talk by educator Biz Lindsay-Ryan
- Talking Race with Young Children from NPR
- Embrace Race: “In My Skin: Supporting Positive Racial Identity Development in Black Children Talking with Black Children“
- Embrace Race: Books to read with Children called “Fantastic Read-Aloud Books for Raising a Brave Generation.”
- The National Museum of African American History and Culture: Talking About Race.
- White Parents can use Media to Raise Anti-Racist Kids from Common Sense Media
- Amanda Gorman Poem Talking Gets Us There PBS Kids
- Teaching Hard History
Resources for addressing bias and being an ally
- Speak Up to be an ally, by Learning for Justice
- Surviving & Resisting Hate: A Toolkit For People of Color Immigration, Critical Race, and Cultural Equity Lab
- Anti-Racism Resources for the Asian American-Pacific Islander Community Cornell University
Support for LGBTQ+ Youth, Community Members and Allies
- Napa & Sonoma Counties LGBTQ Connection“, lgbtqconnection.org.
- North Bay LGBTQI Families (in-person groups with monthly get togethers for grade-school children)
- You are Not Alone ItGetsBetter.org
- The Trevor Project thetrevorproject.org
- Understanding the gender spectrum
- PFLAG – LGBTQ+ people, family and ally organization with local Santa Rosa chapter
Have suggestions, resources to share, or want to get involved? We’d love to hear from you. Email [email protected]
Sebastopol Charter shall be nonsectarian in its programs, admission policies, employment practices, and all other operations, shall not charge tuition, and shall not discriminate against any person on the basis of ethnicity, national origin, race, gender, disability, or any other characteristic designated in SB777 and as set forth in Section 47605(d) of the Education Code.