In recent weeks, we have witnessed violence towards Black people in parts of the country and heard painful experiences shared by people of color in our own community. Citizens for Needham Schools (CNS) stands in solidarity with Black people and people of color across the country, and particularly within the Needham Public Schools community, including students, their families, employees, staff, and administrators.
CNS strongly believes that racial equity and the end of systemic racism are foundational elements to providing all students with a quality education. Our mission is to support the best possible education for all students in the Needham Public Schools through fostering an exchange of information and ideas about Needham Schools. In alignment with our mission, we commit to supporting and furthering the anti-racist work that lies ahead in the following ways:
Include and Amplify Diverse Voices We will seek out and establish connections with people and groups in the community that have historically been under-represented and include their perspectives and feedback in our conversations with School Committee members and NPS administrators. Additionally, we will prioritize people of color in our recruitment of new board members.
Support and Strengthen NPS Equity Work We will request periodic updates from the School Committee and NPS administrators on the progress of the REAL Coalition and share that information with the community. We will also use our platform to highlight and promote anti-racist events and initiatives by school and student groups.
Provide Community Education We will continue to provide information to the community on NPS equity and anti-racist intiatives and their connection to the Portrait of a Needham Graduate Competencies and the District Priorities. We will also increase our own efforts to become more actively anti-racist as individuals and as a board.
We have closely followed the efforts of Needham Public Schools over the past few years to focus on equity for all students and to address systemic racism, and we understand there is much work still to be done both within our schools and in the broader community. The Equity Audit conducted in 2017, which has formed the foundation of subsequent equity work in our schools, was initiated by a group of parent advocates who brought to light racist practices within our district. Their persistence and courage in speaking out was a catalyst for change in our schools, and should serve as an inspiration to all of us. When schools, parents, and community members work together for change, all students benefit.
CNS sees our role as facilitating communication and collaboration between educators, families, and community members, and we hope you will share your thoughts and ideas with us to strengthen racial equity and inclusion in the Needham Public Schools. Please seek out a board member or email us at CNSNeedham@gmail.com.