Dear Monterey Bay Charter School Community,
2020 revealed many flaws in our systems and the need for change. The impact systemic racism has on all black indigenous people of color (“BIPOC”) cannot be denied. The marches and protests last year were a response to voices that have long been ignored. These demonstrations are a call to action for all of us. It is crucial we teach our children,regardless of race, ethnicity or background, the truths of our past, the current conditions we live in, and what changes we must make to create a more diverse and inclusive world for everyone.
This past year, MBCS created a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (“DEI”) taskforce. The DEI Taskforce is comprised of the following individuals: Candace Villarta, Communications Manager; Jessica Guzzi, Director; Jazmin Ventura, 1st grade teacher; Anne Wyatt, 2nd grade teacher; Joy Scarola, 3rd grade teacher; Steven Starks, 7th grade teacher; Luke Samuels, parent and educator; Parisa Gomez, parent and educator; Sara Youngbar, parent and educator; and Cassandra Bridge, Executive Director.
The mission of the DEI taskforce is to: strengthen and uphold the values of diversity, equity, and inclusion in all areas of the community. Together, we have been working on a roadmap to implement much-needed change into our school culture, curriculum, and policies. Examples of these changes and activities include re-examining our curriculum, purchasing new readers that highlight stories from black indigenous people of color and various cultures, adding school murals that represent diversity on campus, applying for grant opportunities that would help fund our work, adding monthly professional development for staff and participating in yearly conferences, to name a few. Our goal is to change the narrative from white-dominant to one that reflects all people and cultures.
The first step of our plan was to pass a Resolution to Establish Equity Policies with our school board. This resolution was passed in July 2020. The next step was to create a brief outline, a roadmap if you will, to begin implementing change. We have given ourselves ample time to implement these changes as we recognize real and effective change takes time. We still have a lot of work to do. Real change begins with examining our own personal beliefs and building a culture of inclusion. In addition, we must move towards more inclusive and equitable practices and school policies. Lastly, it means examining the curriculum we present to our students through a lens of diversity, equity and inclusion for all.
We are deeply grateful to the staff and community members who are raising their voices to encourage new ways of working together and presenting our curriculum to our students. We will also call upon our students to exercise their voices and become agents of change in our communities. We intend to have complete transparency in our work. We welcome your ongoing feedback and personal reflection. Moving forward, we plan to utilize parent and student surveys to gain a better understanding of the change you would like to see in our school culture.
If you are interested in becoming a member and taking up the work in our DEI taskforce, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org. We meet every Monday afternoon from 4:30-5:30pm via Zoom.
Monterey Bay Charter School’s mission is to inspire joyful learning and courageous living! We must model our mission for our students. Ultimately, change starts with us.
Committed to equity and inclusion for all,
Monterey Bay Charter School Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Taskforce