I am writing this letter to all members of the Breakthrough community: families, staff members and trustees.
At Breakthrough, we condemn the murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis police officers. We acknowledge that our country was built upon systemic racism, which we must work to dismantle. Honesty with ourselves and our children about this reality is absolutely necessary.
The intensifying demonstrations across our country shine light on the urgent need for thoughtful and effective anti-bias, antiracist education. Over the weekend, D. Ann Williams, Montessori for Social Justice Marketing Director, addressed Montessori educators with the following words: “Stop hiding behind politeness and respectability. As Montessori educators we are tasked with guiding the child and preparing them for the realities of the world. The United States is racist. Full stop. The entire police force needs to be overhauled. Full stop. Our schools need to be anti-racist. Our police force needs to be anti-racist. Our government needs to be anti-racist.” Maya Martin Cadogan, Founder and Executive Director of PAVE (Parents Amplifying Voices in Education) wrote today that “we need ‘business as usual’ to transform into ‘equity as necessary.’”
To all who have joined our community, entrusted your children to us, and dedicated your professional efforts to this school, we owe you a commitment to do more and do better. For the 2020-21 school year, Breakthrough Montessori is undertaking the following work:
It will take every one of us to transform Breakthrough into an authentically antiracist school. It will take every one of us to free our children from this legacy of unequal treatment. Thank you for being a part of this important work.
- Deepen our anti-bias work in the classroom so that children feel pride in their own identities, feel joy with human diversity, recognize unfairness, and develop the skills to act against prejudice.
- Continue to provide training in systemic racism and anti-bias education for staff members and extend similar opportunities to parents and family members.
- Develop and train an institutional antiracism team to lead Breakthrough toward long-term structural and programmatic transformation.
- Increase transparency and honor our community’s right to hold us accountable for our words, decisions and actions.