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Dear students, alums, families, and the greater Winchendon School community

 

Thank you for energizing this very important conversation and accelerating this work – work that we are fully committed to. On behalf of The Winchendon School, we apologize for our failure to move quickly, boldly, and assertively to address issues of race, racism, inclusion, and justice, and we appreciate winch_bipoc_voices and other conversations that have invigorated this critical initiative and compelled us toward action.

 

We hear you, we see you, and we are reaching out to you to partner for next steps. Like you, we have been appalled, hurt, and angered by the events in our country surrounding the murders of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Atatiana Jefferson, and countless others. And like you, we know change needs to begin on our own campuses to confront the institutional racism that exists at our school. Our impact learning and campus engagement (Service Learning, ColLABs, DEI week, Affinity Groups) has been a small start, but as you’ve shown, more needs to be done, and it needs to be done now.

 

We ask that you consider partnering with us so that we can become a more fair, just, and equitable school that has the courage to confront racism within and outside The Winchendon community, and to put together the programs and education that will help us fulfill our commitment to making The Winchendon School a safe and welcoming school for all students.

 

We are committed to the following:

 

  1. Listening. Listening very carefully. And then acting thoughtfully, quickly and without conditions.
  2. Supporting winch_bipoc_voices, which we value as a space for our students and alums to safely share stories that need to be heard. In addition, we have created a new anonymous and attributable incident report form for community members to formally archive incidents of racism, prejudice, and bias that occur at our School so that we can actively address them.
  3. The establishment of an independent audit process that will provide a report back to the community on the status of racism and race at The Winchendon School, with that report being delivered back to the community and the Board of Trustees. In addition, we will further energize the current Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee to comprehensively represent both campuses, and we are enthusiastic about developing an alumni of color committee to act as a conduit for important feedback as well as provide mentoring and support for current students of color. 
  4. Continue and significantly enhance training that will specifically address microaggressions, racism, and bias in all aspects of the student experience on both campuses. 
  5. Implement improved mentoring, advising, and counseling support so that Winchendon is a safe and supportive place for all students to learn and faculty to work.
  6. Increase student input on speakers to come to campus for all school meetings and workshops.
  7. Continue and increase specific anti-racist workshops throughout each year.
  8. Enhance and adapt our academic curriculum to more effectively engage and educate students in diversity, equity, inclusion, alongside social and environmental justice.

 

By listening to your stories, we can better understand the school that we are, and take action toward becoming the community we want to be.  We want to hear your voices, even the information that is painful to hear.  We are here to serve and support you.  No steps backward.  

 

John Kerney (978) 340-8400 @jakern60

 

Laurie Lambert (508) 521-3321 @laurengale66

 

Sean Duncan (401) 714-4486 @seany_duncs