Developed in partnership with Mansi Vasa, Corlears’ Director of Equity, Inclusion and Community Life, CARES (which stands for “Culture, Action, Representation, Education, and Support”) is inspired by a national group of student activists collaborating with administrators in independent schools across the country to implement racially equitable reform.
“As a school that values anti-racism and advocates for social justice, we are guided by our youth activists and organizers who are translating ideas and concerns into actionable steps,” Vasa says.
The CARES initiative outlines the specific actions the Board will take immediately and over time to further the school’s mission. “Corlears CARES is a framework that represents a proactive commitment to cultivate the growth and change necessary to be a more inclusive and equitable institution,” Brandon Weber, chair of the Corlears Board, wrote in an update to the school’s families, teachers, and staff. “We, the Board of Trustees, in partnership with the Head of School, David Egolf, understand that this dedication is only made permanent and sustainable when committed to at every level, beginning with the governing body.”
Because strengthening the school’s diversity, equity, and inclusion work is a school-wide commitment, the Board has called on the school’s entire community – parents, students, and teachers – to continually reaffirm this commitment and partner with them to fully move the efforts forward.
“We know that even in a community that is as caring and kind as Corlears, racism and injustice exists. We can only undo inequity by acknowledging it, rejecting it, and taking steps to eliminate it, while simultaneously reframing our vision and redesigning policies to be inclusive and equitable,” the Board says.
Below, read the Board’s full statement and outline of their CARES Commitment.
The CARES Commitment
Corlears is dedicated to fostering a community where all constituents feel heard, supported, and celebrated. We work to implement equitable policies and practices by translating concerns and ideas into actionable steps to make our institution actively anti-racist and authentically inclusive, thus improving the experience for all members. The Board of Trustees and leadership team aim to work collaboratively with staff to implement changes and ensure accountability and transparency along the way.
The acronym Corlears CARES reflects our goals in implementing racially equitable reform:
Culture: Implement policies and practices that promote an actively anti-racist, supportive, and self-challenging community.
Accountability: Establish structures that lead the school to take ownership for executing racially equitable reform and holds individuals accountable for racist behavior.
Representation: Create student, faculty, administrative, and board bodies that comprise racially diverse members.
Education: Adapt curricular and pedagogical approaches to ensure a more holistic learning experience that prominently includes the cultures and histories of BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color).
Support: Recruit administrators and faculty to serve as counselors and mentors who support BIPOC faculty and students.
During the Board’s Fall 2020 retreat and October 2020 meeting, the Board of Trustees committed to the following specific actions:
- We are freezing tuition for next year for the nursery and preschool ages, and implementing a minimal 2% increase for the Ks-10s, so that we can maintain the teacher salary scale. We know our community is facing challenging times, and we are committed to an accessible Corlears education.
We are changing our financial aid policy (which previously limited aid to 4s and older) to permit aid for 2s and 3s families.
We are assessing the process used to set financial aid at Corlears with the goal of further diversifying our socio-economic composition.
We are recommitting to annual DEI training for trustees to allow continued growth and awareness of our role and impact, both as individuals within the community and as members of the board.
We are implementing an anti-bias framework for the recruitment of new trustees, and will incorporate the framework into our work within the community and beyond to identify new trustees.