Rooted in this belief, the Portland Village School strives to create a space where each individual is a valued member contributing to the health of the whole community. PVS seeks to foster an educational community where each individual is honored and valued. We welcome diversity of race, culture, spirituality, neurology, gender, identity, ability, and orientation. We believe the essential work of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion aims to promote a healthy social life and is the responsibility of every individual in our community.
PVS is committed to undoing structural oppression and racism in the education of our children for a more just and safe world. We strive to create equitable opportunities for underrepresented populations. We aspire to experience inclusion as the act of co-creating community that honors and recognizes the worth and dignity of all people.
An inclusive community promotes and sustains a sense of belonging by practicing respect for the talents, beliefs, backgrounds, and ways of living of its members. We work together to create, embrace and support a diverse, equitable and inclusive community where everyone feels respected, connected and valued.
~ Educator Equity Work at PVS ~
- Increasing our understanding of Restorative Practices and coaching for change. The PVS board has approved significant funds to support our collaboration with Stephen Fowler of Resolutions NW. Staff meets on a weekly, and monthly basis with Stephen to develop restorative practices, circles, and engage in restorative dialogues. This is work we will continue to engage in throughout the remainder of the year and into the future.
- All staff book study of Zaretta Hammond’s Culturally Responsive Teaching and the Brain. This text is extremely well regarded in public and private educational circles for its exploration of instructional practices that support culturally diverse students. Many of these practices are embedded in Waldorf Education - so much so that Zaretta Hammond was part of writing the Charter for the Community School for Creative Education - a Public Waldorf school in Oakland, CA. We are and will continue to unpack the lessons of this text, to discuss, refine and implement these strategies in our classrooms.
- Providing “wrap” supports to families and students in need in order to help them access hybrid and CDL learning. This looks like different supports for different families based on their needs. We are the only PPS charter school to have a full time counselor, providing ongoing social-emotional support to students and helps in coordinating access to various mental health resources within our community. Our counselor works to connect families with transportation options, provides assistance with meeting basic needs for food, clothing, school materials and other necessities, connects families with physical and mental health services, provides technology resources and removes barriers to access.
- Participation in ongoing Professional Learning and implementing what we learn. Learning for equity is not a one and done - the professional learning is ongoing, recursive and requires reflection. Recent and upcoming training includes:
- RNW White supremacy culture: A healing dialogue for executives and decision-makers - this week administration is attending this training designed to help us recognize how White Supremacy culture shows up in organizations and how we can avoid these patterns in our operations in the time of COVID and into the future.
- Culturally Responsive Teaching webinar series administration is attending that unpacks the bigotry of low expectations for students and the importance of ensuring that students have access to CORE level content the majority of their learning time - this is how schools make “close the gap” growth rather than perpetuate outcome disparities!
- Utilizing the Equity Lens training is scheduled with Tobias Sherwood for both the PVS board and for the staff. This important process will help ensure we are all on the same page in our understanding of what we mean by “using an equity lens,” and give us practical tools to help our application of an equity lens in our decision making.
- Building Equitable Systems: Moving math from Gatekeeper to Opportunity Gateway - training made possible through a partnership Education Week and Los Angeles Schools. The training description notes: “ For decades, mathematics has been a de facto gatekeeper to future success and upward mobility for Black and Latinx students, and students experiencing poverty. To make math a gateway to opportunity for students of color and low-income scholars, we must examine and elevate experiences that students have in math classrooms.” Practical tools to ameliorate math outcome disparities and improve math equity for social justice will follow.
- Continued development of our community outreach, weighted lottery and hiring practices to increase diversity of our student and staff population. We are committed to reflecting the community we live in, and are committed to harnessing the power of Charter schools to serve students from across the Portland Metro area as a way of ameliorating de facto segregation that occurs through rigid neighborhood school boundary lines. Charter schools are a mechanism for desegregation!
- Development of our new Strategic Plan. The three pillars of our new strategic plan are aligned with creating: 1) A positive, safe school climate and culture with a collaborative sense of belonging; 2) Increasing racial/cultural diversity, equity, safety, and inclusion within staff members, the board, and the student body; and 3) Providing a Culturally Responsive Waldorf pedagogy. These board directed pillars will provide the compass direction for our school over the next several years. This Spring, the PVS staff will work to determine the action steps necessary to implement these overarching goals. Components of these goals include: a genuine engagement with ALL families, commitment to restorative practices, closing the opportunity and achievement gaps, offering a competitive salary and benefits package to recruit and maintain a culturally diverse staff, and a commitment to growth and development for staff, families and board in DEI and anti-racism.
- Development of the Families of Color affinity group. The PVS board and administration is committed to implementing this critically important piece of our organizational chart that will provide a direct line of communication from Families of Color to the Executive Director. Look for more information on this group over the next weeks and months.
- Continued evaluation and collaboration between staff Equity and Waldorf Teaching and Learning committees to move away from a eurocentric, judeo-christian and patriarchal curriculum while expanding on justice, inclusion, multiculturalism, anti-racist and anti-bias teachings. Choosing lesson content that represents an encompassing, diverse and inclusive worldview that brings the perspective of oppressed peoples to the forefront of critical conversations.
- Continued staff discussion, reflection and adaptation of our curriculum to represent all learners, and of our lessons to be inclusive and to highlight systems of injustice and oppression.
Spring 2020 update:
As educators at Portland Village School, we are committed to taking action in dismantling systemic racism. The action that we are taking includes not only teaching through a lens of cultural awareness with a focus on the truth but also decentering the white narrative.
As a staff, we have had access to various trainings, seminars, and workshops where we engage in examining our biases and highlighting the necessity to do anti-racist work in the classroom. We have had the opportunity to work with members of our community with facilitation from the Center for Equity and Inclusion and Resolutions Northwest. We continue to center ongoing racial equity and Restorative Justice practice in our professional development and in our classrooms.
Additionally, staff have have been given the opportunity to take part in trainings to deepen their personal understanding and connection to the issues. Trainings have included seminars “Am I Karen” and “Institutional Equity” offered by Resolutions Northwest. Staff have also taken social justice classes with Teaching Tolerance, attended Multnomah County Library School Corp’s “Talking Equity and Social Justice Book Workshop”, and participated in an online book discussion of “Anti-Racist Baby” by Ibram Kendi. PVS staff members attended a breakout session at a recent state law conference “The Path to Diversity and Inclusion: Recognizing and Responding to Implicit Bias in Employment”. Staff have also chosen to participate in school board equity training sessions as well.
Members of our faculty began an anti-racist summer book club to explore how they can become better allies and interrupt racism. They began with the book “So You Want to Talk About Race” by Ijeoma Oluo and will continue that discussion and work through the year. Teachers have made intentional shifts to emphasize the rich cultural diversity and multicultural aspects of our curriculum.
As our cultural lens widens as a society, we commit ourselves to adapting the curriculum to suit historical truths and continue to meet the needs of the children in our classrooms. Educators at the Portland Village School recognize this work as an essential journey of mindful teaching practices conscientiously centered through a lens of racial equity.
~ Click for More Resources About Equity and Inclusion ~
(Here are some compiled from OR Physicians for Social Responsibility website)
White Allies, Let’s Be Honest About Decolonization (Kyle Powys Whyte for YES! Magazine)
Racial Justice Assessment Tool (Western States Center)
Racial Justice Dominoes (Western States Center)
Broken Treaties (Oregon Public Broadcasting)
A Guide to Gender Identity & Affirmation in the Workplace (Yale University)
White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack (Peggy McIntosh)
Portland Isn’t as Liberal as you Think (Zahir Janmohamed)
The Time is Now (Pete Shaw)
Racial Microaggressions in Everyday Life: Implications for Clinical Practice (Derald Wing Sue et al)
Public Health and Social Justice Website (Martin Donohoe, MD)
I am Not Your Negro (Raoul Peck)
Responding to Everyday Bigotry (Southern Poverty Law Center)
Our Town (This American Life)
Un-gentrifying Portland (The Guardian)
How Racism Make Us Sick (David R. Williams)
African Americans Against the Bomb (radio interview with Vincent Intondi)
Detour-‐Spotting for White Anti‐Racists (Joan Olsson)
Invisible Victims (Holly Hunter)
The Impact of Racism on Children's Health (Perri Klass, MD)
Slavery in America: The 1619 Project (The New York Times)
Acknowledgment of the Original People of the Land
We would like to acknowledge that our school sits on the traditional
lands of the Indigenous People of the Lower Columbia. We offer recognition and deep respect to the Cowlitz Indian Tribe, and to the many indigenous people, federally recognized or not, who have cared and resided on this land since time immemorial through centuries of genocidal policies and systemic racism. We honor the resilience and tradition of the Cowlitz Indian Tribe and Indigenous People of the Lower Columbia with gratitude.
~ PVS Board of Directors Equity Statement ~
As a school community, we acknowledge that there are historic and persistent inequities at the societal level in how students of color are perceived, disciplined, and supported in institutions across the nation and around the world. We recognize the harm of unconscious bias and stereotypes. Addressing the inequities that exist while raising the achievement of all students is a priority at every level of our organization.
Click here to read the full Board Equity Statement
We pledge to continually examine our role in perpetuating and combating institutional racism and strive to become an ally in reducing these inequities in our community. We commit to the ongoing work in aligning our policies and practices to interrupt racism and all forms of oppression.
At PVS we aim to listen for understanding, and to recognize and support every member of our community. We strive to provide a safe and inclusive environment and an education which focuses on acquiring the abilities necessary to continue life-long social and emotional development. At PVS we recognize that the path to equity and a healthy community is an on-going process, and we remain dedicated to continual reflection and growth. The Portland Village School understands that this work is a microcosm of the larger work happening in the broader society, and we dedicate ourselves to this work as a community.
With growth as a goal, PVS works to align curriculum, resources, celebrations, and festivals so that they reflect the diversity of our student body and the richness of our diverse society. We employ a code of conduct and behavioral and social responsibility, called Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS), which emphasizes individual and community responsibility. We have begun to integrate Restorative Justice as a tool for repairing and strengthening interpersonal relationships for all stake-holders.
The Portland Village School supports the need for evolving work around Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. To promote a safe and inclusive space for living and learning, we implement certain elements of Restorative Justice practices as a community to help build, maintain, and repair relationships:
- Engagement - Students, families, colleagues, and guests with different backgrounds and experiences are encouraged to participate in all aspects of the life of the school.
- Thoughtful Listening- We strive to listen for understanding and through an equity lens so that we may work respectfully with all people - through empathy, tolerance, and the acknowledgement of multiple perspectives.
- Use of Inclusive Language - We strive to use language that is sensitive and respectful, and that may be carried on to a broader context, conscientiously avoiding systemically biased language
- Reflection - We acknowledge the mistakes and the work to be done, and then focus on growth and improvement, reaffirming our commitment to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in all aspects of our organization.
Our goal is for all Portland Village School community members to thrive in a positive and healthy educational environment that embraces Waldorf educational practices and fosters a community exemplary of respect, inclusion, compassion, warmth, and positive interaction. We aspire to provide an education that focuses on continual social, emotional, and intellectual development. We recognize that the path to the pursuit of a healthy and vibrant community is through a commitment to the work of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion and is an on-going process of growth and improvement.
Through honest and compassionate dialogue and an active and ongoing analysis within an authentically diverse context, every member of our community may reap the benefits of expanding awareness, wisdom, and capacity to act as responsible global citizens.