Dear Chinquapin community,
Our nation is hurting. Since becoming Director six months ago, Chinquapin has been working on intentional self-awareness by empowering our community to engage in anti-biased/anti-racist education and behaviors. To be anti-racist, being non-racist isn’t enough. Chinquapin is growing in the understanding that learning while being a person of color comes with consistent inconsistencies, and sometimes customs that clash. Some traditions of celebration feel like cultural appropriation instead of appreciation when misused and misunderstood in ways that perpetuate stereotypical, finite definitions of whom students are and whom they can be. Our eyes have been opened. We will no longer justify actions, no matter how seemingly innocent, that inhibit student learning.
Chinquapin was founded over 50 years ago to create equity in education for all students. While there have been some missteps along the way and we cannot rewrite recent history, Chinquapin will blaze a trail for the future with the mission of challenging the status quo and of changing the landscape of education in Houston. Chinquapin is wholeheartedly open to change, and we are mindfully listening, because we will not ignore or minimize the significance of social and racial injustice. It’s not enough to make a statement about our responsibility of educating our community without creating spaces for real conversations about our practices and our students’ experiences.
Chinquapin pledges to cultivate student leaders who are racially and socially conscientious and who continue to positively impact their communities and society as a whole. It is our shared responsibility to empower one another, and to show that racism and hate have no place at Chinquapin. We encourage students and their families to raise their voices and speak out when the principles of inclusivity and justice are challenged. It is our mission to shift minds and create arenas of acceptance and accountability at Chinquapin and beyond. In order to begin this journey, we commit to take the following initiatives:
Community Building and Communication
Our community will focus on character traits and values that are essential for combatting racism. We will call out practices that alienate and traumatize individuals. We will be deliberate in how we define who we are and what we do. Our community will focus on educating one another to be unified, accepting, and empathetic while honoring diversity and inclusivity. We understand that engaging in vital discussions about race comes at a high price and will cause all of us to be uncomfortable at times. Self-preservation will not be weaponized to silence the cries of the unheard. To create an inclusive, anti-racist community, we must clearly define and truly embrace who we are and what we do. Accordingly, the following norms and practices are the standards we commit to for the growth of the Chinquapin community:
- Chinquapin faculty and staff shall be people who are honored to be at Chinquapin, and willingly demonstrate genuine practice of inclusivity in teaching and serving Chinquapin students because they believe our students are entitled to equal access to a quality education.
- Chinquapin faculty and staff appreciate that our students come from rich and diverse backgrounds, cultures, and families that deserve respect and appreciation. As a school community, we will never express or foster patronizing attitudes that suggest Chinquapin students are deprived and/or require saving.
- Community members shall drive and strive to actively and meaningfully engage in the community and be integral in moving Chinquapin forward in all aspects.
- Community members shall be leaders and learners who empower one another to be their/his/her best and continually promote growth and advancement within the community.
- Chinquapin will encourage increased communication among stakeholders for optimum awareness and clarity of Chinquapin’s goals and efforts.
- Stakeholders will have enhanced opportunities to get involved in decision-making and community building.
- Chinquapin will provide continued social and emotional development for faculty/staff and students.
Education and Professional Development
Chinquapin will integrate and adopt social and emotional curricula to focus on learning about history, race, and injustice while celebrating inclusivity, individuality, and diverse perspectives and contributions. We are navigating these times while acknowledging we haven’t always recognized how to appropriately react and respond to systemic racism. Board, alumni, faculty, staff, parents, and students will be involved in anti-biased/anti-racist education and training. The faculty will have additional professional development focused on culturally responsive teaching and trauma-informed instruction and will be provided with resources to help educate the community on racial inclusivity and appropriate and inappropriate language in order to fully support an environment of anti-racism. Chinquapin is digging deeper and recommitting itself to the principles of courage, strength, equity, and inclusivity by pledging to uphold the following action-items:
- Establishment of intentional anti-biased and anti-racist messaging for campus informational and promotional communication;
- Development of No Place for Hate protocols for the Chinquapin community;
- Creation of cultural awareness through the development of curriculum and instructional practices supported by anti-biased/anti-racist pedagogy and resources;
- Development of curricula and daily lessons that authentically and accurately demonstrate inclusivity and diversity;
- Establishment of safe spaces that promote inclusion, acceptance, and accountability using culturally responsive teaching practices;
- Establishment of protocols for providing counseling services to strategically identified students who are in need trauma assistance;
- Investment in professional development opportunities focused on mental health, trauma-informed instruction;
- Develop partnerships among faculty, staff, residence life, and counselor(s) to create safe spaces of learning, living, and leading
I don’t know if there’s been a day in the past several weeks when I haven’t shed a tear. The tears flow not only for black lives but also for a world in which society has vehemently refused to accept that systemic racism exists. This is not acceptable. Our community is moving toward becoming more diverse by design. We must support one another to make sure Chinquapin is a safe space to grow, learn, and lead. Chinquapin is committed to working on ourselves to equip our students as they transform from learners to leaders. Today, we pledge to right past wrongs and create a new path together. We want more allies who voluntarily stand with us to fight for this incredibly progressive school that has transformed so many lives. Chinquapin needs and wants you!
Dorothy Scrutchin, Ed.D.
“Justice will not be served until those who are unaffected are as outraged as those who are.”