EAST MACHIAS — Washington Academy began taking steps to make the school a more welcoming, inclusive environment for all staff and students several months ago. Head of School Judson McBrine reports that since then, WA has continued to take significant strides towards that goal, and is working hard to make the school a leader in the fight for racial justice. 

Since last summer, the school has taken the following steps. 

  • Appointed a Director of Diversity
  • Created a Trustees Diversity Committee
  • Created an Educator Diversity Committee
  • Established a student Civil Rights Team
  • Educators are participating in professional development on Race, Equity and Inclusion
  • Ten representatives from the Board of Trustees, Administrators, Counselors and Teachers are participating in a year-long cultural competence institute
  • Students and Staff are engaged in school-wide diversity programming
  • Our Gay, Straight, Transgender Alliance continue to meet
  • A Washington Academy Board of Trustees Equity, Inclusion & Diversity Vision Statement has been adopted by the Board of Trustees
  • Our Employee Social Media Acceptable Use Policy was updated to be more responsive to incidents of online harassment and discrimination 
  • The Code of Conduct in the Student Handbook for 2020-2021 has been amended to include a provision banning the display or transmittal of symbols, images, language, or materials that demean, intimidate, harass, or promote hatred.

In addition to these vital developments, Washington Academy will begin conducting an equity audit on Jan. 28. This audit, which has several different components, is designed to give the school a clear idea of exactly where it is when it comes to racial equity issues, so that it can see what steps are needed to address them. This audit will be led by Lawrence Alexander, a Boston-based professional who specializes in diversity, equity, and inclusion issues. 

The Academy recognizes that there are no easy fixes to the problems posed by racial inequities and implicit bias, but Washington Academy is determined to do the hard work necessary to identify and address these problems.