Critical Race Training in Education

Commonwealth School

Primary

Mailing Address
151 Commonwealth Avenue
Boston, Massachusetts 02116
Phone
(617) 266-7525
School Information
"The mission of Commonwealth School is to educate young people from diverse backgrounds to become knowledgeable, thoughtful, and creative adults, capable of careful analysis, fruitful cooperation, responsible leadership, and deep commitment... "As they move through grades 9-12, our students develop a large shared frame of reference: cell biology, visual and performing arts, Greek and Roman history, Hamlet, and their own collective creativity and sense of humor. They also learn about the city around them both formally and informally, through courses, independent projects, and community service." The school enrolls 147 students, has a 5:1 student-faculty ratio, and offers courses on subjects ranging "from Modernist poetry to number theory." (Source: https://www.commschool.org/about/mission-and-values) (Source: https://www.commschool.org/) (Source: https://www.commschool.org/academics)
General Information
The Commonwealth School has an Equity and Inclusion initiative. The school said that it would support "the faculty and staff Equity and Anti-Racism Task Force (EAR) in assessing the culture, curriculum, and teaching methods and making needed adjustments." For example, "U.S. History explores deeply the role of racial oppression and economic inequity in the unfolding narrative of the country’s history..."

Activity

  • Anti-Racism, Bias, and Diversity Training

    The Board of Trustees "will engage in training to establish a common language for DEI, define and communicate why DEI is important to Commonwealth School, and develop a framework for prioritizing it."

  • Symbolic Actions

    The school said that "the Equity and Anti-Racism Task Force (EAR), made up of almost twenty faculty and staff, conducted an internal audit of all aspects of school life (both academic and administrative). The thorough and thoughtful reflections of the EAR subcommittees will be shared with the full faculty and staff to broaden the conversation about DEI. In December, guided by these documents and a set of recommendations from EAR, InCommon faculty members (Mónica, Sophia, and Rebecca) will facilitate a faculty/staff discussion to determine short-term DEI goals for the remainder of this academic year, to better articulate how the faculty/staff will collaborate with the new Head of School and Director of DEI to advance DEI, and to identify longer-term goals."

  • Curriculum Changes and Requirements

    As part of the curriculum, "U.S. History explores deeply the role of racial oppression and economic inequity in the unfolding narrative of the country’s history... Our ninth-grade City of Boston course focuses heavily on themes of inclusion/exclusion, class, white privilege, gentrification, environmental racism, and the limits of the market in resolving issues of access and equality." The school also said that it aims to, "Teach, model, and encourage open and skillful discussion about questions of race, class, gender, and religion, in and outside class."

  • Symbolic Actions

    The school established a new "InCommon team," which is "leading a new chapter in DEI work at Commonwealth. Bringing together trustees, faculty, and staff, the group works with all school constituents to address concerns and further our DEI work."

  • Resources

    The school announced that it will be "Hosting a town hall in the coming weeks to provide space for members of our community to give voice to their experiences and concerns, and, more importantly, so we can listen and engage with those experiences and concerns as an institution" and "Facilitating summer reading from among a number of books recommended by members of our community, with accompanying discussion groups."

  • Resources

    The Dive In Commonwealth program included a "a mini-course, 'Owning my Voice,' in which students reflected on and discussed identity (be it racial, ethnic, socioeconomic, or any other.)"

  • Resources

    The school said, "One InCommon Day workshop... explored the notion of 'dream hoarding,' the subtle and not-so-subtle ways in which privilege is accumulated, or hoarded, at the top of society. (For example: legacy college admissions.)... In a student-led workshop called 'Disney on a Spit'...examined multiculturalism in Disney’s Moana and Coco. They examined some of the stereotypes in the movies, considered the ramifications of presenting the cultures depicted as monoliths, and asked what Disney’s obligation is, as a global powerhouse, in fostering more authentic cultural dialogue."

  • Curriculum Changes and Requirements

    The school said, "While some facets of the curriculum have changed... (English 11, for example, now includes a focus on Black voices in America and their explorations of race), deeper and more critical examinations of Commonwealth’s courses are central to the school’s DEI goals for the coming years."

  • Curriculum Changes and Requirements

    The school said that it would, "Support the faculty and staff Equity and Anti-Racism Task Force (EAR) in assessing the culture, curriculum, and teaching methods and making needed adjustments."

  • Symbolic Actions

    The school will "aid in the future hiring and scope of a Director of DEI."

  • Symbolic Actions

    On June 10, 2020, Commonwealth released a statement on Facebook saying, “In response to legitimate concerns that our denunciation of the horrific violence against Black people and our country's systemic racism fell short of what was called for, we have issued an amended, fuller response.” This post was also featured on its Instagram account.

Last updated October 6th, 2021