Critical Race Training in Education

The Spence School

Primary

Mailing Address
22 East 91st Street
New York, New York 10128
Phone
(212) 710-8140
School Information
"One-hundred-and-twenty-five years ago, on October 4, 1892, Miss Clara Spence opened the doors of Miss Spence’s School at 6 West 48th Street. Our milestone anniversary, celebrated throughout 2016-2017, salutes The Spence School’s legacy as a nationally-recognized leader of education of girls and young women" (Source: https://www.spenceschool.org/about-spence/125-years-at-spence). The school was founded in 1892 by Clara B. Spence. Spence School has 752 students and a student to faculty ratio of 8 to 1.
General Information
The Spence School does require critical race training for its students. Students in the Lower School already use the "anti-bias framework of identity, diversity, justice, and action." Upper School students are asked "What historical sources of inequity and injustice in the United States are based on race, gender, ethnicity, class and sexuality? What is my social group history, and what is my individual history? How are they different and how are they the same?" Furthermore, the school's Anti-Racism Task Force recommended that the school, " Mandate ongoing parent equity/diversity education so as to build cultural competencies consistent with the stated goals of the School’s anti-racism statement."

Activity

  • Symbolic Actions

    Parents have complained after a class in Spence featured a satirical video that targeted white women. Spence has since issued a form of an apology for this matter. Parents have also complained about other instances in which they felt that Spence over incorporated race concepts.

  • Symbolic Actions

    Since 2015, Spence has been annually holding The Mary Frosch Justice and Equity Lecture.

  • Symbolic Actions

    Spence has an Anti-Racism Task Force.

  • Faculty/Staff Requirements

    Spence states that, "The K-12 teachers have been developing a list of research-based equity competencies, such as active listening and cultural humility, that will guide our teaching practice."

  • Symbolic Actions

    All Upper School students, faculty, and staff must read "How to Be an Anti-Racist" by Ibram X. Kendi. Spence has asked the entire community to now join this Community Read.

  • Symbolic Actions

    All Spence employees are required to complete training for "engaging in a multicultural educational environment." Spence also offers equity and anti-racist professional development for faculty.

  • Symbolic Actions

    Spence has a Lower School Equity Team which "comprises faculty, administrators, and staff who support equity- and diversity-related work within the community.

  • Symbolic Actions

    Spence has a Committee on Diversity and Equity of the Board of Trustees which "ensures that multiculturalism and diversity are at the forefront of the School's priorities.

  • Symbolic Actions

    Spence has an Alumnae Association Diversity Committee which "sponsors events and discussions for students, parents, and alumnae, working to increase alumnae participation as mentors, role models, and resources."

  • Symbolic Actions

    Spence has an Upper School Student Equity Council which "works to build strong connections between the study body and the administration and to ensure that all students and adults feel a full sense of belonging and affirmation at Spence."

  • Symbolic Actions

    On April 21, 2021, Spence released a statement saying, "Yesterday’s guilty verdict in the landmark trial of former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin is a crucible moment for our nation and for our ongoing struggle for racial justice and equity."

  • Curriculum Changes and Requirements

    Spence will "define curricula that support anti-racism."

  • Faculty/Staff Requirements

    Spence will engage in "mandatory training and professional development" with a "DEI lens."

  • Admissions Policies

    Spence will "incorporate admissions practices aimed at identifying individual families’ willingness to embrace Spence’s philosophy around race and anti-racism so as to enroll families who have a high probability of engaging and supporting Spence’s anti-racism work."

  • Anti-Racism, Bias, and Diversity Training

    Spence will "mandate ongoing parent equity/diversity education so as to build cultural competencies consistent with the stated goals of the School’s anti-racism statement."

  • Resources

    Spence will "determine on an ongoing basis the support, resources and mentoring available for disadvantaged groups so as to ensure equity in the opportunities for all students to embrace and define the culture and environment at Spence."

  • Symbolic Actions

    Spence will incorporate anti-racist programming for all students.

  • Symbolic Actions

    On June 16, 2020, Spence released a statement on Instagram stating, "there's a powerful movement within our country to recognize and address the 400-year history of oppression and murder of Black people. In fact, the movement is now global, which represents an opportunity for us all to be together in a different way: in solidarity."

  • Symbolic Actions

    On June 13, 2020, Spence released a statement on Instagram stating, "I salute the strong voices and the stories of our Black students, alumnae, and community members that are being shared through @blackspencespeaks. We are listening with great care, and we urge our full community to do the same. Know that these stories will guide our collective responsibility to create meaningful change."

  • Symbolic Actions

    On June 2, 2020, Spence participated in Blackout Tuesday on Instagram.

  • Symbolic Actions

    On June 1, 2020, Spence released a statement on Instagram stating, "We all share a common role in our responsibility to make our world a safer and more equitable place, to our common call of humanity, and our charge to stand together and against injustice and racism. The children are counting on us."

  • Anti-Racism, Bias, and Diversity Training

    Spence has many Student-led Affinity and Identity Groups and Clubs, including the "Diversity of Thought/Spence Initiatives for Diversity."

  • Curriculum Changes and Requirements

    The school said, "The K-12 teachers have been developing a list of research-based equity competencies, such as active listening and cultural humility, that will guide our teaching practice."

  • Curriculum Changes and Requirements

    Students in the Lower School use the "anti-bias framework of identity, diversity, justice, and action."

  • Curriculum Changes and Requirements

    In the Middle School, "work is centered on proactive positive identity development and community stewardship skills. Students examine differences among their individual experiences and explore those alongside social group histories." Middle school students are asked "What shapes identity?", "How do our identities shape our interactions with individuals?", and "How do communities treat individuals based on their identities?"

  • Curriculum Changes and Requirements

    The Upper School uses a "self-knowledge, skills, and advocacy" framework. Upper School students are asked "what historical sources of inequity and injustice in the United States are based on race, gender, ethnicity, class and sexuality? What is my social group history, and what is my individual history? How are they different and how are they the same?" and "What’s my responsibility given my positionality? What can I do, what should I do? What opportunities do I have to work actively for change, based on my studied understanding of power and privilege in the world?"

  • Curriculum Changes and Requirements

    The Anti-Racism Task Force recommended that teachers "Incorporate racial literacy and equity competencies within the Spence teaching curricula and professional learning, practice and pedagogy, so as to ensure that faculty and staff are supported and held accountable to the School’s commitment to anti-racism." It also suggested that they "Create a learning environment for faculty that promotes continual explorations of racially literate curricula so as to strengthen the continuity of the K-12 anti-racism scope and sequence."

  • Faculty/Staff Requirements

    The Anti-Racism Task Force recommended that the school "Enforce anti-bias protocols so as to provide a strong support mechanism for teachers who engage in the difficult work of addressing incidents of bias."

  • Anti-Racism, Bias, and Diversity Training

    The Anti-Racism Task Force recommended that the school " Mandate ongoing parent equity/diversity education so as to build cultural competencies consistent with the stated goals of the School’s anti-racism statement."

  • Disciplinary Measures

    The Anti-Racism Task Force recommended that the school " Integrate age-appropriate anti-racist values, language and expectations into student community standards and codes of conduct (informal and formal)."

  • Anti-Racism, Bias, and Diversity Training

    The Anti-Racism Task Force recommended that the school "Deepen DEI-related skill building to include support for how to: a.) eliminate casual racism and b.) amplify values of anti-racism, empathy and social justice in student life outside of the classroom, i.e., playdate culture (LS), hallway culture (MS & US) and social media" and "Leverage Middle School as a key inflection point, a moment when anti-racism knowledge and awareness (acquired in Lower School) can be translated into community action and shared responsibility."

  • Anti-Racism, Bias, and Diversity Training

    The school said, "Students participate in regional and national conferences on anti-bias leadership and community and civic engagement, including the Student Diversity Leadership Conference and the White Privilege Conference."

  • Anti-Racism, Bias, and Diversity Training

    The school stated, "Faculty and staff participate in our Colleagues of Color Affinity (CoC) and the White Anti-Racist Affinity (WARA) groups, which offer affinity spaces for personal and professional reflection and learning."

  • Symbolic Actions

    The school's Jazz and Social Justice course description partially reads, "We’ll explore how race, gender, identity, and politics have been reflected in the story of Black American Music, birthed from the musical traditions of enslaved people in the late nineteenth century and developed over decades--using popular songs, protest music, laments, and celebrations of culture--to the global sounds of today."

  • Curriculum Changes and Requirements

    The school's United States History: 1968-Present course description partially reads, "Through an exploration of United States history since the mid-1960s, this course seeks to understand the fault lines of class, race, politics, gender and sexual identity that unite and divide Americans today."

  • Curriculum Changes and Requirements

    The school's Identities in American Art course description partially reads, "Can art history inform our understanding of contemporary issues around race, gender and identity?"

Last updated January 6th, 2022