A Message from TEP’s Head of School, Casey Ash, on TEP’s Anti-Racist Mission Statement
The Equity Project (TEP) Charter School has been committed to achieving educational equity for traditionally underserved communities since our founding in 2009. More recently, TEP has also made a more intentional, deliberate, and explicit commitment to achieving racial equity.
TEP has embarked on a journey to further develop racial awareness and advance racial justice with our staff over the past several years, partnering with the Center for Racial Justice in Education and other organizations committed to dismantling patterns of racism and injustice in schools and communities. We have participated in trainings and conversations with staff, hosted book clubs, created affinity groups, and examined our Staff Norms through a racial equity lens. Part of our work has also included the creation of a Racial Equity Leadership Team, composed of members across our three campuses in both instructional and non-instructional roles.
The Racial Equity Leadership Team (RELT) focused its work in the 2021-22 school year on the creation of TEP’s anti-racist mission statement. An anti-racist statement allows us to convey our awareness of the past, our actionable steps in the present, and our commitment to restitution and repair toward creating a better future for our entire community. We believe that the work of racial justice is an active, ongoing process that requires partnership and solidarity with all members of the TEP community – students, families, and staff.
TEP’s anti-racist mission statement is organized into the following four key components: Acknowledgement, Challenge, Commitment to Action, and Accountability. We encourage you to take the time to read the details of the statement here. Like any text, these are only words. It is ultimately our students, staff, and families who will make this anti-racist mission and its work come to life.
"As a school, it's up to us to model to our kids what we want for the future."
Jeremy Lalas, TEP Middle School Teacher
TEP’s Anti-Racist Mission Statement
TEP is committed to being an anti-racist educational institution. Racism exists and its influence is present in both obvious and subtle ways. Even the most well-intentioned members of our community must confront the realities of systemic racism in a culture that has historically prioritized whiteness. Racism has an impact on our community – students, alumni, families, and faculty. Our work demands that leaders, educators, caregivers, and families examine the systemic racism that is internalized by all of us. We recognize that it is our obligation to engage in anti-racist practices and interventions that dismantle systems of oppression in schools and communities. In the absence of making antiracist choices, we (un)consciously uphold aspects of white supremacy, white-dominant culture, and unequal institutions and society.
The Equity Project is committed to the active work of dismantling racism and holding all members of our community accountable for accomplishing this mission. We will deliberately engage in antiracist pedagogy, call out systemic inequities, and hold ourselves accountable in examining and eradicating the biases we hold. In this way, we will cultivate an environment that is culturally empowering, rooted in love, and celebrates the collective contributions of all members of our community.
Join us in actively combating racial inequities and advancing anti-racism work for the students, families, and staff of our community. By dispelling and confronting racist ideologies, we will create an environment where students, staff, and families are empowered and self-determined in realizing their fullest potential.
Commitment to Action
- For our students, we are committed to creating safe spaces in all classrooms, celebrating our students’ identities, providing ongoing anti-racism education, and centering our curriculum and instruction on equity to create mirrors and windows that inform, equip, and empower them.
- For our families, we are committed to building awareness around racial justice and inequities, providing ongoing opportunities for conversations on race, dismantling biases, and creating a culture of family activism through tailored workshops and trainings on racial equity.
- For our staff, we are committed to continuous racial equity conversation, reflection, and education, with a focus on examining implicit biases within our organization, including hiring, professional development, and growth.
TEP commits to investing in a strategic plan and process that strives to achieve anti-racism. We commit to implementing structural measures toward becoming an anti-racist educational institution. We will partner with racial equity consultants, explore means of adequately supporting and retaining BIPOC talent, and training and coaching all supervisory staff/evaluators with an anti-racist approach to supervision.
To hold ourselves accountable, we will use both internally developed climate assessments and formal evaluations via a vetted, external professional organization. These commitments will directly impact the TEP community experience, institutional culture, curriculum, and programs. We implore every member of our community to help us become an anti-racist organization.