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Announcing Léman Manhattan's Antiracism Action Plan

July 13, 2020

Systems of Accountability

(The following will be in place by the start of school year 2020-21.)

Create clear policies that prohibit hate speech and acts of discrimination in our school and outline outcomes and consequences for violations of these policies.

Create a transparent and enforceable Incident Reporting System, including a Mandated Reporter Policy for all faculty and staff, for race-based harassment and discrimination.

Update contractual school documents with these policies, including the 2020-21 Student & Family Handbook and 2020-21 Faculty & Staff Handbook.

Build upon our existing Diversity, Equity & Inclusion-related goal in all 2020-21 Administrator, Faculty & Staff Performance Evaluations to more clearly set expectations for antiracism practices in our classrooms and operational functions and better evaluate our community's progress individually and collectively.

Evolve and enhance our existing Equity Data Collection to record and analyze student demographics, academic achievement and disciplinary infractions to ensure equitable practices across our student body and implement programming to support student success and wellbeing.

(We will start work on the following in Fall 2020 and expect these efforts to be complete in January 2021.)

Form a Student/Faculty Honor Council comprised of elected Upper School students and faculty members who will review disciplinary matters and subsequently, make recommendations to administration with regard to implications and action steps to improve our community.

Incorporate antiracism policies and expectations for families into 2021-22 School Year Enrollment Agreement.


Community Education & Support

(The following will be in place by the start of school year 2020-21.)

Require Mandatory Administrative Leadership Antiracism Education covering bias training, antiracist practices and antiracist classroom culture. The Léman leadership team will participate in this training during a dedicated three-day period this August before return to school and continue this professional development throughout the year.

Require similar Mandatory Faculty & Staff Antiracism Education to help teachers and staff recognize their own biases and build best practices for maintaining antiracist classroom environments. All faculty and staff will participate in this training during a dedicated two-day period in August before return to school. In addition, time during Léman’s six professional development days next school year will be dedicated to this topic.

Provide ongoing opportunities for Parent Education & Support:

      • Parent of Children of Color (POCC) Group: Established in 2018, this parent affinity group meets monthly and provides a safe space for parents of children of color to foster relationships and have open and honest dialogue about topics that are specifically related to families of color across our PK-12 community.

      • Parent Book Group: This summer, white parents are invited to read Ibram Kendi’s How To Be An Antiracist and join facilitated book discussions on July 22 and Aug 5. The goal of this group is to provide white parents with space to discuss and process this topic openly and honestly. Register online.

      • White Ally Group: We will form a parent group in the fall for white parents to learn more about how best to be an ally for BIPOC community members at Léman and beyond.

Activate a comprehensive Student Re-entry Plan for the start of school in September. It will be critical for us to re-establish trust with students, particularly in the Upper School. Using Orientations, Advisory and opening days assemblies, we will acknowledge and discuss the experiences shared on @blacklemanspeaks, provide students with venues to share their feelings, set clear community expectations around antiracism, and come together as a student community to move forward.

Expand upon our existing Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Community Calendar to build increased awareness of historical events and cultural celebrations across our diverse community that can serve to educate, build perspective and foster school pride.


Evolved Antiracist Curriculum

(The following work will occur throughout the 2020-21 school year.)

Update Léman’s Curriculum Statement, which guides our approach to instruction, to better reflect the importance of delivering a curriculum that focuses on diversity, equity and inclusion:

      • As a diverse school community, we continuously review our curriculum to embrace the beauty of our diversity, stressing the importance of equity, and ensuring inclusivity. Through thoughtful development of units of study, we are committed to presenting accurate historical information with an emphasis on multiple perspectives. Our programs reflect a conscious and programmatic commitment to developing inquiring, knowledgeable and caring future leaders who view themselves as global citizens looking for ways to create a better and more peaceful world through intercultural understanding and respect.

Review PK-12 curriculum across all academic disciplines through the lens of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion via collaboration between Director of Curriculum, DE&I Coordinator, and Academic Department Chairs. Continue to evolve and enhance our PK-12 curriculum to be more inclusive, antiracist and historically inclusive with the goal of helping students build awareness of their own racial socialization and grow the skills needed to engage in productive conversations about race and racism in age-appropriate guided conversations and classroom dialogue.

Ensure our instruction across divisions includes the history of the BIPOC experience in America.

Adopt academic standards from leading racial literacy educational resources including:

      • Pollyanna Racial Literacy Curriculum, grades PK-8, which encourage kindness, bravery, and empathy when exploring and better understanding the cultural and racial diversity of local and global communities, develop more inclusive and positive perspective of self, others, and the larger world in regard to race, ethnicity, and culture, and analyze history and other social assertions that fabricate myths of innate racial superiority, in order to dispel myopic, discriminatory perspectives of race; and

      • Southern Poverty Law Center’s Teaching Tolerance, grades PK-12, which provide Social Justice standards that serve as a roadmap for anti-bias education at each grade level with age-appropriate learning outcomes divided into four domains—identity, diversity, justice and action. These standards provide a common language and organizational structure of school-based scenarios to show what anti-bias attitudes and behavior may look like in the classroom to foster prejudice reduction and collective action across our student body.

Build teacher understanding and implementation of standards through dedicated Faculty Professional Development Days.


Equity Practices in Hiring and Admissions

(The following work will occur throughout the 2020-21 school year.)

Build upon our Five-Year Strategic Plan goal of increasing diversity among our faculty by setting specific goals for hiring and retention of faculty of color across departments, informed by data from prior three years.

Create and implement commitment to antiracism language in all employment contracts starting 2021-22 school year.

Outline clear expectations around Léman’s culture of antiracism for prospective families during the admissions process. Integrate antiracism pledge in 2021-22 enrollment agreements.


Ongoing Feedback & Communications

(The following work will occur throughout the 2020-21 school year.)

Engage more deeply and meaningfully with BIPOC alumni through recurring meetings throughout the year. Update alumni on our antiracism progress and establish mentorship and collaboration opportunities between BIPOC alumni and BIPOC current students.

Establish an Antiracist Advisory Group comprised of faculty, staff, students, alumni, school counselors, DE&I Coordinator, parents, and student affinity group leadership. This group will serve as a subcommittee of the Values & Beliefs Committee, act as a sounding board for the school’s progress on its antiracism goals and provide input and counsel as we move forward.

Increase student representation and collaboration on the Values & Beliefs Committee by ensuring that one student from each affinity group (Black Student Union, Gender & Sexuality Alliance, Asian Culture Club, FEM Club, and more) attend regular V&B meetings.

Incorporate language about being an antiracist school into school mission and values to communicate Léman’s commitment to antiracism as an institutional priority.

Build Antiracism, Diversity, Equity & Inclusion section on school website to share comprehensive overview of Léman’s antiracism efforts and progress for current and prospective families, faculty and staff.

Provide regular updates on our antiracism progress through various school communications, including Léman Exchange, Head of School forums for faculty, parent newsletters and division communications.

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