The Pursuit of Equity

Educational equity has been a tenet of WSG’s mission since the school’s founding over 20 years ago. Sr. Mary Bourdon, RJM and the school’s co-founders recognized the need to provide an educational environment for girls in Ward 8 and the surrounding communities that supported their success - leading to equitable opportunities in life.


Fast forward to 2020 and educational equity continues to be a concern in our country. Schools are being challenged to demonstrate their commitment to equity by sharing how their program creates inclusion and opportunities for all of their students. WSG has taken this moment to concretely define our commitment to equity for our students by creating a statement to share throughout our community. This statement serves as our community agreement regarding educational equity.


The WSG Equity statement consists of 4 parts:

  • Introduction

  • Our pledge

  • Equity questions

  • A call to action

Following is a description of the statement, broken down into those parts in order to share the thinking behind each section.


Introduction

This overarching statement indicates our long standing commitment to being a school specifically focused on gender and racial equity.


We believe that students of all backgrounds deserve to be challenged, supported, and inspired in school; but educational equity is not yet a reality for Black and Brown girls. They urgently need schools that believe in their gifts, talents, and potential, and are designed specifically for their success. For over 20 years, WSG has been steadfast in our commitment to racial and gender equity.



Our Pledge

A pledge is a promise or agreement to action. Our pledge reflects our commitment to our students as their educators and partners in their educational journeys. The pledge signifies the many ways we will honor our students’ hopes and dreams for their lives and recognizes the responsibility we hold as a school. We also indicate our understanding of the need to continually self-reflect and connect our broader community in discussion and learning.


To live up to our values, we pledge:

  • To celebrate our students for their achievements and aspirations, rather than define them by society’s failure to support them

  • To challenge them, rather than practice the racism of low expectations

  • To design and deliver teaching and learning that is culturally responsive, and accurately depicts the presence and contributions of Black and Brown people in our society

  • To engage ourselves personally and professionally in continuous learning about equity

  • To engage our partners and stakeholders in equity conversations to share our knowledge and contribute to progress in our broader community.

  • To ensure that our students regularly see and engage with adults who look like them in a variety of positions both within the school and within our community of stakeholders.


Probing Questions

Critical thinking involves questioning aspects of an issue to explore, probe and test the basis. As a way to think critically about what equity means at WSG, we used a lens of questioning. How might we ensure our program is aligned to create the best outcomes for our students? What is needed to connect families with our vision? How can we ensure that WSG retains the components needed to ensure racial and gender equity in an ever changing world? Through continual questioning, we are able to refine and adapt our program as needed to support our school mission.


From admissions to graduate support, our programs are intentionally designed to combat the inequity our students and families experience elsewhere. When making a decision, we interrogate it through the lens of equity: is student enrollment accessible for a guardian who is unfamiliar with a private school admissions process? Are family engagement opportunities flexible and abundant for parents with challenging and unpredictable work schedules? Do disciplinary actions remove students from the classroom unnecessarily, taking away opportunity for academic growth? Does our language as a school community reinforce or challenge racial and gender stereotypes? Do students have the opportunity to experience various world views and perspectives beyond their community?


A Call to Action

Our equity statement is for WSG and all who support our mission and our students. A supportive and growing community surrounding our students can only help to elevate their voices and impact in the world. We close with a call to action for us all.


While WSG is an affirming community for our students, we can only do so much to prepare students for an inequitable world. We rely on our friends and partners to do their part to eradicate injustice and racism in our larger community, to make the world a better place for our students.


In closing, our Equity Statement is not just a statement on paper or our website, but rather a confirmation of our work at WSG to create true equity for our students.




WSG Equity Statement

We believe that students of all backgrounds deserve to be challenged, supported, and inspired in school; but educational equity is not yet a reality for Black and Brown girls. They urgently need schools that believe in their gifts, talents, and potential, and are designed specifically for their success. For over 20 years, WSG has been steadfast in our commitment to racial and gender equity.


To live up to our values, we pledge:

  • To celebrate our students for their achievements and aspirations, rather than define them by society’s failure to support them

  • To challenge them, rather than practice the racism of low expectations

  • To design and deliver teaching and learning that is culturally responsive, and accurately depicts the presence and contributions of Black and Brown people in our society

  • To engage ourselves personally and professionally in continuous learning about equity

  • To engage our partners and stakeholders in equity conversations to share our knowledge and contribute to progress in our broader community.


From admissions to graduate support, our programs are intentionally designed to combat the inequity our students and families experience elsewhere. When making a decision, we interrogate it through the lens of equity: is student enrollment accessible for a guardian who is unfamiliar with a private school admissions process? Are family engagement opportunities flexible and abundant for parents with challenging and unpredictable work schedules? Do disciplinary actions remove students from the classroom unnecessarily, taking away opportunity for academic growth? Does our language as a school community reinforce or challenge racial and gender stereotypes? Do students have the opportunity to experience various world views and perspectives beyond their community?


While WSG is an affirming community for our students, we can only do so much to prepare students for an inequitable world. We rely on our friends and partners to do their part to eradicate injustice and racism in our larger community, to make the world a better place for our students.


Washington School for Girls

THEARC Campus / 1901 Mississippi Avenue, SE, Washington, DC 20020 / Phone: 202-678-1113 / Fax: 202-678-1114

The VIEW Campus / 1604 Morris Road SE, Washington, DC 20020 / Phone: 202-678-1714 / Fax: 202-678-5422

EIN: 52-2031849