February 15, 2021

Anti-Racism Task Force shares an update

A letter from the Anti-Racism Task Force

Andover students, alumni, faculty, staff, and parents:

You make up the capital “C” in the Community that works to ensure that Andover always moves closer to fulfilling its potential and promise. Over the next few months, you will hear from us, Andover’s Anti-Racism Task Force (AATF), a dedicated group of alumni, parents, faculty, staff, and supporters of Andover who—like you—care about the future of our Community. Our task is to, by late spring 2021, provide insightful and actionable recommendations to the Board of Trustees and Head of School on ways to improve the Andover experience for all and to create accountability for our entire Community as we endeavor to identify, disrupt, and dismantle racist systems and behaviors.

As we all know, the national discussion on race that started in spring of 2020 prompted the creation of the AATF. That discussion is ongoing, and it continues to inspire our work. Our charge is to:

Provide direction to trustees and senior administrators to understand and address the inequities faced by Black, Indigenous, and other people of color at Andover. We are also charged with identifying new systems and structures of practice and accountability that will transform our community, including Outreach Programs, into one that delivers on the Academy’s promise to be diverse, equitable, and inclusive for all racial groups.

After months of assessment through discussions with and insights from the Andover Community, the AATF will present a report to the Board of Trustees and the Head of School in late spring 2021 that documents its findings and includes an actionable blueprint for addressing racist behavior and racism in our Community.

We know from overwhelming feedback that many in our Community are interested in the Task Force’s creation, purpose, and activity and want transparency into our efforts. Thank you for tracking the group’s progress online. Thank you for your feedback [email protected]. We are listening. To address this interest, a Communications Subcommittee was formed that will begin disseminating monthly updates on Task Force actions and milestones via official Andover channels. Our goal is to take this journey with all of you by keeping you informed and ensuring open communication.

To date, we have conducted 11 virtual full Task Force meetings and many more subcommittee meetings. Co-chairs Trustee Gary Lee ’74 and Linda Carter Griffith, associate head of school for equity, inclusion, and wellness, have made two presentations to the Board of Trustees about the AATF’s progress, including one on November 13, 2020, and another at last week’s board meeting on February 12. Early in our work, Task Force members defined a common vocabulary, identified subcommittees, and created a timeline of milestones. Our subcommittees are designed to address the following areas of assessment:

  • Diverse representation among students, faculty, staff, administrators, alumni volunteers and leadership, and trustees
  • Institutional systems, policies, and practices
  • Student, faculty, staff, and administrator climate, culture, and experience
  • Cultural competency skill development for students, faculty, staff, administrators, alumni leaders, and trustees

More detail on these focus areas can be found in the AATF charge statement.

Over the next two months, the Task Force will continue engaging with students, faculty, and staff through meetings, focus groups, and other forums to maximize participation and hone our recommendations. These discussions and the understandings they yield will inform our report to the Board of Trustees and the Head of School.

Anti-racism efforts are intensive and nuanced and cannot easily “be fixed” with changes here and there. Reflective of this, the Task Force’s blueprint will identify pathways towards both incremental and transformative continuous improvement.

Our next communication in the form of FAQs will include responses to questions that many in our Community have. Please follow the Task Force webpage and follow Andover on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. Our Community thrives when we are informed of what is happening in the Andover family and work for its success. We are honored to take on this work towards a more equitable Andover experience with you.

With gratitude,

Andover’s Anti-Racism Task Force

Categories: AATF

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