EICL, Month In Review

By Dr. Ed Castro, Interim EICL Director

Historically, the beginning of a school year is an exciting time for both teachers and students. Although we still get to see each other and interact with one another, the challenges of 2020-2021 school year are ever present and deeply exposed. These challenges, however, provide new opportunities for our community to learn and grow together. When I consider the start of this school year from an EICL (Equity, Inclusion and Compassionate Leadership) perspective, one thing I am most excited about is to see the energy from all of the stakeholders at EPS around EICL work. Students are committing themselves to social actions by joining EPS clubs focused on equity and inclusion, writing op-eds in our local news outlets, participating in local marches for social justice, and creating opportunities for change at every level. Likewise, teachers and staff members are participating in local and national discussions around equity and education, and are committing themselves to the continued work of creating a school community that is welcoming and safe for all students.

Part of the EICL work done on campus (or virtually) this past month involved continuing the work of the EICL group between the faculty and staff at EPS. Our meeting this month gave us an opportunity to reflect on our experiences over the summer. For some, this included revisiting a petition sent to EPS signed by many of our students and alumni. The essential question asked in the petition was inquiring how EPS is specifically addressing racism and implicit bias at our school. Upon reading the petition, the EPS faculty and staff realized that in this moment, our students were living up to the school’s mission and vision.

This petition was a reminder to us all that work involving diversity, equity, and inclusion is constant and needs revisiting and re-evaluating if it is to be successful. This month, part of that work includes celebrating Hispanic History Month. During this time (from September 15 through October 15), we celebrate diversity of the Latinx community (see this video for an example of that diversity) and the many contributions made by that community. As you celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month, you may also enjoy listening to a music playlist in honor of Hispanic culture compiled by EPS faculty and staff. Be sure to look for social media posts from several academic disciplines and by socially active student clubs. And finally, an episode on the EPS Podcast involving Latinx members of the EPS community is in production and will be released shortly. There is much to look forward to in the coming month.