Equity, Inclusion, and Compassionate Leadership (EICL) at EPS

EICL Statement Affirming Black Lives Matter

At Eastside Preparatory School, we believe in the Black Lives Matter Movement. We believe in human rights. Similarly to how Hillary Rodham Clinton, in her speech as first lady of the United States at the United Nations Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing (1995), spoke of women’s rights as being human rights, we believe that Black lives mattering is an essential human right that should matter to all humans around the world. We as an educational community strive for the equal treatment of everyone, and stand on the principle that until Black lives truly matter, optimistically claiming that all lives matter, or worse, sitting to the side in silence, will only perpetuate the racial injustice that has plagued our nation for generations. All of these are efforts are in keeping with our stated Vision of Inspiring Students to Create a Better World and our stated Mission of Thinking Critically, Acting Responsibly, Innovating Wisely, and perhaps most importantly, Leading Compassionately.

At EPS, we recognize that learning and working in the twenty-first century require all students to know how to build, work within, and be appreciative of a diverse community.  Equity, inclusion and compassionate leadership are at the core of helping us to fulfill our vision of inspiring our students “to create a better world.”

Equity: Fair and just treatment of all through the creation of opportunities to address privilege and power imbalances.

Inclusion: Active, intentional, and ongoing creation of an environment in which all members of the community “share a sense of belonging, mutual respect, and being valued for who they are.” (Miller & Katz, 2002)

Compassionate Leadership: The capacity to open to the reality of another’s suffering and to work toward its healing.

EPS is dedicated to advancing equity, inclusion, and compassionate leadership throughout all aspects of the school—in the classroom, the hallways, faculty and administrative meetings, and beyond. Building such a community is a constantly evolving process that requires flexibility, trust, and commitment to the idea that all people share a common humanity.

Ed Castro
Interim EICL Coordinator

“I continue to choose Eastside Preparatory School as my teaching home because this is a place where I can affect change. We have the opportunity to continue to grow this year as we broaden our perspectives and engage in dialogue with each other around what it truly means to be an equitable, inclusive, and diverse learning community. I look forward to continuing the work plan of my colleague Bess McKinney (currently on leave), and welcome the challenge of examining and strengthening our programming, systems, methods, and transparency of communication. I want everyone in our community to experience our commitment to showing respect for all and encouraging open collaboration and communication. We will actively, and with more purposeful intention, seek community members, content and opportunities that represent who we are as a welcoming and inclusive school.”
-Dr. Ed Castro

Bess McKinney
Equity and Inclusion Coordinator

“When I first walked onto the EPS campus, I was struck by the sense of community here—by the kindness and connectedness I observed around me.  Since that time, I’ve seen the ways in which our students and adults support one another and try, in small and big ways, to build a more equitable, inclusive, and compassionate world.

My work is to build upon this culture and support all our families.  This means increasing our capacity to talk about identity and difference and our understanding of the ways in which we are deeply interconnected.”
-Bess McKinney

Equity, Inclusion and Compassionate Leadership began, in a formal sense, in 2016.  We were trying to understand how we had become two different Americas. We were trying to understand how to unpack systemic racism and our own individual biases.  Two years later, in 2018, I appointed our first EICL Coordinator, who moved quickly to engage students in conversations addressing every human condition.  The 2018-2019 school year began with several sessions on gender identity led by consultant Aidan Key.  He worked with students, faculty, staff and parents.  In the fall of 2019-2020 we began the year working with another consultant on racism and personal bias, Alison Park.  She completed her work with us in the fall and was scheduled to return in the spring.  But then there was COVID-19.  At the conclusion of these observations, I’ll include a copy of the current EICL Work Plan, written by Bess McKinney, EICL Coordinator, and implemented for the first six months of the coming academic year by Dr. Castro.  My aim here is to provide a very brief and general context for the work that has been going on for several years.  This is not work that gets finished.  It’s a life project.

Fast forward to May 2020, and the death of George Floyd.  The following excerpts were taken from daily briefings filed with parents, faculty and students on a weekly basis from March 5 through June 10.

Link to May 29 Community Briefing (work by EICL faculty group)

Link to June 1 Community Briefing (Reflection by Head of School)

Link to June 2 Community Briefing (Allies in Equity Club Community Conversation)

Link to June 26 Community Briefing (Ed Castro announced as Interim EICL Coordinator & Allies for Equity Community Conversation)

Link to July 17 Community Briefing (EICL reading recommendations)

Additional Resources:

EICL Workplan
The EPS Anti-Racist Resource List

Inspire Magazine Articles:

This is just the beginning—of our efforts, and of the conversation.

Dr. Terry Macaluso, Head of School