CrossRoads Anti-Bias/Anti-Racist Training

Jason HeissererUncategorized

Friends,

For the past three days, Cliff, Gina, and I have been participating in an Anti-Bias/Anti-Racist workshop along with friends and colleagues at City Garden Montessori School, the US Bank CDC, and two leaders from the United Methodist Church. This workshop was facilitated by CrossRoads Antiracism Organizing and Training. As always, I am impressed by the courage and vulnerability of the participants and the attention and commitment the facilitators give to these experiences.

My participation in this workshop is important because it gave me an opportunity to think about anti-bias and anti-racist work from the perspective of the Head of School. When I participated or facilitated such work before, it was always as a teacher or as a mid-level leader in a school district. My focus in those roles was more on my own biases, conscious or unconscious, and how they played out in my work with students, parents, faculty, staff, and community. I did not think so much about the institutionalized part of racism, because I did not feel like I had influence at the design level of the school districts in which I taught and led and, frankly, perhaps because it was too difficult to think about and too easy not to have to. As a Head of School, though, I am leading from the design level of Crossroads, so it is not only my own bias that I must check but also any bias that exists, explicitly or implicitly, consciously or unconsciously, as part of the culture and institution of Crossroads. This is heavy in me, and I am glad that Cliff and Gina were a part of this experience. We were a support for one another.

It is important that I take on the responsibility of leading for a just, diverse, and democratic school with renewed vigor. I must do this because it’s aligned to our mission and because it’s right for our students and community. I have spent some time this summer reviewing the results of the survey I sent out on the last day of school. Several responders mentioned the importance of our social justice work or wondered why we did not do more social justice work or pointedly suggested that we might be failing in this regard. This was on my mind as I participated in this workshop, and I am glad to have received more tools and encouragement to better lead this work.

With great expectations,
Jason