Mountain Brook Schools Diversity Update | June 14, 2021
Our last communication regarding the work of the Mountain Brook Schools Diversity Committee was on April 14, 2021, in which we shared the recommendations made to the school system by the Diversity Committee. Since that time, articles along with local and national media outlets have communicated information that has caused confusion and concern about the Diversity Committee’s work. At this time, we hope to provide an update on the current direction of the Mountain Brook Schools Diversity Committee.
As a reminder, the MBS Diversity Committee made five recommendations to Mountain Brook Schools that can be found at https://www.mtnbrook.k12.al.us/Page/21672. As a non-political organization, MBS understands that the role of the school is to educate children and prepare them for their futures, while honoring the role of the family as the centerpiece of a child’s development. Because of this, we would like to define the work of the school system as we embark on initial steps related to our goal of “developing structures to ensure that the school district honors diversity and that all who are associated with the school district are treated with respect".
To date, MBS has taken the following steps towards the recommendations set forth by the MB Diversity Committee:
- Each school is establishing a local diversity committee composed of students, parents, teachers, and administrators. Committees will meet in early fall to begin planning for the 2021-22 school year.
- MBS has provided anti-bias training for all faculty and staff. Provided by the ADL, the training was conducted virtually in small groups and focused on defining bias and establishing a culture of respect and safety in schools. While the ADL also provides resources for many different subjects, MBS is not considering using those resources in our schools.
MBS has examined a variety of resources to provide local school committees a framework to guide their work. One program that was considered is the “No Place for Hate” framework that provides autonomy for schools to design their own diversity activities related to their community. However, after continued review of various resources, MBS has decided to develop its own framework. We believe that Mountain Brook students, teachers, parents, and administrators are best equipped to effectively develop a customized framework that promotes a school culture that honors individual differences, diversity and respects the dignity of all.
To achieve this goal, Mountain Brook Schools will utilize the following framework to guide each local school’s work:
- Each local school will develop a planning committee comprised of students, parents, teachers, and administrators to expand opportunities for more diverse interactions among students.
- Each school’s committee will develop three authentic, interactive activities during the school year.
- The local school committee will communicate the planned activities with each local school’s parent community, PTO, and the MBS Diversity Committee.
- Each local school will conduct bullying and reporting education with all students, as required by the state of Alabama.
- Mountain Brook School counselors will continue to develop social-emotional educational lessons to be shared with students at the grade and classroom level.
Mountain Brook Schools has been made aware of other issues that are being connected to diversity at the national and state level. Mountain Brook Schools would like to make the following assurances:
- MBS has not adopted any curriculum outlining diversity topics that will be implemented in MB classrooms, including Critical Race Theory.
- MBS has not adopted any books in response to the diversity and inclusion initiatives.
- MBS will not utilize any third-party reporting agencies or tools. Last year, MBS implemented its own local reporting processes. For more information on reporting, listen to our podcast on school culture.
This implementation is an activity-based initiative and is not connected to any curriculum or teaching standards, but rather is rooted in authentic student experiences and activities designed by our own parents, teachers and students. The diversity work being promoted in Mountain Brook is designed to reflect the values of our community that are rooted in respect for all people, honoring differences in individuals, and acceptance of every student who attends Mountain Brook Schools.
We are looking forward to our local school committees developing authentic opportunities that will support positive school culture for every student.