Our Commitment To DEI
CH Network DEI Statement
Recognizing that a lack of educational opportunities was a major barrier to success, Christel DeHaan founded Christel House Indianapolis to eliminate that barrier for the historically and systemically underserved, marginalized, and disenfranchised populations in Indianapolis. We recognize, however, that there are additional barriers to success, including racism and other forms of prejudice. We condemn such racism and prejudice, and acknowledge our critical role to serve as a catalyst for change, to tear down barriers, and to condemn relational factors associated with generational poverty including racism, sexism, ageism, prejudice, and discrimination against people of color, women, immigrants, indigenous, LGBTQIA+, differently-abled populations, and people of all religious beliefs. We recognize and embrace our social responsibility to serve as an active participant in the fight for racial equity and to ensure all our students and families have a voice, choice, and equitable opportunity to break the cycle of generational poverty and injustice in our communities. This aligns with our beliefs as a network and with the legacy of our founder.
Accordingly, we commit in the following ways to providing a just, equitable, and inclusive educational environment for our students and their families, and workplace for our staff and teachers, to celebrating the unique perspective and gifts that every member of the Christel House family brings to our community, and to fight for equity for all members of our Christel House family:
We commit to providing equitable opportunities and experiences to our students both within the Christel House Indianapolis network of schools and relative to their peers educated elsewhere in the city. To our students and families, we commit to:
- Serving a diverse population, educated to become advocates for change for our communities and for other vulnerable peoples.
- Creating an equitable and inclusive learning environment where students participate in relevant, valuable, and culturally responsive high quality learning experiences with their peers. ? Equipping students with access to resources and services for their diverse needs, in an equitable fashion and in an inclusive, welcoming environment.
- Utilizing culturally relevant curricula that includes multiple perspectives and opportunities for critical thinking, promotes social justice, and teaches students how to become active citizens.
- Empowering students with equitable choices and opportunities to learn from mistakes,
- correct behavior, and receive disciplinary consequences that have a positive impact on their academic learning.
- Providing students with opportunities to learn from diverse mentors and teaching staff.
- Advocating for legislation and partnerships that generate inclusive access to poverty alleviating goods and services for families such as food, shelter, training, education, etc.
- Ensuring students have voice and choice in their life outcomes.
- Having high expectations for ourselves, our families, and our students and their futures.
As a network of charter schools serving predominantly students of color, it is important that our students have a vast representation of different groups in their teachers, not just support or office staff. In order to support a diverse, equitable, and inclusive staff, we commit to:
- Providing opportunities for growth and professional development for all.
- Maintaining equity and fairness in opportunities and career advancement.
- Creating a safe environment for teachers and staff to have important and difficult conversations where they are respected and heard.
- Adopting strategies to ensure diversity and equity in our recruitment and hiring processes.
Ensuring these are not just ideas but practices ingrained in the culture of Christel House Indianapolis, we commit to regularly collecting and presenting data showing our progress towards meeting these goals. Some of these data points will include:
- Annual school culture survey results that include questions of diversity, equity, and inclusion for students, staff, and families;
- Diversity of the teaching, network, leadership staff, and Board of Directors;
- Academic achievement and discipline data broken down by race, gender, and educational differences
We commit to including specific goals to address improvements in diversity, equity, and inclusion and activities supporting our commitments above, as an essential component in our strategic plan and reporting on our progress towards those goals at least annually.
January 2021 Updates:
While we will continuously work on increasing our efforts in the areas of DEI, we have already made some changes to better the network and take steps to meeting our DEI goals. We have created a network Diversity, Equity and Inclusion task force that has representatives from each campus that are in various staff roles and a parent/community/alumni task force to serve as thought partners in various things related through a DEI lens. The task force along with a DEI committee of our Board of Directors drove the development of this statement. We will work with the task force to identify a DEI Lead at each campus to help drive on site initiatives, conversations, and action.
We also worked with the community and local members of Native American communities over the summer in an effort to change the mascot of Manual High School after welcoming the school into the network in July. While some community members had sentimental feelings towards the former mascot, we relied on and listened to the members of the indigenous community that the mascot represented and decided that it was best to move forward in removing the mascot after hearing the perspectives of the community experts. We took a stand and shared the message that we will not mock or make light of a community in a way that
causes any group pain or the feeling that their culture is being erased. We strive to continue to actively work to be an anti-racist network that uses a lens of DEI to make decisions to ensure that we are truly giving students access to an equitable and just education.
It has been our focus to utilize Restorative Justice when helping students work through issues. We aim to help students and staff repair harm and understand the influence actions have on the community instead of approaching issues from a punitive disciplinary approach. We aim to continue to enhance this practice moving forward.