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Firstline Schools
 

DEI

Diversity, Equity, Inclusion Statement

DEI in Action

At FirstLine Schools, we value diverse perspectives and diversity amongst our staff, from racial diversity to educational background diversity.

We believe these values are the foundation of our anti-racist work and will lead to our students becoming adults who can positively change unjust systems and help build a more equitable society.

We value developing a school culture that helps students have a “big life,” one that is filled with positive internal and external experiences at school. We value a strong academic program that is complemented by great extracurriculars, as we are committed to developing the whole child in mind, body, and spirit.

At Firstline Schools, equity equals education.

First and foremost, our race and equity work is about impacting the lives of students in mind, body and spirit. We will do this through our DEI Commitments.

Each year we will focus on one or two commitments for the entire year, making them our priority for our staff, students, families, and community.

The full list of DEI Commitments can be found here.

Our 2022-23 DEI Commitments

MIND

Driving student learning outcomes is the first priority of DEI work, and this begins with a strong student and parent partnership.

Our priority is to enhance math achievement and student agency at FirstLine Schools

ORGANIZATION

We will actively recruit, hire and retain staff that reflect student demographics at all levels and set clear diverse staff hiring goals.

We will launch and achieve diversity goals, along with our rationale.

Goal #1

Establish a clear definition of what diversity means at FirstLine Schools.

The intentional recruitment, hiring and retention of committed and high performing staff that reflect Firstline’s student demographics at all levels – supported by clear diverse staff hiring goals.

Goal #2

Have racial/ethnic diversity of staff that reflects the racial/ethnic diversity of New Orleans, measured in the following ways:

      • Entire Organization

      • Teachers

      • School leadership teams

      • Network office

      • Senior network leadership

Our students need to see people that look like them at all levels of the organization, and our students need to see people that look different than them. Our city is a diverse racial / ethnic community, and we believe it is important that our staff reflect our community.

Current Demographics of New Orleans

Goal #3

Increase LatinX staff by 10% by the 2023-24 school year and by 20% by the 2026-27 school year. Define recruitment strategies for LatinX staff, as well as school & network goals.

Our LatinX student population has grown, and the LatinX student population is growing in our city, per recent enrollment data. We value representation of our student population within our staff population, and we must ensure that our LatinX students are represented in our staff.

Goal #4

Refine FirstLine Schools compensation structure to increase equity practices in compensation.

We have recently completed a city-wide compensation study, and we now know where we are as compared to the market. Additionally, we want to define what we value related to compensation. We have received funding to do a deep dive into our compensation system.

Our Roots

A deep commitment to racial equity has always been at the heart of FirstLine’s work, and it was core to our founding commitment to provide quality education experiences to all young people in the city.

We have been even more intentional about developing our collective understanding of racial equity since 2016 after the murder of Alton Sterling at the hands of police. At that time we began to more formally engage in workshops and conversations about race, inclusion, equity and the different perspectives and skills we all bring to discussing and addressing these issues.

We believe a racial equity lens is essential to actualizing FirstLine’s mission and vision by developing our skills as team members who believe that equity begins with the high expectations we have for our students and is actualized through the will and skills needed to provide our students with an educational experience that matches those expectations.

Summer 2016

Summer 2016

School leaders and network leaders met to discuss issues of race and equity, along with FirstLine’s approach to race and equity, after the death of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile.

2016-2017 School Year

2016-2017 School Year

The National Equity Project partnered with FLS and provided training at Leadership Retreats. FirstLine formed an Equity Working Group and Steering Committees, which met to shape and guide the work at our network.  

2017-2018 School Year

2017-2018 School Year

Dr. Allisyn Swift, Race and Equity Coordinator, and the Equity Working Group created the FirstLine Commitments through collaborative work across the network. All FirstLine staff participated in Initial self awareness training at network PD day. FirstLine staff across the network participated in pilot Valor Circles, a key strategy in building relationships across lines of difference.

2018-2019 School Year

2018-2019 School Year

Network leaders and school leaders collaborated to reframe our race and equity work to be at the center of our work in Mind, Body, and Spirit. Network leaders participated in a series of trainings to be used to turn-key with staff over the summer and throughout the year. FirstLine’s Equity Working Group piloted Valor Circles with a race and equity focus. All-staff PD had race and equity choice sessions for all staff. FLS partnered with Beloved Community to spearhead diversity work at Green and at the network. FirstLine committed to creating a strategic plan related to diversity, equity, and inclusion from this work by early August.

2019-2020 School Year

2019-2020 School Year

Beloved Equity Audit Review. Leaders identified Organizational Focus Areas based on Equity Audit.

2020-2021 School Year

2020-2021 School Year

All FirstLine staff received Overcoming Racism training (July 2020 – February 2021). Virtual Learning & Afterschool Experiences.

2021-2022 School Year

2021-2022 School Year

FirstLine hired its first Chief Equity Officer. FirstLine created its DEI Statement, Commitments to Act, and Diversity Goals with stakeholder input (organizational partners, parents, staff, leaders, FirstLine Board). FirstLine leaders presented the DEI Statement and Commitments to Act to the whole organization. FirstLine’s Chief Equity Officer presented the Diversity Goals to leadership and new staff at summer PD). FirstLine launched Culturally Responsive Teaching & The Brain book study and leader training (summer).

2022-2023 School Year

2022-2023 School Year

Year of Action: Culturally Responsive Teaching & The Brain book study and leader and staff training continues.