Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

On behalf of Breck, I am embracing this moment in our school's story to ensure we live up to our commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Natalia Rico Hernández, Ed.D.
Head of School
September 18, 2020 

Guiding Documents

Following a year-long discovery process with equity partner Design Impact, Breck has developed our Community Commitments. These are specific action steps that were developed by community members, for community members and articulate our work toward a school culture of equity and belonging. 

Read the Full Community Commitments 

Following a year-long discovery process with equity partner Design Impact, Breck has developed our Community Commitments. These are specific action steps that were developed by community members, for community members and articulate our dream for our school culture and practice of our Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion work. For a quick summary, check out this document.  

Read the ONe-Page Introduction

We know as an educational institution that the practice of healthy discourse is essential to the learning environment. Over a two-year period, we spoke with students, teachers, and parents about what discourse should look and feel like. Our Discourse with Dignity document outlines our commitment to honor the dignity of one another as a part of our culture of discourse.  

Read the Statement of Philosophy

Updates, News, and Events

Photo of the Native American Gathering 2022

Indigenous Peoples have made essential contributions to the history, culture, and economy of Minnesota. Today, we honor the experiences, resiliency, and rich legacy of Indigenous Peoples across the country. Happy Indigenous Peoples Day!

Black History Month Interview with Dr. Baker

Upper School Director, Dr. Troy Baker, shares a video interview on what Black History Month means to him, his pride in the Oasis students as they shared in US Chapel, and what black stories he wants to see in told in the future.

Black History Month US Chapel by Oasis

This week, Oasis led Breck’s Upper School Chapel. The affinity group members reflected over the past calendar year and shared important events and themes month by month.

Celebrating 50 Years of Title IX and National Girls and Women in Sports Day

This month marks the 50th anniversary of Title IX, the ceiling-shattering legislation that protected individuals from discrimination in athletics based on their gender and paved the way for female-identifying athletes to play and compete in athletics. Breck is taking time to reflect on the opportunities Title IX afforded our community and the extraordinary accomplishments of our athletes.

Happy Lunar New Year!

Happy Lunar New Year! We enjoyed spending time with students across all divisions at Breck as they did activities in their Chinese classes. We also met with the Asian Affinity Group for MS & US to talk about identity and vision cast for the future.

Ramona Kitto Stately shares with Breck staff during Native American Heritage Month

Breck recognizes and celebrates November as Native American Heritage Month. This month gives our school community an opportunity to do much-needed narrative change work, to learn about the culture and history of Indigenous peoples in the United States, and to grow in our allyship with the original peoples of this land. 

First page of the PDF file: Community-Commitments-2021-Dec-V21

On October 8, Breck's Middle School chapel featured Indigenous identifying students presenting about Indigenous Peoples' Day and sharing why they are proud to be Native.

Black Storytellers Alliance Show

On September 24, Breck partnered with our friends Vusumuzi and Nothando Zulu of the Black Storytellers Alliance (BSA) to co-host the 31st Annual Black Storytellers Alliance School Festival. 

DEI at Breck

Breck is committed to the values and work of diversity, equity, and inclusion within every aspect of school life. We know that a thriving community is one that is diverse, embracing the richness of varying perspectives and leaning into the discourse that comes with difference. While diversity is an expression of different identities, both visible and invisible, equity is the work to ensure that all of our community members have access to all the opportunities our institution provides. And inclusion is the work to ensure that every community member has a deep sense of belonging within our school community.

We believe that it is only through a commitment to DEI work that all of our graduates will embrace a life of intellectual curiosity, self knowledge, and social responsibility. When this is not achieved for one, this is not lived for all.

Program Directors' DEI Role

The role of the program directors is to offer another level of leadership with a school wide focus to ensure that programming is mission aligned. Central to this focus is the lived experience of our students and families. In addition to offering programming through the Peter Clark Center for Mind, Brain, and Education, Melrose Family Center for Servant Leadership, and Chapel, this team develops programming that deepens the work of faculty and school leaders, including capacity building in the area of anti-racism and anti-oppression.
The directors are present in each division, guiding school wide efforts to ensure that intellectual curiosity, self knowledge, and social responsibility are cultivated for each and every student. This includes collaborating with divisional administrative teams to process student behavior in order to cultivate a healthy and positive community and leaning into our commitment to be an anti-racist and anti-oppression school. Our guiding questions are, who are you as a learner, who are you as a leader, and who are you as an individual and interconnected human being.

Breck's 2020-2021 DEI Audit

During the 2020-2021 academic year, Breck engaged in consulting relationships with Design Impact, a firm that uses human-centered design to build a more equitable culture, and EnGenderED, a firm that reviewed Breck's policies and pedagogical practice. The two firms guided Breck through a facilitated process that will result in long lasting change in the area of diversity, equity, and inclusion at the school. We are excited to have partnered with them during the 2020-2021 school year.
Design Impact is a social innovations firm that uses human-centered design to create equitable change. The process they use will engage all constituencies at Breck and facilitate the co-creation of a strategy for cultivating long lasting social change within the school. In addition to evaluating all existing data the school has collected in recent history, including items like the school’s accreditation report from ISACS, the Blueprint for Strategic Plan, and Mission/Values articulation, the process will include a ladder up to action phase. During this phase of restorative discovery, community members will connect about Breck’s equity work, honor the past, name existing challenges, collect input into new ways of working and being together, and give room to heal. Breck will build toward identifying strategic goals and an action plan for accomplishing those commitments. An internal core team representing our key constituencies will help guide the process. Caitlin Behle, Dr. Curtis Web II, and Sarah Roberson will be the Design Impact team that will work with Breck.
Dr. Charlotte Jacobs and Dr. Katie Clonan-Roy of EnGenderED Research Collaborative will be our partners throughout Breck's audit process. Dr. Jacobs is an adjunct assistant professor from University of Pennsylvania Graduate School for Education. Her research focuses on issues of identity development and gender in education concerning adolescent girls of color, teacher education and diversity, and youth participatory action research. Dr. Clonan-Roy is an Assistant Professor at Cleveland State University in the College of Education and Human Services Department of Curriculum and Foundations. Her research focuses on the intersections of education, adolescent development, and gender and sexuality studies. Dr. Jacobs and Dr. Clonan-Roy will accompany the schoolwide process by building capacity at every level of school leadership including but not limited to the Board of Trustees, Senior Leadership Team, Academic Leadership Team, Faculty, and Parents. Their expertise in curriculum and pedagogy will be tremendous resources as we do a deep inquiry into our practice with an anti-racist/anti-oppression lens.

Breck Community Shared Language

  • Diversity: is the makeup of the community. It is quantitative data and is most readily determined by race, gender, culture, class, sexual orientation, religion, ability, and appearance
  • Equity: refers to fairness, justice, and access for all people — while recognizing the historical and present-day barriers that deny and/limit access for marginalized people groups to equal opportunities. Equity acknowledges the root causes of disparities and the just and fair distribution of resources.
  • Inclusion: is the effort of the community to make space for each member of the community to experience safety and belonging.
  • Belonging: Feeling seen, heard, understood, and respected. 
  • Dominant Narrative: The primary lens through which history is told;  primarily through the perspective of White, or dominant culture. What society considers, "normal," or "expected."
  • White Privilege:  The unearned societal privilege afforded to Whiteness, and often proximity to Whiteness; rooted in European colonialism.
  • White Centering: To intentionally, or unintentionally put the wants of White, or White-presenting folks in front of the needs of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color.
  • Institutional Racism: “Institutionalized racism is defined as the structures, policies, practices, and norms resulting in differential access to the goods, services, and opportunities of society by "race." Institutionalized racism is normative, sometimes legalized, and often manifests as inherited disadvantage. It is structural, having been codified in our institutions of custom, practice, and law, so there need not be an identifiable perpetrator. Indeed, institutionalized racism is often evident as inaction in the face of need.” - Camara Phyllis Jones
  • Anti-Racism: 

     "an active and conscious effort to work against multidimensional aspects of racism," - Robert J. Patterson
    “An antiracist is someone who is expressing an antiracist idea or supporting an antiracist policy with their actions” - Ibram Kendi 

    Breck has adopted these terms from Work Beyond the Work, LLC. You can find more about them at https://www.workbeyondthework.com/.