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 

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

Photo of the 21-22 Breck Program Directors
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.

What is New

Indigenous Peoples' Day MS Chapel

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. 

Community Commitments Share-Out Presentation

Thank you to all our parents, alumni, and friends of Breck who joined us for the 9.24 Community Commitments Share-Out presentation. During our time together, participants were able to see the evolution of our school's commitment to creating a more inclusive and equitable community in concrete and practicable actions. These initiatives fell into seven categories that were shared and discussed last night. These commitments and their subsequent actions will result in meaningful cultural change, not only benefiting those of non-dominant identities but all community members.

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. The hybrid youth programs was staged at Breck. This event featured master storytellers and music from the local sibling band, Nunnabove. Breck Grade 2 students watched the first show and the second show was available to MS and US students that wanted to attend. Thank you, BSA!

Updates, News, and Events

Meet a Mustang - Noble Family

During Black History Month, we are featuring Black, African, and African American identifying members of the Breck School community for our Meet a Mustang interviews. For our last interview of the month, we are introducing you to some beloved community members at Breck, the Noble family. 

Upper School Student Jaren Morton '21

During Black History Month, we are featuring Black, African, and African American identifying members of the Breck School community for our Meet a Mustang interviews. This week the Meet a Mustang feature is Jaren Morton '21, who started at Breck in the fall of 2016. 

Meet a Mustang: Tufaa Family
In honor of Black History Month, we are featuring Black, African, and African American identifying members of the Breck School community for our Meet a Mustang interviews. We’ll begin with the Tufaa family, who started at Breck in 2010. We are so thankful they are a part of the Breck community!
Breck Upper School Students Interview with Leslie Redmond

Breck Upper School students Joseph P. '21, Ayres W. '22, and Maddie M. '22 share their experience interviewing Leslie Redmond, a local community organizer and former President of the Minneapolis NAACP. They also share their excitement for the MLK Symposium and Amplify Our Love with Pie events happening at Breck this upcoming week. Ms. Redmond will be the Upper School keynote speaker for our 20th annual MLK Symposium.

Kai Miller '22 Interview

On Sunday, January 17th, Breck will co-host Sweet Potato Comfort Pie’s seventh annual MLK Holiday event: Amplify Our Love with Pie, to honor the 92nd birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Breck student, Kai Miller ‘22, has been working behind the scenes to get ready for the event. The communications team at Breck did a brief interview with Kai to ask about her experience working on the event.

Meet a Mustang: The Sixkiller Family

We hope you found the articles and interviews shared by Native American members of the Breck community insightful this month and that as a community we all learned more about Indigeneity. Our last highlight of Native American Heritage Month is an interview with the Sixkiller family. We are thankful for them and for their continued engagement in the Breck community! 

Meet a Mustang: Goze Families

During the month of November, we are introducing you to Native American families who are part of the Breck community. You can learn more about Indigeneity during our weekly updates throughout the month of November, which is Native American Heritage Month. This week’s spotlight is on the Goze families.

Breck's 2020-2021 DEI Audit

For the 2020-2021 academic year, Breck has 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 will review Breck's policies and pedagogical practice. The two firms will guide 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 them work with us this 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.
  • 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/.

Breck School Inclusion Committee

Breck's Inclusion Committee is a standing committee of the board charged with ensuring that appropriate resources, policies, and practices are in place to support the Breck community in its aspiration to set the standard, in both philosophy and deeds, for an inclusive culture that embraces one of our core values - that each student's life is enriched in a diverse community where differences among people are recognized and celebrated. The Diversity and Inclusion Committee will:

  • Partner with the Head of School (HOS) to determine relevant priorities, policies, and plans that align with the school's mission, values, and strategic goals.
  • Provide periodic updates to the Board of Trustees to ensure that key issues, priorities, and activities are understood and supported.
  • Support inclusion goals of the administration, faculty, and Parents Association with visible leadership and adequate resources.
  • Partner with the HOS in working toward an inclusive school community that is safe and welcomes all contributions from employees and families.