Social Justice and Equity
As we move toward celebrating the 50th Anniversary of Giddens in 2022, we recommit to social justice and equity as the central pillars guiding our work with children. This 50 year commitment, along with our country’s painful reckoning with the long history of anti-Blackness and the recent increase in bias incidents facing others in marginalized communities has galvanized these efforts. As a school community, we have the foundation to push ourselves forward and engage justice both within and beyond the school walls.
As an independent, progressive school, Giddens is inherently a privileged place and we expect and hope that our community from students to faculty to staff to Board of Trustees to families will individually and collectively use that privilege to better the world around us. As a school community, we are committed to:
- Social justice: Principles of justice frame everything we do from policies regarding admissions, financial aid, and hiring to practices of teaching, learning, and belonging. At Giddens, learning justice is about our daily interactions with one another, our understanding of each other’s perspectives and experiences. Learning justice is also about understanding how larger systems and structures impact an individual’s or a community’s access to equality and equity. For students, this means we support them in developing from the age of 3 to the age of 11 knowledge of how social structures influence people’s daily lived experience. This leads students to ask questions like: Why is it that in Seattle the majority of people of color live south of the Montlake cut and then having them engage in learning to develop an understanding of that inquiry. Our goal is that students leave Giddens with a strong sense of empathy towards others that allow them to be an ally, and with knowledge of how the world works that allows them to engage in change when they feel or see that it is needed.
- Equity: Equity is a central value of the Giddens community and it means that we attempt to address the structural inequalities faced by students and families as exemplified in our commitment to create a more inclusive and socio-economically diverse community. We acknowledge that every student, family, or community member requires differentiated support to thrive. We bring an equity lens to how we engage students and consider carefully each individual’s learning and social emotional needs. In regards to learning, we help students to develop an early awareness of how equity is different from equality, for example, through a lesson about how different kinds of injuries require different sized bandaids. In the upper grades, we engage students in learning not only about how individuals based on their racial identities have been treated unfairly, but also how individuals have resisted oppression to work for equity--this learning comes to a culminating moment in our 5th grade Spark project entitled, “Oppression and Resistance.” Our goal is that when students move on from Giddens they know more than the definitional differences between equity and equality as concepts, and have knowledge and experience about the ways in which taking an equity stance values individuals and communities.
Social justice and equity are the heart of Giddens. The Giddens community believes in our shared, human experience and is committed to providing students with an education in which they are seen, valued, and respected as well as with an education that expects them, along with all of us, to “learn justice” each and every day.