Diversity and inclusion are principles upon which Crossroads was founded. In keeping with this mission, the School recently hosted the inaugural XRDS Institute, titled “Making It Real: Enhancing Our Dialogue about Identity and Equity at Crossroads.”
Taking its cue from Crossroads’ 2012 Assessment of Inclusivity and Multiculturalism (AIM)
study and the resulting Supporting a Diverse Community Committee, the summer institute equipped employees with strategies to lead the School in its efforts to become a more inclusive, respectful and effective place. From Aug. 17-20, Liz Fernández, senior consultant with Jones Inclusive Leadership, facilitated the workshop attended by 14 faculty, staff and administrators.
Using academic research, case studies, group activities and Council, the cohort explored challenges that we still face at Crossroads, including microaggressions; the need for diversity at all levels of our organization; and how to develop stronger cultural competency in the adult community so that we can provide a more effective learning environment for our students.
The participants, in small groups, concluded the XRDS Institute by developing action plans that they will implement throughout the year. For example, groups will be working on a more accessible, dynamic presence on the School’s website, and promoting more effective inclusion of equity and justice issues in our curriculum.
In addition to the concrete work borne of the workshop, the Institute was successful in creating an alliance among the attendees that will give them courage to be change agents in the community. “Making It Real” participants included Alan Barstow, Jeff Guckert, Janeen Jackson, David Listenberger, Rosanna Llorens, Hali Morell, Jamy Myatt, Ashley Ratcliff, Ken Rosen, Silvia Salazar, Brianna Shepard, David Stewart, Dedric Terry and Veronica Ulloa.
Arts administrator Janeen Jackson said the Institute had an “enormous impact” on her life and caused her to see Crossroads in a new way.
“I loved the collaboration between the different disciplines with in the School, as I now feel more connected to my colleagues,” she said. “I also liked sharing issues about race that I normally wouldn’t be able to talk about with my colleagues—and our discussions were organic and comfortable! I learned that my work in this School begins with serious work on the self.”
Head of School Bob Riddle said the goal is for every faculty and staff member to eventually participate in the Institute.