September 2, 2020
Dear AHA Community Members,
We hope this finds you well. After welcoming our Stars back to school in a hybrid learning model this week, we wanted to turn your attention to an important update from the Academy of Holy Angels Cultural Awareness Committee (CAC) and share with you the groundwork we have laid since the formation of the CAC in June 2020.
The Cultural Awareness Committee is made up of individuals who, intentionally, hold different vantage points and are representatives of a variety of departments within the school. This dedicated group has met weekly since June to build out our mission statement, key initiatives, tangible action items, and timelines.To read more about the committee members, click HERE.
Since forming in June, the immediate action item of this group was to begin a respectful and open dialogue with current and recently graduated students and/or parents of color from AHA. This has included hearing voices via phone, email, Zoom, and social media. The purpose of our outreach was to have authentic, informal conversations to learn about the AHA experience from their lenses. We gathered input from several of AHA’s families of color on what can we improve upon based on their experiences and what we can continue to do well in order to retain and attract more diversity.
From those initial conversations and meetings, the Board of Trustees has reviewed and approved the mission and goals of the Cultural Awareness Committee (CAC), as follows:
Cultural Awareness Committee Mission:
Academy of Holy Angels, in accordance with our history and mission as a Catholic school founded by the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet and in accordance with our values of the AHA Way, is dedicated to improving the experience for marginalized individuals, more immediately our Black and Brown community. Academy of Holy Angels will be a leader in the Archdiocesan Catholic school community in ensuring that our students, faculty, and staff are aware of racial inequities and appropriately equipped to break down those barriers, within AHA and our larger communities.
1. Create a more inclusive education space for diverse students and families.
2. Develop appropriate representation within faculty and staff.
3. Create an enduring legacy rooted in our authentic mission and executed in service with an emphasis on marginalized individuals.
Next, the committee will be finalizing specific action items and timelines to support these goals, and we will share those with you when they are finalized. This will be done in conjunction with a broader set of subcommittees to include students, parents, staff, and alumni. These action items include tasks, such as: creating a student-led Diversity Club, gathering more feedback from students, reviewing and updating AHA curriculum to support an anti-racist education, providing ongoing diversity training for faculty and staff, and much more.
As our work continues, we intend to share key updates approximately once per quarter on our website. It is also very important for you to know that we want this to be a two-way communication. If you have ideas, input, or want to be involved, please don’t hesitate to contact Michael Kautzman directly; he can either listen to you or direct you to another committee or faculty member who you feel comfortable talking to.
We pray for God's guidance as we continue to do our part to make Holy Angels a place where students feel welcome, are treated with dignity, and, in the words of our founders, are 'always moving toward the profound love of God and love of neighbor without distinction.'
Tom Shipley Michael Kautzman Jazz Hampton '08
President CAC Chair CAC Board Liaison
To see the Cultural Awareness Committee members, click HERE.