Dear Search Associates Community,
Search Associates has been on a path of reflection and learning these past sixteen months to become a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive organization. We shared our intentions and initial actions in our first DEI communication in August 2020. Soon after, we shared feedback from our candidate listening circles in December 2020 and subsequently, published our three-year strategic DEI plan.
Today, we would like to update you on our progress, and the actions we have taken since our last communication, starting with the development of our DEI Guiding Statement. Additional actions to date are below.
Search Associates DIVERSITY, EQUITY, and INCLUSION Guiding Statement
At Search Associates, we believe it is our responsibility to address and remedy the lack of diversity, equity, and inclusion within our organization and the world of international schools. We know we have the influence to affect the changes needed to eradicate institutional racism and bias within the international school ecosystem. We embrace the moral imperative that accompanies that power.
To live into our mission of partnering with quality international schools and exceptional educators to serve and enrich learning worldwide, we will make our commitment to DEI more evident in our work and in all aspects of what we do. That commitment holds us accountable to a high degree of transparency, continuous organizational learning, and transformation of our policies and practices as keys to successfully achieving the changes we seek.
To step boldly into this work, we have made the following commitments to identify, confront, and dismantle systems of inequity within our community and to take actions for racial justice:
- We will embrace diversity, equity, inclusion, and social justice practices and principles within our organization.
- We will use our influence to promote DEI and social justice within the international school ecosystem.
- We will commit to a high level of transparency, hold ourselves able to learn and change, and lean into discomfort as we confront our own personal and institutional biases.
- We will partner strategically with other organizations and stakeholders to challenge inequity and systems of oppression throughout the international school community.
- We will actively recruit, hire, and integrate the perspectives of BIPOC and other historically marginalized candidates at all organizational levels and support our school partners in doing the same.
- We will implement systems of accountability, and we will measure the progress we make in our organization and the progress made within our member school community.
- We will provide safe spaces for our community members to share their stories about the racism and inequity that may exist in their context.
- We will educate and support our member schools on their DEI journey, and we will create opportunities for further learning specific to diversity, equity, and inclusion.
This Guiding Statement, we know, will change along the way, and we are committed to keeping this a living document that will reflect our learning and growth. While our mission will not change, our relationships with school leaders, governing Boards, and educator candidates will be transformed and strengthened by the expectations we have for ourselves and those we further develop for our partners and us.
Further actions taken are as follows:
We have updated our school agreement to include the following statement in our Guiding Principles of Membership:
Search Associates member schools are expected to believe in and act on the following principle:
At Search Associates, we are firmly committed to helping shape a more inclusive and diverse international school community. Therefore, we expect that principles of diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) are respected and implemented throughout the school and in every aspect of the school’s life and operations.
We have updated our school profile: Questions have been added requiring schools to share information about their DEI guiding statements, strategic plan, policies, and training, as well as whether they are currently engaged in targeted recruitment efforts to reach, recruit, and hire BIPOC candidates. Additionally, schools are asked to declare if there are laws that may restrict hiring members of the LGBTQ+ community. Candidates can now see this information on a school profile page so they can make informed decisions.
We have added a demographics section to our candidate profiles specific to race and gender: Our intent is to use the confidential data collected to hold ourselves accountable to our DEI initiatives and monitor our progress. We have also provided the opportunity for candidates who identify as BIPOC to elect to share that information to schools that are taking explicit actions to increase representation in their teaching staff and co-create an environment where BIPOC educators are valued and can thrive. This sharing is completely optional.
We have updated our candidate profiles: A thorough audit of our candidate profiles was completed, and language was removed that could be discriminatory such as country of birth, changing age to an optional question instead of required, in addition to our previously shared actions.
We are engaged in DEI training: In partnership with our DEI consultants, we are developing and offering ongoing companywide professional development, including training in intercultural competence and anti-bias hiring practices.
We acknowledge that we have much to learn and must also take conscious and deliberate efforts to challenge the impact of racial bias and work with others to create communities where all can thrive. As we learn more, as we do more, our understanding, courage, and capacity to act will evolve and grow. While we cannot promise perfection, we can promise critical, strategic action and reflection that we hope leads to personal and systemic transformation in the international school community.
We will continue to keep everyone updated on our progress, and thank you all for your continued support.
Jessica Magagna, CEO & The Search Associates Team