News: Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion - Aug 26, 2020
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Wednesday, August 26, 2020General News

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

 
Dear Search Associates Community,

On June 5, 2020, following the murder of George Floyd, the Search Associates team issued a statement expressing our belief that Black Lives Matter and our commitment to inquiry and taking action against systemic racism and social injustice. Following that statement, we heard from many of you both publicly and privately, wanting to know what actions we will take.

During the past several weeks, we have begun a process of looking inward. We know that such inquiry begins with us and that we have not done enough. We recognize and seek to understand how our actions and inactions have caused or contributed to harm.

In failing to recognize the impact of systemic racism and bias on those we serve, Search Associates has fallen short in helping highly qualified candidates of color obtain positions in some of the best international schools worldwide. We have also fallen short in actively using our influence to help shape a more inclusive and diverse international school community.

We know that discrimination and bias are broadly experienced by many different individuals and groups. Our initial steps will focus on the experience of our BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) candidates with an understanding that this work will help to create a more inclusive and equitable international school community and have a wide-reaching and transformative impact.

Our words ring hollow without tangible actions and evidence of change. Search Associates commits to the action steps below, knowing that we have much to learn and understand to create and sustain change, and to gain the trust of everyone we serve.                                                                                           

Most immediately, Search Associates has:
  • Mandated the removal of "native English speaker" from all job postings to our site
     
  • Noted on our candidate applications that photos should not be uploaded and will have this section fully removed from our applications
     
  • Engaged Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) consultants to advise and support us in our work ahead
By the end of December 2020, Search Associates will:
  • Complete a comprehensive equity and inclusion organizational audit that captures demographic diversity data and identifies needed changes to policies, systems, structures, and practices to create and sustain a more inclusive organization

  • Conduct surveys, interviews, and listening circles with educators and schools, network-wide, to capture their experiences and perceptions around diversity, equity, and inclusion within lived experiences with Search Associates -- these conversations will amplify and add to our initial action steps
     
  • Engage in individual and organizational learning, beginning with the Intercultural Development Inventory (IDI), which allows individuals and groups to focus on increasing their intercultural competence (from how they currently engage cultural differences to how they can more effectively engage diversity)
By the end of March 2021, Search Associates will:
  • Use insights from our data gathering, listening, and learning to revise our organizational strategic plan, prioritizing DEI goals in order to make meaningful and needed change
     
  • Have a concrete plan to add more diversity within our organization, with a focus on our leadership team 
  • Identify steps to work with our member schools and other partners in the industry to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion in the international school community
     
  • Communicate and launch our three-year DEI plan and goals
Over the course of this next year, we will continue to provide updates on our progress with honesty and transparency. We will hold ourselves accountable to do what we have committed to do and we will use our influence to advocate for a truly inclusive international school community.

We are grateful to those of you who have challenged us, shared your experiences and offered suggestions in recent weeks. As we move forward, we will continue to engage the whole community in this dialogue against racism, wherever and in whatever form it exists, while centering the voices and experiences of BIPOC educators.

We also recognize the burden of this work is on us. It is our responsibility to identify, address and challenge the attitudes, behaviors, policies, and structures within our organization that perpetuate and contribute to systemic racism and bias. It is also our responsibility to use our influence with our partner schools around the world to do the same.

Sincerely,
Jessica Magagna, CEO and The Search Associates Team

Did You Know…?

Search Associates has over 20 Senior Associates with offices around the globe, each bringing a wealth of experience in international education.