Addressing Racism

“As Christians, we are called to listen and know the stories of our brothers and sisters. We must create opportunities to hear, with open hearts, the tragic stories that are deeply imprinted on the lives of our brothers and sisters, if we are to be moved with empathy to promote justice.” - Open Wide Our Hearts: The Enduring Call to Love – A Pastoral Letter Against Racism

The St. Francis Xavier Catholic School System is committed to work towards the common good and to address injustices in our schools, in our community and in our world. Therefore, as members of Xavier’s leadership team we are called to address racial injustices and we commit to:

  • address racism within the schools

  • offer professional development for faculty and staff in cultural competency

  • generate a more representative curriculum

  • establish a System-wide Equity Team to support and monitor initiatives and progress in fight racism and prejudice in our schools

Address racism within the schools

Xavier’s leadership understands that all members of Xavier community deserve to feel safe, heard, and included in the System’s mission. Accordingly,  all reports of racist behavior will be taken seriously. Current handbook and policies define harassment and sexual harassment, but do not specifically address racist harassment. 

Tasks:

  • In student handbooks for each campus, school administrators will add a specific section defining racist harassment and procedures to address it. This will include this process for documenting racist behavior as well as the steps in place to support the impacted student(s) and/or employee(s).
     

  • Each semester, the Education Committee will review and analyze data pertaining to racial incidents at our campuses to ensure incidents are being appropriately addressed and the necessary measures are in place to reduce (and eventually eliminate) these incidents. 

Offer professional development for faculty in cultural competency

The Education Committee recently approved that all faculty will complete at least 3 hours of professional development in the area of cultural competency and/or racial diversity per academic year.

Tasks:

  • The Superintendent will update the Staff Development website with upcoming professional development opportunities.

  • Superintendent and school administrators will remind faculty of the expectation and share information about upcoming professional development opportunities. 

  • The Xavier System will continue to sponsor African Heritage, Inc’s African Heritage Emerging Student Leader Institute and Faculty Workshop

Generate a more representative curriculum

Xavier’s curriculum will be robust, aligned with academic standards  and designed to ensure we are using the privilege of Catholic education to best position our young people to act with justice. Our curriculum will represent diverse perspectives and provide students with the tools to effectively understand and think critically about local, state, national and global issues.

History/Social Studies

In January 2020, a System-wide Social Studies Task Force was assembled to review the history/social studies curriculum in early childhood through high school. This group will be asked to incorporate diverse perspectives into the curriculum.

Task: The perspectives of Black, Indigenous, Hispanic, and other non-white groups will be incorporated into the history/social studies curriculum at each grade level. The Social Studies Task Force will review the current curriculum to:

  • identify when and how the perspectives of non-whites are incorporated into all units of study

  • identify resources to fill any gaps

  • help teachers and students to make connections to contemporary events

English/Language Arts

Literature is a meaningful way to understand the experience of a group of people. We call upon the elementary teachers and English/Language Arts teachers to incorporate non-white authors into their classes.

Task: The perspectives of Black, Indigenous, Hispanic, and other non-white groups will be incorporated into the English/Language Arts curriculum at each campus. School administrators at each campus will:

  • identify when and how the perspectives of non-whites are incorporated into all units of study

  • identify resources to fill any gaps

  • help teachers and students to make connections to contemporary events

Equity Team

The Xavier System will establish a System-wide Equity Team. Membership of the Equity Team will include:

  • President

  • Superintendent

  • Board Members

  • Parents

The Equity Team will meet quarterly to monitor progress on the initiatives and progress in fighting racism and prejudice in our schools. The Team will offer support and recommend resources to assist Xavier in achieving its goals.  


Send questions/inquiries to:

Mr. Phil Riley
President
priley@xaviercatholicschools.org

Dr. John Ravizza
Superintendent
jravizza@xaviercatholicschools.org