Equity & Inclusion
We believe that Lake Washington Girls Middle School is an excellent academic and educational community because it has always been a diverse community. In order to effectuate our mission, philosophy, and history of the school to honor the diversity of Seattle and serve our diverse community, it is imperative that all at Lake Washington Girls Middle School – its faculty, staff, families, students, and trustees – identify and address the areas of equity and inclusion. The school is committed to participate in the in-depth exploration and understanding of key equity concepts and practice, including those of diversity, cultural competence, and culturally responsive teaching; social justice and social dominance; power and privilege; and allyship. With the guidance of our Equity and Social Justice Committee, LWGMS faculty, staff, trustees, families, and students continue the work of equity and inclusion in all aspects of life at LWGMS. We believe that the work of inclusion is a responsibility held by all and done for all, person to person.
Given the systemic barriers individuals experience (including historic, economic, institutional, and social barriers), LWGMS believes equity is defined as providing each member of the community access to what they need to be successful. Over time, the school has examined the difference between equality and equity, and our definition of equity better reflects the idea that “the same” does not always embody what is fair. Different people have different needs, and LWGMS is committed to empowering each student according to their circumstance.
At LWGMS, the community strives to foster a sense of belonging and agency. We believe diversity alone does not create inclusion; it is the responsibility of the school to facilitate an environment where each member feels valued, connected, and heard. As we develop a culture and curriculum that seeks to enhance student engagement and compassion, what it means to be inclusive has changed to be an active part of our school culture.
LWGMS builds its programs with an intent to create an inclusive and equitable community, where the perspectives and strength of middle schoolers who identify as girls are at the center. Examples include the following:
Curriculum that includes global and traditionally underrepresented perspectives
Annual LWGMS Social Justice Film Festival
Implicit Bias parent night, led by eighth grade students
Teacher evaluations assess culturally responsive practices
Family and student surveys collect data on feelings of being inclusion, community membership, and representation in curriculum and decision-making
Mind, Body, Voice classes discuss concepts of identity and allyship
Student clubs include “Girl Empowerment Club” and “Roots and Shoots for Change.” All clubs are required to have a service component that benefits the local community
LWGMS prioritizes professional development. Our faculty and staff has engaged as a group and individually in responsive and proactive Race and Equity work. We are committed to doing long term organizational work over the next few years. We would like to engage in this process with The Center for Equity and Inclusion in a program called Reframing Racism. A few members of our faculty have done facilitation workshops with this organization and have been inspired by their approach and by their inclusive vision. Long term organizational work would provide our entire faculty and staff with the curriculum of Reframing Racism. The reframing racism workshop balances historical and academic discourse on race and racism in America with experiential moments of learning. By understanding and experiencing the impacts of race in America, the course seeks and explores where and how race is used to perpetuate power and privilege personally, professionally, and structurally. The workshops intentionally create space for people of color to share their experiences and perspectives. Additionally and unique to this workshop, the facilitators hold participants accountable for their bias and contributions. We believe this unique professional development opportunity would enrich our program and student experience in a meaningful and transformational way.