NEASC promotes equity and inclusion to ensure that all learners belong, thrive, and succeed.
Approved by the NEASC Board of Trustees in May 2022
- A sense of belonging is foundational for effective learning.
- Honoring the uniqueness of each individual builds inclusive communities that will prepare students for lives in a multicultural society.
- Personal and social identifiers, such as gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, economic status, language, ability, and religion must not be barriers to educating students.
- Uncovering and addressing implicit bias is an ongoing process in equity work.
- Working towards equity permeates all aspects of the organization and is everyone's responsibility.
- Achieving equity requires the inclusion of historically marginalized groups.
- Advancing equity reduces the predictability of who succeeds and who fails by ensuring every learner has access to the resources they need at the right moment.
- Achieving equity requires challenging and redesigning structures of power and privilege.
- Implementing accreditation processes as a catalyst for advancing equity and inclusion.
- Supporting communities to learn and develop the skills necessary to promote inclusion, honor diversity, and advance equity.
- Embracing diverse identities, values, and perspectives.
- Creating time and space for difficult but essential conversations on diversity, equity, and inclusion.
- Developing equitable and inclusive policies and procedures, practices, and opportunities.
NEASC is fundamentally committed to ongoing school growth while honoring each school’s unique culture and context. In that spirit, the NEASC Equity Vision, Beliefs, and Commitments are designed as a shared foundation from which NEASC as an organization and each commission work. As an organization, NEASC will work to implement inclusive and equitable practices, and each commission will identify specific action steps to advance inclusion and equity in schools. Each commission has schools with distinctive circumstances and unique visions, and the commissions will honor that while using the tools of accreditation, professional assistance, and the pursuit of best practices to support schools working towards equity.
Our commissions — Independent Schools, International Education, Public Schools — are engaged in a variety of actions including: ongoing review and revision of accreditation learning principles, standards, and indicators through an equity lens; the development of guiding questions to accompany the self-reflection period and the collection and sharing of resources and best practices to support schools in their equity efforts; and discussions and case study work with their visiting team chairs and team members.
For more information about each commission's approach to implementing this commitment to advancing equity, select one of the following:
Commission on Independent Schools
Commission on International Education
Commission on Public Schools
Though supporting all learners in all educational systems has always been foundational to our work, we at NEASC are deeply committed to intentional and action-oriented work needed on both a personal and organizational level to advance educational equity.
Following a period of learning, discussing, and reflecting within the organization, with our schools, and from those sharing their voices in the ongoing fight for equity, in early 2022, NEASC convened an Equity Working Group (EWG) to lead a process of developing equity statements to guide this ongoing work at NEASC.
The EWG consisted of two representatives each from the board and each of the three commissions and was facilitated and supported by NEASC staff members. Members of the EWG ran input activities with the staff, the EWG, the board, and the three Commissions resulting in a great deal of feedback and input collected from our various constituencies. Over many meetings, the group worked through the comments and feedback and drafted language that reflects both the input provided as well as the expertise and experience of EWG members. The proposed language for board approval was unanimously recommended by the eight members of the EWG and approved by the board in May 2022. The staff at NEASC is grateful to our working group members for sharing their guidance and time to further this work for NEASC and our community of schools.
In the summer of 2022, the NEASC staff engaged in the development of action plans and goals, while continuing the ongoing work within each commission and association-wide.
In addition to continuing to engage in dedicated learning, discussion, and reflection as a staff — we are also purposefully engaged in direct actions to make our organization more equitable and inclusive. These actions include:
- Training with external support on inclusive practices
- Review and revision of policies through an equity lens
- Revision of hiring guidelines and practices to prioritize increasing the diversity of our applicant pool and equitable hiring process
- Increase diversity among trained volunteers to ensure diverse perspectives and representation on visiting teams
- Amplification of diverse voices and perspectives through our professional learning opportunities
- Ongoing professional development for staff
We commit to continuous improvement in this area and will monitor our goals as well as be held accountable with regular reporting to our board, and transparent dialogue with our membership.
We look forward to this ongoing work with our schools and within our organization toward a future where all learners belong, thrive, and succeed.
The existence of a range of human differences and aspects of identity, including but not limited to gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, economic status, language, ability, and religion.
Ensuring that everyone has what they need to fully participate. Equity is achieved when disparities of historically under-represented groups are eliminated and therefore outcomes cannot be predicted by identity.
All members of the community/organization are actively and intentionally made visible, heard, considered, and valued, and recognize the unique experiences of historically marginalized groups.