When The Power of a Vision campaign officially launched in 2018, following the school’s most recent strategic planning process, we set an ambitious $12.5 million goal and identified three primary areas of focus: The Power of Place, essential renovations to our beloved brownstones; The Power of Opportunity, generous financial aid, scholarships, and academic support for our students; and The Power of a Teacher, competitive compensation and professional development grants to attract and retain high-caliber teachers. The renovations are complete and our students and faculty benefit from the updates and additions every day. With our physical space renewed and outfitted for the school’s next chapter, we must now focus on creating opportunity and supporting our faculty. While these two areas have been central to the campaign from the start, it is important we examine and understand what they mean to our community in light of an altered landscape.
With the call for significant change by alumni/ae, students, and the larger community in the wake of the new national activism for racial equity and justice, Commonwealth School finds itself at an important inflection point. Since its founding, the school’s commitment to diversity and equity has been shaped by the thinking and approaches of its leadership: its successive Heads, from Charles Merrill to Bill Wharton; its faculty; and its Board of Trustees. Though programs and practices have been developed to serve and support students from all backgrounds, we recognize that we have more work to do if we are to fully live up to Commonwealth’s founding vision.
Faculty, staff, and the Board of Trustees are committed to substantive action to strengthen and deepen the school’s approach to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). Such efforts will include dedicated financial aid funding for students of color, expanded social/emotional and academic support for students receiving aid and coming from the Dive In program, and the hiring of a full-time, experienced Director of Diversity and Inclusion, an effort already underway, guided by the DEI consultants who have been working with Commonwealth and our InCommon task force since the summer of 2020.
This work will require resources. To date, we have raised more than $10.25 million for The Power of a Vision campaign. The remaining $2.25 million will be dedicated to Opportunity, this essential work to make Commonwealth a more inclusive and supportive school; and to our Teachers, the talented individuals whose passion and expertise inspire and challenge Commonwealth students every day. In the coming months, we will reach out to the Commonwealth community to ask for support. We hope you will help us take action by making a commitment to The Power of a Vision.