Our Commitment to Equity
Odyssey School’s Board of Trustees, administration, faculty, parents, and students are committed to creating a culture of equity in our classrooms and in our community.
Equity is defined as a quality of being both fair and just. Serving equitably is distinct from serving equally, which instead implies that all are treated the same regardless of circumstance, need, or context. In order to strive for equitable practices, we first recognize that inequity is built into the fabric of our society. Just as our goal is to teach individual students at their optimal rate of challenge, the same is true for welcoming all members of our community and honoring their lived experience.
We recognize and aim to correct the historically segregative role that independent schools have played and can play in education. We also acknowledge that there is no one perfect way to achieve equity, but we are dedicated to striving for best practices and are willing to take risks because there is much work to do. Similarly, we recognize that our society, in general, is challenged to overcome a complex web of inequities and our community strives to correct these inequities attributed to racism, sexism, homophobia, and classism. Racial, gender, and wealth equity is a lens through which Odyssey School aims to conduct all of its work.
Together with you, we hope to build a community that prioritizes equity, as well as reflects and celebrates the diversity of the human experience.
Odyssey’s Equity Committee
During the school year, Odyssey’s equity committee gathers regularly to work towards meeting the objectives of our Strategic Plan and to engage in how best to support and express equity throughout Odyssey School’s organization.
When asked “What most inspires you about working on the Equity Committee?” our members answered:
“The opportunity to listen, facilitate and contribute to a conversation about Odyssey School’s values and aims in creating a culture of equity and inclusivity, especially in light of the fact of our status as an independent school which confers its own privilege and need for reflection and reform in our society.”“I am inspired to work with individuals who are committed to racial justice and equity within our educational community.”
“I chose to join the equity committee after attending Building Bridges. My study of racial injustice has been limited to the criminal justice system as well as to learning about political discrimination. I am just beginning to dive into inequities within the education system. I am inspired to work on the equity committee with a team of dedicated parents, teachers, and administrators who are intentionally developing plans to make Odyssey School an environment that supports people of all ethnicities, socioeconomic status, sexual and gender orientation and abilities.”“I am so incredibly excited and inspired to be in a school and on a committee that is walking the path of equity work in very real ways!”
How we demonstrate our values
Encourage an active Equity Committee comprised of parents, teachers, and administrators who will strategize and guide initiatives, strategic plans, and system wide efforts to support positive change. Recently, Odyssey worked with a local firm to enact an “Racial Equity Assessment” (commonly called an equity audit) which has greatly helped the school to better understand and learn from the enrollment experiences of families of color.
Strive for an equity lens informing decision-making, programs, policies and procedures. Work in conflict-resolution as our equity efforts may bring about growing pains and discomfort as adjustments occur.
Apply the findings of our equity audit to our admissions policies by striving to adequately represent the diversity found within Asheville and fairly and equally represent that diversity within our school community (while helping to expand it).
Collaborate with local community organizations working toward greater equity who can provide additional resources and share best practices to create equitable opportunities and support for our Odyssey School community equity project.
For more information about our strategic plan and specific initiatives, please ask!