Mission and Antiracism Statement
The Academy at Charlemont delivers a rigorous education and fosters joyful engagement, active citizenship, and the desire for justice in each student. Our community nurtures creativity, independent thinking, and empathy so that our students become their best selves.
The Academy at Charlemont exists to provide students with an education that emphasizes academic excellence, thoughtful engagement, active citizenship, and a desire for justice. Recognizing the fact of racial injustice in this country, these principles inspire us to commit this school to fighting racism—to strive to become an anti-racist institution. As a predominantly white school that mirrors the demographics of our region of northwestern Massachusetts, part of our tradition has always been to expose our students to ideas, histories, and experiences they might not otherwise encounter. But we must do more.
The recent murders of Rayshard Brooks, George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Tony McDade, and Breonna Taylor were not isolated incidents, but part of a too-long list of extrajudicial killings of Black Americans. These killings are only the brutal indicator of a system of racial injustice and white supremacy in this country. This state of affairs demands that all American institutions look inwardly, seeking to repair the damage done by racism and acknowledging that a bare commitment to equality—without anti-racist action—is insufficient.
We are undergoing a process of examining and reflecting upon the school and its history. Part of this reflection will ask us to identify issues that may require reparation and healing, examine the school as it is today, and explore how we will refine our practices to teach anti-racism throughout our community.
A key facet of this work will be our curriculum. We recognize that a classical education has the tendency of existing in a vacuum where an adherence to a long unquestioned European and patriarchal tradition of academics creates missed opportunities. In recent years, we have begun the process of making our curriculum less Eurocentric, but we have a long way to go as educators and as an institution to uplift and center the perspectives of academics, artists, cultures, and histories of people of color. We are taking decisive steps to engage students and community stakeholders in that process.
Finally, the Board of Trustees itself must change. Specifically, having an all-white board is not consistent with the mission of this school. As the governing body that develops and maintains the institutional mission and provides the support necessary to carry out its program, we are actively recruiting people of color to join the board. A more diverse board will assist in all aspects of governance and leadership, and bring new voices that are essential—but currently missing.
Education is fundamentally a process of change, for both student and teacher. In embarking on this task of building the Academy into an anti-racist institution, we hope to change the Academy so that the educational experience we offer can be a tool in beginning to chip away at systems of oppression that have remained consistent for centuries. And we hope that our entire community will join us in this process, inspired by the principles that have always animated us: joyful engagement, active citizenship, and the desire for justice for all peoples.
The Academy at Charlemont does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, creed, handicap, national origin, sex, gender identity, or sexual orientation in its education, admissions, and financial aid policies, or in any other programs and policies administered by The Academy.