As an institution of higher education it is imperative that we create equal access for all to the satisfactions and economic opportunity provided by a trade school education.
The Black Lives Matter movement has stimulated deep conversations amongst our students, staff and board. It has led to a shared commitment to take concrete actions. As we move forward in the shared fight against systemic racism, we will listen, share stories, and hold ourselves accountable. At the Northwest School of Wooden Boatbuilding we need more diversity in our staff, board, and student body, as well as in the marine trades as a whole. We recognize that we need to do more and we will do more, but first we need to listen and learn. We are confident that this work catalyzed by the Black Lives Matter movement will improve the educational experience at our school for all.
An important part of holding ourselves accountable is openly sharing our plan with you. We are creating a five-year equity/Inclusion/diversity plan to be adopted in January 2021 by the Board of Directors as part of NWSWB’S Strategic Plan. Over the next six months we hold ourselves accountable to completing the following actions:
- We will recognize and learn from organizations whose work builds opportunities for Black and Brown youth to develop skills and that serve as portals into the maritime world, including Tacoma Boat Builders (WA) and Rocking the Boat (NY).
- We will educate ourselves and each other about racism and unconscious bias through an internal online forum and during a standing item at our weekly staff meetings. We will actively seek out resources to learn more about how best to champion diversity, equity, and inclusion throughout our organization.
- We will start conversations with individuals from at least a dozen youth development organizations and schools to learn about barriers for Black and Brown youth considering or who may consider attending NWSWB.
- We will reach out to people from the Indigenous nations of the Olympic Peninsula to learn if there are ways NWSWB can serve their communities.
- We will reach out to NWSWB alums and ask for their input about how we can better serve Black students and all goals of equity, inclusion and diversity.
- We will reach out to veterans organizations to help identify potential barriers for veterans who are Black, Indigenous and people of color.
- We will explore at least 5 possible avenues to provide incremental training for our students, staff and board and select at least one.
- We will identify at least 5 practices that people are using at other schools to address institutional racism that we will bring to our school.
- We will continue to develop and test our new marine systems high school curriculum for “shop classes” (Career and Technical Education classes) as a potential tool to support organizations and schools working with high school youth from diverse backgrounds.
Because we know that Black lives matter we will strive to provide an inclusive education and a safe and equal learning environment for everyone as documented in the school’s existing Non-Discrimination & Gender Equity Policies.
NON-DISCRIMINATION POLICY: The Northwest School of Wooden Boatbuilding provides equal educational and employment opportunities, services, and benefits to students and employees in accordance with provisions of the Washington State Law Against Discrimination (RCW 49.60), Title VI and VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964; the Civil Rights Act of 1991 (which amends Title VII and other federal civil rights statutes); Title IX of the Educational Amendments of 1972; Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973; the Age Discrimination Act of 1975; Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990; and other state and federal laws and regulations concerning employment and admission to programs and activities. The Northwest School of Wooden Boatbuilding prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, creed, color, national origin, families with children, sex, marital status, sexual orientation, including gender identity, age, honorably discharged veteran or military status, or the presence of any sensory, mental, or physical disability or the use of a trained guide dog or service animal by a person with a disability in its programs and activities. Employees are also protected from discrimination for filing a whistle blower complaint with the Washington State Auditor.
GENDER EQUITY POLICY: The Northwest School of Wooden Boatbuilding is committed to an environment free of gender discrimination. The school complies with Federal Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, which ensure equal opportunity without regard to gender concerning employment and admission to programs and activities. Any applicant for admission, enrolled student, applicant for employment, or employee of the school who believes they have been discriminated against on the basis of gender is encouraged to invoke the school’s Gender Equity Policy.
If you have questions, ideas, or comments on any of these ideas, please feel free to contact the school’s leadership team.