Written by Dr. Steve Whitaker, Head of School
On April 15, America celebrated the 70th anniversary of the integration of Major League Baseball. In a recent BreakPoint article entitled The Rest of the Jackie Robinson Story, New York Times #1 bestselling author Eric Metaxas highlights the deep Christian faith of this baseball legend.
Jackie Robinson’s baseball career was a triumph for our country. More importantly, Metaxas points out that it was a triumph of the Gospel. Simply put, the integration of baseball was fueled by the humble faith of Jackie Robinson and famed Brooklyn Dodgers executive, Branch Rickey. You can learn more here.
We value diversity at The First Academy for the same reasons that Jackie Robinson and Branch Rickey did – because the Gospel unites, and the Gospel is for all people. In an effort to promote and strengthen this important value, our team has continued to engage in some very important work.
Under the direction of the School Board, The First Academy Leadership Team is currently executing a 12-month plan initiated in January of 2017 to carefully address the diversity recommendations approved by the School Board on November 11th, 2016. Nearly 40% of the 12-month plan was completed in the first four months. All initiatives in the plan have been advanced, and 100% completion will be achieved by December of 2017.
In addition to progress reported here concerning The First Academy’s Action Steps and Future Plans, some recent and upcoming highlights related to our diversity initiatives include:
- Upper School leadership participated in a 2-day diversity training seminar led by the internationally recognized educational consultant, Derrick Gay.
- On June 7th, the full TFA Leadership Team will participate in a diversity training workshop led by Walter Strickland, owner of W. Strickland Consulting. Walter also spearheads the Kingdom Diversity Initiative at Southeastern Seminary in Wake Forest, North Carolina.
- In August 2017, Gospel-centered diversity training will be integrated into our professional development framework to equip faculty, staff, and school leadership.
- This summer, an ongoing formal assessment of curriculum will be completed, and we will engage an external resource to review recommendations related to diversity.
- Curriculum enhancements based on parent feedback, a formal assessment, and an external review will be implemented in August 2017.