Dear Members of the Cushing Community,
Last month I shared a statement on social media and through our website that, as Cushing’s Head of School, I stand in solidarity with all those combating the evils of racism, and I urged all members of our community to do the same. I am writing to you today to reiterate that Black Lives Matter. Black lives matter here at Cushing and in every community extending beyond Cushing.
However, it is clear from the experiences shared in response to my initial communication and through meaningful, and sometimes painful, conversations we have had with students, alumni, and faculty members, that Cushing—like the rest of our country—must continue to do significant work to address bias and systemic racism. I am grateful to all who have taken time to share your thoughts and experiences.
To our Black students and alumni, and all of our students and alumni of color: your voice matters tremendously to us as we move forward. We want to hear from you. We want to hear about your lived experiences so that we can learn and be better. We will listen with open minds and hearts with a commitment toward change.
Your experiences as a member of this community will directly inform our work in the immediate future and long-term. With this in mind, I invite any current student, parent, alum, past parent, or faculty/staff member to engage in a personal conversation about your experiences at Cushing. (Details are at the end of this letter.)
We are committed to the anti-racist work that is necessary to create a learning and living environment in which our BIPOC community members will not just survive but thrive. In doing so, we will further embrace our mission to truly “exist for students.”
As an immediate step, we have made the commitment to hire a full-time Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion professional at Cushing Academy. For the past ten years, this role has been fulfilled in a part-time capacity; however, we fully understand the need to expand this role. We have retained Lawrence Alexander of Carney, Sandoe, and Associates to lead this search, and we will update you on our progress.
Moreover, I support and am proud of the initiative led by our faculty and administration to create an Anti-Racism Education and Action Collaboration this summer. A planning group has been meeting since the end of the academic year to design a meaningful learning experience, and last week the Collaboration launched the first of two four-week exploratory experiences.
It is my goal to create a school that is absent of racism. This is the only course of action to pursue. As an educational institution, we also have a responsibility to work to improve not only our own community but also our country and the world.
We will keep in touch with you about our plans and progress as we move forward, and we will continue to seek your input along the way. I look forward to hearing and learning from you, our valued students, parents, alumni, faculty, and staff.
Randy R. Bertin, Ed.D.
Head of School
39 School Street
Ashburnham, MA 01430To sign up for a time to talk directly with Dr. Bertin about your personal experiences at Cushing and to help inform the Academy's work moving forward, please find details and instructions at the link below:
Sign up for a conversation with Dr. Bertin