Diversity, Equity and Committee Statement

April 13, 2021

To our Cove community,

In light of recent events and during a criminal trial that continues to heighten the emotional toll of the ongoing, unnecessary deaths of people of color and various ethnicities in our country, our school wishes to extend the services of Cove’s Mental Health Team to both students and staff.

The palpable effects of this ongoing trauma have been visible in the mental health of our students and members of our community, and thoughts and prayers are not enough. While we are building towards a more just and equitable future, we know the value of responding to our students, families, and staff’s immediate needs. We would like to remind our community members that it is okay not to be okay; we wish to provide a safe space should you need it.

We encourage you to reach out to your child’s social worker for any additional social-emotional support during this time. Additionally, please contact Dr. Jackie Owens (jowens@coveschool.org, p: 847-562-2100) or Jody Berkelhamer (jberkelhamer@coveschool.org) if you have any questions.

Working through the trauma of this moment in history on the societal level means not giving up on searching for truth and seeking justice. We are committed to providing our students and staff with a learning environment where every individual feels safe, valued, and uplifted.

Thank you,

Cove School’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusivity Committee

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusivity Committee Update

Dr. Jackie Owens, School Psychologist, DEI Administrative Lead

April 7, 2021

Over the past few years, Cove implemented ongoing professional development and established a Diversity, Equity and Inclusivity Committee (DEI), to lead the way with critical initiatives to increase multi-cultural competencies at Cove School.  The Committee was mobilized this year by the civil unrest throughout our country. As we sought to find words to express all that we were committed to, we developed the following pledge. In doing so, we recognized the previous work of the committee while critically acknowledging and committing to the work that remains ahead.

Cove is, above all, here to meet the needs of students with disabilities through an individualized education. As such, we are uniquely equipped to use what we know about how students learn best to not only teach our students academics and social-emotional skills, but also how to act when they encounter acts of racism and bias in their community. As our students build their awareness of their disabilities and learn to self-advocate, we can also empower them to identify ableism and work to create a more inclusive society for those with disabilities. 

This year, the DEI committee has been committed to supporting our students and teachers in discussing current events in the classroom by providing our teachers with resources curated to our students’ learning needs. In February and March, we specifically supported our principals’ focus on Black History Month and Women's History Month in the morning announcements. We are committed to ensuring that our curriculum represents Cove’s entire community year-round and that diversity is critically embedded throughout our curriculum, however. We are currently evaluating how we can use literacy and social-emotional learning to facilitate opportunities for building empathy and multi-cultural awareness. 

As we look ahead to the last few months of school, we plan to shift our focus to explicit vocabulary instruction related to DEI. We know our students will benefit from having abstract concepts such as ‘anti-racism’ and ‘prejudice’ presented through multisensory, direct instruction. In the wake of recent events, we plan to focus on Asian American and Pacific Islander heritage and address current bias and racism towards Asians in America. 

We look forward to celebrating Pride in June with the potential for a new community tradition at Cove on the horizon. As we look towards next year, we are excited about the opportunities to work more closely with our student groups - including the Gender and Sexuality Alliance and the Black Student Union.