Mission & Values
We work with educators to create a more equitable society by fostering a culture of compassion, respect, and high expectations in public schools, so students who were once left behind can thrive.
Historically, the structures within public education have served to replicate systems of oppression in U.S. society, with the voices of people of color, women, immigrants, religious minorities, and LGBTQ suppressed in an effort to maintain existing hierarchies. While there has been progress in eliminating forms of racism, classism, ableism, homophobia, and sexism, we recognize that education is still rife with deep-seated discrimination that we must work to dismantle. In NYC and across the country, the schools that serve students of color are underperforming.
At Eskolta, we also believe that our education system represents the key means of inspiring, equipping, and empowering young people to build a better future. We value every student and educator as an individual and seek their input, knowledge, voice, and potential. Through our work, we aim for both teachers and students to feel supported and valued, and to be afforded true opportunities to succeed.
We believe that change begins with the self. We seek to continuously challenge ourselves to learn about the systems of oppression that exist in our society, examine our own beliefs and actions, and embrace discomfort as we move toward consciously creating a more just and equitable model of education.
We stand with all persons who are targets of intolerance, inequity, and injustice.
We help educators transform learning
Using a continuous learning process embedded in Culturally Relevant Sustaining Education (CSRE), we work alongside educators to strategically research and reimagine the systems in their schools, design new practices and tools, test and modify them, and measure their impact on student outcomes.
We help schools make sense of data
A wealth of information is available to schools, but if not understood, it is useless. Through our research and analysis, we work with educators to make sense of data and turn it into a guide to inform change.
We help districts reimagine systems
Through partnerships with districts, we conduct research generating high-quality evidence that enables policy makers to understand the effects of their programs and make changes based on data. Along with this research, we work with districts to generate strategies to guide the development and implementation of systems-level plans.
We help schools redefine how learning is measured
The best educators know that learning will always be more than what appears on standardized tests. Together we help schools create processes for students to transparently and frequently reflect on their own progress and set goals against high expectations for learning.
Racial Equity StatementSeptember 2019
Eskolta is on a path to becoming an anti-racist organization. This statement is a part of the ongoing process to identify and articulate our beliefs and our work. Therefore, this is an evolving statement. Eskolta is committed to actively working against racism within our organization and externally in our work with partner schools and organizations. We recognize that neutrality in the fight for racial justice is a myth and that colorblindness is a detriment to antiracist practice. With this in mind, we as an organization and as individuals commit to:
- Recognize the power and influence we have to make change at a structural level, and partner with policy makers, city officials, and educators to build knowledge and capacity to address racial inequity and establish a more equitable education system
- Understand how interpersonal, institutional, and structural racism has shaped students’ lives and the education system. Prioritize addressing the systemic inequality that students, families, and communities face because of racism and other forms of oppression.
- Use a strengths-based approach to our work with educators and students as a counter-narrative to the deficit-based language that saturates discussions about urban education and communities of color.
- Examine and become aware of implicit bias within our organization and externally in schools and communities, and learn multiple methods to disrupt white supremacy in our work with schools and in our organization.
- Create a structure for ongoing support and assessment within Eskolta to make sure we are living up to these commitments.
While we commit to racial justice explicitly, we see it as an element of a broader movement for social justice that includes an intersectional analysis of power, privilege, access, and discrimination. As we commit to racial justice, we also commit to seeing students and educators as complex and multifaceted. We commit to continued reflection about how students, educators, and our own lives are importantly influenced by race, class, gender, sexuality, immigration, religion, and disability.
At Eskolta, we believe that high-quality culturally responsive sustaining education is a fundamental human right and a mechanism for liberation and justice. We are committed to interrupting racist, culturally destructive systems by sharing power in schools and our own organizational practices, and challenging deficit-based mindsets that have created disproportionality. We envision learning spaces and systems grounded in connection, joy, self-reflection, integrity, collaboration, critical action, and trust that center the humanity and contributions of BIPOC and other marginalized communities.
Productive work cannot be accomplished without an underlying ethos of respect and trust. We value each colleague, student, and educator we work with—regardless of gender, race, identity, or past experiences—as an individual and seek their input, knowledge, voice, and potential.
We help school leaders and staff focus on their top priorities and not get pulled in a thousand directions by the many demands made on public education. We recognize that each small problem is part of larger social issues and inequities that affect it, but that every large-scale change begins with deliberate, focused steps.
We believe a meaningful life is one in which people engage in critical reflection about issues of societal importance, especially those related to combatting intolerance, inequity, and injustice in all their forms. We aim to help schools develop ways to promote this critical lens in their work, both for educators and students.