Mission & Values

Our Mission

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.

The Challenge

Across the United States, more than half a million students drop out of high school every year. We can and must do better. Schools must offer cultures, practices, and strategies to re-engage students who have been left behind, to become student-centered and motivating for youth who have found themselves the victims of repeated failures, of discrimination both intended and unintended, of low expectations both expressed and implied. While many factors contribute to this problem, it is a reality in American public education that students who have fallen behind are disproportionately in families with low incomes and disproportionately members of communities that have been on the wrong side of inequities and injustice in our society, including people of color, recent immigrants, and members of the LGBTQ community. Structures within public education often reflect systems of oppression in our nation as a whole, where racism, classism, xenophobia, homophobia, and sexism contribute to struggles in school. The schools that serve students who are behind are too often regarded as broken or blamed for problems when in fact talent and hope, pride and potential reside behind the walls of these schools.

At Eskolta, we believe that our education system—imperfect though it may be—represents the key means of inspiring, equipping, and empowering young people to build a better future. Through our work, we aim for teachers and students to be supported and valued, affording them the opportunities and capacity to succeed.

We help schools redefine learning

The best educators know that learning will always be more than what appears on standardized tests. Together we are creating new metrics and new ways to support not only college and career readiness but also character, community, and compassion in our students.

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 schools turn around the dropout problem

We focus on supporting students who have struggled in urban public schools in the past. Every child deserves a quality education and these students are most at risk of dropping out and missing out on their potential.

We help schools reinvent themselves

Using our EDUCATE methodology, we work alongside educators to strategically research and reimagine the systems in their schools, then carefully design, prototype, and expand them to reach more students.

Racial Equity Statement

September 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:

 

  1. 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
  2. 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. 
  3. 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. 
  4. 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.
  5. 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 multi-faceted. 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.

Our Values

We believe that changing the world begins with changing our selves. We seek to continuously challenge ourselves to learn about the inequality and injustice that exists in our society and our schools, examine our own beliefs and actions, and embrace discomfort as we move toward open dialogue and conscious steps to create an education system that serves all students—and particularly those who have been left behind by the current system—to reach their full potential.

Respect

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.

U

Focus

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.

Balance

A successful life is one in which people can be economically successful and still have the time and ability to be active and engaged members of communities. We help educators, students, and our own staff develop skills not just for economic success but also for connection to family, community, and positive social change.

Integrity and Justice

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 meaningful life, and we promote ways for our employees to explore important issues.

At Eskolta, we value diversity and believe that different perspectives, backgrounds, and experiences lead to deeper understanding and better approaches to our work. As we continue to grow as an organization, we aim to build an environment that reflects the diverse backgrounds of the communities we work with. Eskolta is committed to providing equal employment opportunity to all employees and applicants for employment without regard to race, sex, color, creed, religion, national origin, age, disability, marital status or sexual orientation.

Pin It on Pinterest