MISSION, VISION, AND VALUES
OUR MISSION: WHY THE SHEFF MOVEMENT COALITION EXISTS
The Sheff Movement is a coalition of parents, students, educators and community members working to assure full access to quality integrated education for every child in the Hartford region.
OUR VISION: WHAT WE HOPE TO ACHIEVE FOR THE PEOPLE WE SERVE
We envision a society where all children have access to high performing, well-resourced, integrated schools in inclusive, prosperous communities. In these schools, capable, caring teachers and administrators reflect the diverse composition of the student body. Children learn together, explore together and play together, forging friendships and celebrating differences. Identities are embraced, valued and uplifted. Shared best practices drive positive learning outcomes and students’ social and emotional growth. And in each school setting, students feel valued and families are respected partners in their children’s education.
A legacy of this effort is a just, thriving community that transcends geographic borders as well as divisions of race, ethnicity and socio-economic status. For its work in creating such a community, Greater Hartford is known as a national model for quality integrated education and its impact.
OUR VALUES: WHAT CORE BELIEFS WILL GUIDE THE SHEFF MOVEMENT COALITION
Quality Education: Academic excellence, skilled, committed professionals, culturally relevant instruction, a safe and healthy environment, ample resources, and a diverse student body and educators who look like them are all hallmarks of a quality educational institution. We believe that such factors should be the standard for all schools.
Integrated Education: By learning together, children learn to respect and value people whose racial, cultural, and socio-economic characteristics differ from their own. By learning together, they prepare themselves to understand and thrive in an increasingly diverse and integrated world. Extensive research shows that cross-racial and cross-class learning environments have beneficial effects on all aspects of a child’s educational experience, in contrast to the detrimental effects of segregation for children of all backgrounds. We believe that integration is vital to quality education, and to the
dismantling of structural racism.
Equal Access: We believe that all children deserve access to quality integrated education, opening up a range of opportunities – social, economic, educational – regardless of the town they live in.
Constitutional Justice: The Connecticut State Supreme Court has affirmed that the principle of equal access to education is embedded in the constitution of the state. It has ruled that the racial and socioeconomic isolation of Hartford school children violates their constitutional rights. The State of Connecticut is required to provide every student access to quality integrated education. We believe that it is the State’s legal and moral obligation to fulfill that mandate.
Honest Communication: Clear, honest information is necessary for people to make good decisions. We are dedicated to increasing people’s awareness about the value of quality integrated education as well as information about programs that promote it. We support an open dialogue and transparent process regarding access to quality integrated schools.
Inclusive Environments: Inclusive educational environments feature culturally competent educators and culturally responsive teaching methods and curriculum. All students are consistently held to high standards, and students’ cultural differences are viewed as assets that will help them achieve at high levels. Students feel a sense of belonging and see their cultural backgrounds and identities reflected throughout the classroom, in the instructional materials, and among the educators and school leaders. We believe every school must offer a nurturing, inclusive environment.
Community: We view Greater Hartford as a single interdependent community that can thrive only so long as there is constant communication and cooperation across town, school zone and neighborhood boundaries. We are dedicated to building a just and prosperous community by forming coalitions of families, educators, policy makers and concerned citizens drawn from all parts of Greater Hartford.
Anti-Racism: We are committed to examining how racism affects the lived experience of people of color; how racism is systemic and has been part of many foundational aspects of society throughout history; how it is manifested in both individual attitudes and behaviors as well as formal (and ‘unspoken') policies and practices within institutions; and how white people participate, often unknowingly, in racism. As leaders of the Sheff Movement coalition, we pledge vigilant, ongoing self-reflection and promise to incorporate this value in all aspects of our work.