June 13, 2023: Community Letter from the MSD Board of Trustees
Dear MSD Community:
As the President of the Maryland School for the Deaf (MSD) Board of Trustees, I am writing to reaffirm our commitment for open and transparent communication with the community. The Board of Trustees is firmly committed and dedicated to promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion at MSD.
Approximately three years ago, we made an official announcement regarding our partnership with Idaltu Counseling and Consulting, an independent consulting firm specializing in diversity, equity, and inclusion. This was in line with MSD's commitment to identifying any existing systemic racism and subsequently dismantling it through appropriate measures. We engaged the services of Idaltu to provide guidance and support to the MSD Board of Trustees and the school's interim leadership in resolving inequity wherever it may be found at MSD.
Idaltu was tasked with conducting an impartial and independent equity and inclusion assessment at MSD. The main objective of this audit was to formulate a comprehensive plan aimed at implementing systemic changes within our school community by addressing any racism, implicit biases, and microaggressions that may be present in our policies, practices, and processes.
A summary report was presented to the board, outlining Idaltu's preliminary observations and findings. Additionally, Idaltu conducted several Focus Groups with MSD staff. The consulting firm also commenced the development of a climate survey and shared these questions with the board. However, after several delays, it became clear to the Board that the collaboration with Idaltu Counseling and Consulting did not meet our expectations, leading to the decision to end our relationship and terminate our contract with the independent firm.
We acknowledge that the decision to end our partnership with Idaltu Counseling and Consulting may feel like a setback to the progress we have made. Please be assured that this action is no reflection of MSD's commitment and dedication to this important work. The MSD Board of Trustees, along with Superintendent John A. Serrano and the leadership team, are firmly resolute in our commitment to creating a more equitable and inclusive environment for everyone at MSD. This work will continue.
Moving forward, Superintendent John A. Serrano will lead this important initiative. He will report directly to the MSD Board of Trustees and communicate with the community and its stakeholders concerning the school's anti-racism efforts.
As we strive towards a more equitable and inclusive future for MSD, we are grateful for your continued support. The superintendent will provide further updates regarding the school's next action steps in the near future.
MSD Board Chair
Letter in ASL | Watch ASL Video
MSD Board of Trustees
101 Clarke Place
P.O. Box 250
Frederick, MD 21705-0250