Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion

At DREAM, diversity, equity, and inclusion are a matter of mission.

From our schools to our playing fields, DREAM is committed to building a team where everyone can bring their full identity and experience to work.

That’s because representation matters—it enriches our team culture, enhances our ability to innovate, and strengthens our impact in and out of the classroom. DREAM employs staff that represent and appreciate the diversity of our majority Black and Hispanic student body, while working to ensure that our practices are equitable, welcoming, and productive. We are dedicated to creating a world where youth, especially youth of color, have permission to dream—along with the tools and opportunities to make their dreams reality.

“At DREAM, we are well aware that our work does not happen in a vacuum. It happens in the larger context of the world. And while this has always been the case, the political and social tensions of recent years have made our work with our youth and families, and our DEI investments, more urgent and consequential than ever.”

- Felicia Crump, Chief Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion Officer

2021 at a glance

79%

of recent promotions were earned by BIPOC employees

73%

of external network hires identify as BIPOC

54%

of DREAM's management team identify as BIPOC, up from 40% the previous year

DREAM’s long-standing commitment to DEI was formalized in 2018 with an action plan rooted in three main areas of focus:

  • Maintain a level playing field
  • Grow and develop a diverse staff
  • Strengthen the student experience

FOCUS: Maintain a Level Playing Field

DREAM’s mission to level the field for all kids informs our goal to create equal employment opportunities for and within the communities we serve. In 2020, 28% of DREAM’s school leaders, 40% of our management team, and 62% of our staff identified as BIPOC. Working to increase these percentages means regularly reviewing our talent and people practices with an equity lens, and making the necessary adjustments.

ACTIONS

  • Develop and launch the DREAM Teaching Fellowship, a rigorous two-year program that develops DREAM Legends and young professionals from East Harlem and the South Bronx to be the next generation of teachers at DREAM.
  • Increase transparency around job openings and promotion opportunities; share internal postings more frequently, and provide staff members with access to the information needed to apply.
  • Maximize our use of external job boards and internal referrals that attract applicants of color, and increase activities that solicit more referrals from current employees.
  • Include an explicit commitment to DEI in all of our postings to ensure applicants share our DEI goals.
  • Review and update our competency-based selection processes in an effort to reduce unconscious bias.
  • Train our hiring managers to reduce unconscious bias in the hiring process.

“We think about everything as an investment in a child and community. It’s important for our young people to achieve things because it’s good for the community we’re invested in. Those outcomes are not for us only—they’re indicators of well-being, inspiration, and regeneration for the community we serve.”

-Jared Francis, DREAM Charter High School Principal

FOCUS: Grow and Develop Diverse Staff

DREAM strives to be a place where all staff can grow and develop, both professionally and personally. An important factor in creating this culture is frequent conversations around race, racism, power, and privilege, which better equip us all to serve our communities and support each other.

ACTIONS:

  • Implement anti-racism sessions for our staff and board members.
  • Conduct a six-part personal and professional development series for directors, deans, principals, chiefs, and managers that explores how racial identities inform how they lead and collaborate with others.
  • Utilize the DREAM Connect sponsorship program, which pairs school leaders with senior DREAM leaders to receive coaching and advocacy.

“I teach because I strive to be a visual reminder that little Puerto Rican girls from the Bronx can grow up to make a difference in the world.”

- Melissa Perez, DREAM Teacher

FOCUS: Strengthen the Student Experience

It’s incumbent upon us to apply an equity lens to the systems we establish and the practices that we perpetuate. It’s imperative that we review, select, and update school practices to ensure our school design does not perpetuate racism and white supremacy.

ACTIONS:

  • Create a greater emphasis on student experience, rather than student discipline, and a greater awareness of how punitive discipline perpetuates the school-to-prison pipeline.
  • Ensure that the racial and cultural identities of the children in our classrooms are represented in the books they read and the toys they play with.
  • Analyze curriculum units to ensure students have opportunities to explore their identities.
  • Work to update our curriculum so it gives students the opportunity to look at the ways power, privilege, and justice have shaped our history, and use the skills learned in the classroom to make change in the world. See how our seniors are putting this into practice in their AP research class.
Learn more about life at DREAM on our Careers page.