“Like fighting an addiction, being an antiracist requires persistent self-awareness, constant self-criticism, and regular self-examination.”
– Ibram X. Kendi, How to Be an Antiracist

We can do better and we must do better.
Let this be a catalytic moment where we acknowledge and address the systemic prejudices and biases in ourselves, in schools and in organizations around the world. We believe in the dignity of all, the benefit of cross-cultural perspectives, and the power of diverse, inclusive, equitable and just communities. Together, not apart, we can make a world of difference.

ISS Antiracism Plan

October 2020

Earlier this year, ISS issued the statement above in response to George Floyd’s killing in Minneapolis, MN and the subsequent Black Lives Matter (#BLM) protests in communities across the United States and around the world.  The events then and subsequent conversations made us realize that it wasn’t enough to have good intentions, we needed to focus on achieving equitable outcomes.

In his book How to Be an Antiracist, Ibram X. Kendi defines an antiracist policy as “any measure that produces or sustains racial equity among racial groups.” As an organization focused on supporting international schools that aim to educate global citizens, we recognize that we have a special responsibility to foster antiracist principles. Becoming more equitable is also ethically the right thing to do and aligned with ISS’s mission and core values. We believe too that such efforts will enhance personal and professional learning and growth among ISS staff and lead to better, more creative and compassionate decisions.

For all those reasons and more, in June 2020, we established an ISS antiracist committee, comprising about a quarter of ISS staff across departments, roles and locations, to gain various perspectives. The committee met throughout July and August of 2020 to develop a comprehensive plan to help ISS become more antiracist.  We prioritized seven areas – Recruitment & Retention, Training, Services, Policies & Processes, Outreach, Feedback & Accountability, and ISS Schools – and identified outcomes, strategies and 2020-2021 school year priorities.  The committee will review our progress monthly to intensify our internal accountability and by August 2021, we will identify further priorities for next school year based on our experience this year.

ISS has had a longstanding commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion and justice, as evidenced, for example, by our core values, multi-year all-staff training using the Intercultural Development Inventory (IDI), and our founding and shepherding of the Diversity Collaborative.  Our new antiracist plan is an effort to redouble that commitment, by focusing on antiracist outcomes and tracking our progress toward achieving more equitable results. As a wide-reaching organization in the international school world, we can help spark progress across the international school sector, but only if we hold ourselves accountable and model the change we aspire to effect.

Recruitment & Retention


  • More diverse candidate pools
  • More diverse staff, at all levels of the organization, especially senior staff and including consultants
  • ISS perceived by people of all backgrounds as being a good place to work


  • Antiracist Job Postings – Add language to our JDs and job postings emphasizing ISS’s commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion and review job qualifications to be sure that they are not unnecessarily limiting our pool of candidates.
  • Diverse Candidate Pools – Increase the diversity of our candidate pools by broadening where we post jobs to include, for example, black-owned recruiters and job boards and networks that attract black and brown candidates.
  • Antiracist Hiring Process – Commit to an open, antiracist hiring process rather than closed networks of referrals. Be sure that for all jobs, we advertise broadly, involve a wide range of perspectives in the screening process, and surface our own unconscious biases. Review hirings and promotions to be sure that the process is fair.
  • Onboarding – During the onboarding process, reiterate our commitment to DEIJ (Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Justice) and that we value diverse and new perspectives. Assign new employees a mentor from another department.
  • Places to Report Concerns – Provide confidential places to talk about biased treatment within ISS (ombudsman role) and beyond ISS (Employee Assistance Program).
  • Offboarding – Through exit surveys, assess employees’ perceptions of how ISS does/does not value people from diverse backgrounds and/or with diverse perspectives.



  • Knowledge of antiracism, privilege, implicit bias and related topics
  • Willingness and ability to ask questions and have brave conversations
  • Culture where everyone has a shared responsibility to address racist comments/behaviors


  • Require all -staff antiracism training (individual and group).
  • Promote opportunities to have brave conversations.
  • Make antiracism resources easily accessible.
  • Encourage participation in external DEIJ trainings, especially those organized by BIPOC organizations.



  • ISS programs and communications reflect our antiracist values
  • Program areas have diverse vendors, clients and partners
  • We feature diverse consultants and presenters in our programs
  • We encourage our clients to commit to antiracist behaviors


  • In our Recruitment services, focus on attracting diverse candidate pools, promoting and practicing antiracist hiring, screening candidates for racist behavior, rewarding candidates for antiracist behavior, providing support to BIPOC candidates, and gathering feedback from BIPOC educators and acting on that feedback.
  • Leverage ISS purchasing power to support more minority and women-owned businesses.
  • Ensure we use diverse presenters and consultants in all ISS programs.
  • Continue to highlight diversity, commitment to antiracism and DEIJ practices that have worked (e.g. ISS Best) on ISS website and in our communications.
  • Actively expand our professional networks to include more BIPOC organizations and BIPOC international educators.
  • Monitor partners/clients for egregious racist behavior and/or sustained issues and impose restrictions as appropriate.

Policies & Practices


  • ISS policies and practices reinforce and promote commitment to antiracism and equitable outcomes
  • ISS employees actively demonstrate a commitment to antiracism
  • ISS employees get to know each other across departments, locations and backgrounds


  • Edit policy handbook to reflect commitment to antiracism and periodically promote relevant policies.
  • Ensure performance reviews reflect our commitment to antiracism.
  • Restructure internal ISS committees to ensure broad, rotating participation.
  • Help employees get to know each other across departments, roles, backgrounds and locations, especially through common interests.



  • Increased partnerships with BIPOC organizations and organizations that make antiracism a priority
  • Deeper engagement with local community
  • Increased civic engagement
  • Greater commitment to DEIJ and antiracism in the international school sector


  • Support BIPOC organizations focused on international education.
  • Add mentoring or other personal component to local community service projects.
  • Organize ISS service project(s) (to be used in lieu of two free days to volunteer).
  • Promote civic engagement by facilitating voting.
  • Extend and deepen work of Diversity Collaborative and Women’s Symposium.

Feedback & Accountability


  • Wide variety of voices/perspectives at the table informing decision making
  • Antiracist culture and climate at ISS
  • Demonstrated progress/tangible evidence that ISS has become more antiracist


  • Develop, implement and monitor ISS antiracism plan.
  • Conduct periodic culture surveys and climate check-ins among ISS staff.
  • Conduct client perception surveys.
  • Establish BIPOC advisory committee(s).
  • Create BIPOC affinity group(s) – see ISS Schools too.

ISS Schools


  • Increased numbers of people of different race backgrounds at ISS schools
  • More inclusive and equitable cultures through change of behaviors, policies and practices at ISS schools
  • Use of articulated and integrated race equity lens at ISS schools to create cultures that are focused on proactive identification and reduction of race inequities inside and outside of an organization


Work with ISS school leaders to:

  • Raise the level of awareness of racism and bias at ISS schools by gathering feedback from educators, staff, students and families.

  • Increase understanding about what antiracism and a race equity culture entail through shared webinars and other educational opportunities.

  • Integrate a race equity lens in all aspects of ISS schools.

  • Connect ISS schools with other schools on similar journeys.

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