Diversity & Inclusion Initiatives Progress Report - 7/22
In our recent social media posting in which we released a statement on Black Lives Matter, we said that more information will be shared as we continue to plan for the next school year. Here are some progress reports on some important areas:
- Programming: The Director of Diversity and Inclusion has been working with students, alumni, parents, and colleagues to develop comprehensive programming addressing issues of bias and privilege. These will cover areas of race, gender, sexuality, and socio-economics, among others. This programming will be ongoing in the years ahead and will be informed by data from our annual D&I survey in addition to societal events. This programming will be delivered in many different ways:
- School-wide speakers/events
- Professional Development for all colleagues.
- Advisory sessions for students centered around diversity, equity, and inclusion.
- The Director of Diversity and Inclusion will also collaborate across departments to support our efforts in addressing systemic inequities within the Prep.
- Year of Solidarity: The Ignatian Engagement Committee (IEC) has declared 2020-21 as the “Year of Solidarity” in alignment with the Society of Jesus’ second Universal Apostolic Preference of “Walking with the Excluded.” Programming is being developed to support this initiative, that follows on the very successful “Year of the Examen.” More information will be shared in a letter next week and updated on the Prep Website.
- Curriculum Review: A Curriculum Review was already in progress this academic year, utilizing the Grad at Grad principles as the lens through which all coursework will be examined. As part of this review, we will continue to explore how we can incorporate anti-racist topics and build our students’ anti-racist skill set throughout the curriculum and include groups not always reflected in coursework (ensuring that books read in English include a variety of races, genders, cultures; adding new perspectives in areas of history, religious studies, social sciences, fine arts, science, etc.). It is a three-year process that will conclude in the Spring of 2022.
- Employment: The Prep will continue its ongoing efforts to ensure a more diverse applicant pool for all positions. The school will further expand its contact with local, regional, and national organizations to which BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) educators and education students belong as well as grow and refine this network to actively engage in attracting, recruiting, and retaining BIPOC classroom teachers. The school will also continue to solicit support from BIPOC alumni, current families, and past families in this endeavor. The ultimate goal of this initiative is to have at least one BIPOC teacher in every academic department within five years as well as building on the progress we have made hiring BIPOC colleagues in non-academic areas. We recognize that this goal may need to be extended as it is based on continued availability of positions, which may not be available due to relatively low faculty turnover at the Prep.
- Discipline: In 2020-21, the school will initiate a discipline self-study, which will involve both reviewing the student handbook for cultural bias and collecting discipline data to assess the racial breakdown of both disciplinary infractions and consequences for infractions. Specific language will be added to the the student handbook clarifying what constitutes offensive racist, sexist, and homophobic speech and action within our community, and what the specific consequences will be for violations of what the school considers to be inappropriate with regard to these particular issues. The school will make clear that racism, sexisim, homophobia, etc. have no place in the school community.
- External Professional Development: The school will allocate money towards external professional development opportunities in 2020-21 so that colleagues can attend local, regional, and national conferences devoted to exploring issues of diversity and inclusion in schools. Current colleagues will be strongly encouraged to attend.
- Co-curricular Activities: The Assistant Principal for Student Life, the Director of Student Activities, and the Athletic Director will collaborate in the collection of data regarding the Prep’s teams, clubs, and other co-curricular activities. This data will include the demographic breakdown of participants of each sport, club, activity, etc., and the data will be shared out with coaches and moderators as a starting point to a consideration of the degree to which the co-curricular life of the school is welcoming and inclusive of different demographic groups.
- ASC Assistant to the Director of D/I: The Prep will continue to assign one member of the Alumni Service Corps to support our Director of D/I and initiatives focused around D/I programming as well as exploring other ways to assist in this important work.
- SJP Town Hall Series: The Prep understands the importance of engaging with our community, and commits to hosting regular (monthly or quarterly) town halls to ensure that we are collaborating with stakeholders on a consistent basis to inform school programming.
While this is not a comprehensive response to all of the issues that were brought up by different members of the Prep community, they represent our commitment to these initiatives moving into this school year. We will continue to provide updates on these areas, as well as those other areas not covered in these bullets.