In accordance with the vision statement to have the school’s “commitment to inclusion enable every member of our community to feel an equal sense of belonging,” the administration is engaging an outside facilitator, HR Matrix, to give recommendations on how the school can improve diversity and inclusion.
The facilitators will be on campus during the fall to have conversations with students, faculty, staff, administrators and parents, President Rick Commons said.
Interim Head of Upper School and Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee member Liz Resnick said that the facilitators will investigate diversity of race, socio-economic status, sexual orientation, gender and other characteristics.
“We felt like we didn’t want to take for granted that we understood everyone’s experiences of the school so we thought it would be a good idea to have an outside facilitator hold up a mirror for us,” Resnick said.
Commons said the school is hoping to receive the HR Matrix recommendations before the the new year.
“One only needs to talk to a few students to hear that some students feel that they don’t belong as much as other students, whether it be because of racial background or socioeconomic background or a sense of a different learning style or a sense of a different personal style,” Commons said. “We know we have work to do but knowing where that work is more acutely needed is what the climate assessment will be intended to do.”
The decision to bring in the outside consultants came from the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee, which has been investigating ways to improve inclusion at the school.
“I’m excited about the facilitators’ work but I’m also nervous about that work because we didn’t engage them to tell us that we have it all figured out, we engaged them to see what we’re not doing well, so I’m nervous to see what that is, but I’m committed to fixing these problems,” Commons said.