Dear Community Member,
As we transition from Thanksgiving to the winter holidays, we are writing to provide an update on our Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) initiative. Despite the challenges of the ongoing pandemic, which have kept our community from gathering on campus as we would like, faculty, staff, students, and trustees have had several opportunities to engage in thoughtful conversations about equity and belonging. At the same time, we have laid significant groundwork for the initiative, focusing on a variety of factors, including race, religion, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, and socioeconomic status.
A Board committee was created to provide the strategic framework to support the school’s DEI work. DEI Board Committee Chair Carol Ramsey has said, “The role of the board committee is to formulate a comprehensive—not episodic—response to the discovered needs of the Flintridge community so that we can do the rewarding work of creating a permanent environment that is both free of bias and fair for all.”
The annual Board of Trustees retreat in January will be dedicated to a discussion of strategic initiatives and DEI.
Six students attended the virtual National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) Student Diversity Leadership Conference in November, and three faculty members attended the NAIS People of Color Conference held at the same time. Dean of Students Barrett Jamison, who chaperoned students at SDLC, remarked that student participants were “engaged, enthusiastic, and the week clearly had a tremendous positive impact on them.”
Having completed diversity training in the fall, faculty will follow up with a discussion of My Grandmother’s Hands by Resmaa Menakem in the optional faculty book group meeting occurring in January.
In the new year, community members, including faculty, staff, students, parents, and alumni, will be asked to participate in surveys and focus groups to gain insights about the Prep experience as they relate to DEI. Those who expressed specific interest in the DEI initiative will be invited to participate in focus groups in January and February.
DEI consultant Christina Hale-Elliott has also begun observing internal meetings and classes and has begun interviewing members of the school’s leadership. She is reviewing materials about school policies and curriculum, as well as aggregated data, which will help her understand how the school’s culture and values are enacted in our day-to-day interactions.
Christina explains, “When working with a school community, it is important that I hear from those who know it best. That is why surveys, focus groups, and interviews are so salient. Pairing those with observations and reviews of quantitative data and school documents will allow me to triangulate data in a way that provides a fuller picture of diversity, equity, and inclusion at Flintridge Prep.”
If you have missed our previous communications, you can always visit this link for more information. Our article in PrepTalk about DEI can be found here. We hope your winter holidays are safe and joyful, and we look forward to providing additional updates in February.
Head of School
Chair, Board DEI Initiative Committee
Assistant Head for Academic Life
Assistant Head for Student Life