The GreenMount School is committed to building an educational community that embodies diversity, equity, inclusivity, and belonging (DEIB). We actively work to ensure that our curriculum, admissions, hiring and retention processes, and co-curricular activities reflect and support these goals. We strive to create a community that embraces the experiences, cultural beliefs, and perspectives of people of all races, colors, ethnicities, religions, gender identities and expressions, sexual orientations, ages, national origins, abilities, and socioeconomic statuses. We recognize that our school exists in a constantly evolving world and that our understanding and material support for diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging must also continually grow and evolve.
A few of the ways that the GreenMount School is promoting DEIB within our school community include:
- Engaging an external consultant, Valaida Wise Consulting, to complete an Equity Audit in 2022. The audit included a set of recommendations that were accepted by the board and are guiding ongoing and future DEIB priorities and efforts.
- Establishing a DEIB Coordinator Staff Role.
- Partnering with a standing Board committee focused on DEIB, which is comprised of parents, school leadership, and staff to support a range of activities and priorities throughout the school year.
- Authentically engaging, including, and supporting the voices of our school community, including students, parents, alumni, staff, and community members to inform our efforts on an ongoing basis.
- Developing policies and protocols that incorporate DEIB concepts and best practices.
- Providing professional development for staff and faculty related to the implementation of DEIB best practices.
Why Are These Concepts Important?
Talking about the many ways we identify and experience life can help students and adults better understand their own world views, as well as the unique perspectives each person has in a community. Supporting open dialogue about difference allows community members to develop empathy and respect, to show up as their authentic selves, and to know that they belong at the school and are truly valued.
Belonging is a foundation for learning. When students know they belong and feel valued in a school community, they are comfortable taking the academic risks necessary to grow and develop. Belonging is tied to academic engagement and achievement for all students.
Many of the skills gained through education in racially, ethnically, and socioeconomically diverse schools are vital for success in college, career, and life in the 21st century, including critical thinking, empathy, collaboration, communication, social skills, flexibility, and leadership. Students who do not have the opportunity to practice and hone these skills in school will be at a disadvantage in college admissions and in the job market.
The National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) offers helpful definitions and context for the importance of this work. The content below was retrieved from the NAIS Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Webpage as a best practice resource to guide the GreenMount School’s DEIB Work.
Diversity, equity, and inclusion work (often referred to as DEI) in independent schools seeks to help community members navigate differences and similarities so that everyone can realize their potential.
- Diversity refers to the full range of human differences within overarching similarities. These differences can be visible or invisible, mutable or not. Schools foster diversity by ensuring that their communities include people from many different backgrounds and perspectives.
- Equity means ensuring that everyone has equal access to the opportunities that will help them thrive. Not everyone in a school community will have the same needs; schools can address equity by understanding the needs of each student and providing the tools or opportunities that will support their development.
- Inclusion refers to individual and institutional behaviors that show people they are accepted, respected, and valued. Inclusion helps ensure all community members have access to the benefits and opportunities the school provides. Inclusion is also closely related to belonging.
- Belonging refers to the emotional and experiential outcome of inclusion. All humans share the need to be taken in, cared for, protected, and valued by a group, community, or organization. Belonging gives people a voice in a community and encourages and enables them to contribute to it and to expect support from it as well.