DIVERSITY, EQUITY, INCLUSION
The only way schools can do targeted and effective work with students and families of underrepresented populations is through a Distributive Leadership Model. At Beaver, our diversity director heads the global history department, teaches upper school English and middle school percussion, greets people at the front desk, coaches field hockey and baseball, advises sophomores and sixth graders, directs the spring musical, leads each division, fosters positive alumni relationships, and interviews prospective students. Diversity, equity, and inclusion are important aspects of every position. The director is not a she, a he, or a they but a collective we. Conducive with this “we” approach, Beaver’s director of student engagement helps coordinate and monitor our strategies and support systems for this work.
As with any institutional priority, every teacher, administrator, and staff member needs to take responsibility for the work. We are focused in providing support and professional development to faculty, staff, and administrators to ensure students have the best experience possible with teachers who are well equipped. We nurture belonging, motivation, and high achievement among all students. We recognize the challenges that some underrepresented groups face at independent schools and acknowledge that student populations experience Beaver differently. Hence, we diligently investigate ways to improve our practice and promote student success in all areas. This encompasses attending conferences and workshops; consulting with experts; facilitating faculty and administrative dialogue groups that explore excellence through equity; sending students to conferences such as the Student Diversity Leadership Conference (SDLC) and Woman2Woman; hosting student events such as the Race Card Project; offering affinity groups for students and adults; and analyzing data to inform our practice. Beaver engages in a broad range of activities that helps students affirm identity, build community, and cultivate leadership skills.
CONVERSATIONS WE’RE HAVING AT BEAVER ABOUT DIVERSITY, EQUITY, AND INCLUSION
- Administrators, staff, and faculty meet regularly to discuss supporting students from underrepresented populations to ensure they have a positive experience at Beaver.
- We host events for families of color that foster a diverse, inclusive community where everyone feels valued and engaged.
- In our “Break Bread Series”, faculty meet for informal get togethers to discuss diversity and excellence through equity.
- Students, faculty, and administrators are committed to being a voice in the larger community and present our work at AISNE, POCC, and NPEA.
In ‘College Students’ Sense of Belonging,’ Teffell L. Strayhorn identifies two key elements of engagement: what institutions do and what students do. This encapsulates my role at Beaver: helping all students especially those from underrepresented populations become involved in the community and assisting adults as we create environments that foster a sense of belonging among all students. – Joe Christy, Director of Student Engagement
Students engage in collaborative inquiry-based projects such as “Power as a Force”, which involves English, Physics, and History classes exploring power through different lenses. Many classes are based on an approach that focuses on politics, culture, economics and science, to foster discussions and research about topics such as race and equity. – Kader Adjout, Director of Upper School
We encourage middle school students to venture outside their comfort zone and explore new opportunities, pursue challenges, and engage with others who have different perspectives. Learning is essential to all aspect of the Beaver experience. Students who view themselves as athletes are encouraged to go out for a play, musicians are persuaded to try a sport, artists encouraged to join CodeClub. We ask students to traverse many paths and create new roads with the guidance and support of our faculty. -Tiffany Marsh, Director of Middle School