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Community Letter (June 2021)

END OF YEAR Report of DEIB Progress (June 2021)

Dear Kent Place Community,                                  
 
Last summer, Kent Place Leadership and the Board of Trustees launched an Anti-Bias and Anti-Racism Action Plan to accelerate Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at all levels of the school. This comprehensive effort included a series of steps designed to help us build a more equitable and inclusive community, and the Board committed to provide an annual report to the community on our progress, which we are pleased to provide today.
 
As we shared last month, we are encouraged by the significant progress that Kent Place has made on the Anti-Bias and Anti-Racism Action Plan. With thanks to the active support and engagement of our whole community, we have taken positive action on every element of the plan. Some of the initiatives are one-time changes to policies or practices, and many others, such as training for faculty and staff, reflect ongoing commitments that will continue into the future:
 
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Task Forces
The school has met its objective of establishing Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Task Forces at the Leadership, Board of Trustees, and Alumnae Association levels. These groups work to develop and implement the Anti-Bias and Anti-Racism Action Plan, monitor and measure progress to ensure accountability, and engage the wider community to build networks of support and mentorship. They have also served as a foundation to welcome student input, including presentations to the Board’s Mission and Vision Committee in both January and April 2021.
 
Reporting System and Discipline Policy
We have developed a reporting system for potential bias incidents, which will be implemented in the fall, and clearly defined our disciplinary protocols in the event of a violation of the school’s anti-discrimination policy. We continue to review these policies and procedures to ensure they are working properly, and that students, faculty, and staff are properly informed about the resources available to them.
 
In addition, we engaged Paulette Brown, an expert on diversity, equity, and inclusion and a past president of both the American and National Bar Associations, to conduct an independent review of school policies and practices and allegations about past incidents of discrimination. Ms. Brown submitted her findings in April, and Walidah Justice, our Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, is incorporating her recommendations into our Anti-Bias and Anti-Racism Action Plan.
 
Training
All faculty and staff at Kent Place participated in anti-bias and Intergroup Dialogue training for the 2020–21 school year. In addition, at the Leadership level, staff participated in additional deep-dive DEI training focused on institutional anti-racism and equity. KPS has also facilitated DEI training, including Intergroup Dialogue training, for Trustees. Notably, this is an ongoing commitment, and a similar requirement will be applied for the 2021–22 academic year.
 
Faculty Evaluation
Kent Place has integrated our Multicultural Educational Self-Assessment tool into the ongoing review process for faculty, with regular checkpoints for all teachers with Division Directors throughout the year. We have also implemented faculty expectations, which explicitly mandate that faculty approach teaching through an anti-bias and anti-racist lens and call for sustained and ongoing growth in this area.
 
Community Engagement
The KPS Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion has worked in partnership with the Director of Parent Engagement, the Parents' Association, and the subsidiary Diversity and Equity Parent Group to develop programming for parents related to diversity and anti-bias/anti-racism. In practice, this has resulted in a significant increase in continuing education opportunities for all community members, including more than a dozen programs for parents, and a greater volume and variety of workshops and conferences available for students at every level.
 
Curriculum
In addition to using the Multicultural Education Self-Assessment tool to guide faculty lesson planning, Kent Place is participating in a diversity, equity, and inclusion audit of our curriculum. This effort is conducted in partnership with Division Directors, Department Chairs, the Assistant Head of School for Teaching and Learning, and all faculty in Junior Pre-K through 12th Grade. The multi-year process will allow us to assess, revise, and update our curriculum to ensure we provide an academically excellent and inclusive learning environment where every child sees themselves reflected in the content. 
 
Student Support
New in the 2020–21 academic year, Kent Place now employs an Assistant Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion focused specifically on student support, with a mandate to support and expand the availability of student Affinity Groups in the Middle and Upper School based on student feedback, interest, and need. Throughout the 2020–21 school year, the Director and Assistant Director of DEI met with existing student groups and parents on potential adjustments to the school’s existing programs. Based on these discussions, the school plans to pilot Affinity Groups in the fall of 2021 for APICA, Black, LatinX, Multiracial, Gender & Sexuality, and Jewish students. All groups will be led by a faculty advisor who identifies with the affinity, and who will go through training in the summer of 2021.
 
Faculty and Staff Support
Kent Place supports Affinity Groups at the faculty and staff level, conducts ongoing reviews of hiring practices, and provides anti-bias training for anyone with hiring responsibility. We have created a task force to oversee the hiring process. The Assistant Head for Teaching and Learning will report on progress to the Board each year.
 
While it is clear we have made significant progress, we still have work to do. We remain committed to building a better Kent Place for all of us.
 
Yours for Kent Place,
 

 

 

G. Alex Crispo P ’14
President, Board of Trustees    

 

 

Dr. Jennifer C. Galambos
Head of School

 

 

Anne Grissinger P ’25
Co-Chair, Board Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Task Force
Trustee

 

 

Shané (Simmons) Harris ’92
Co-Chair, Board Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Task Force
Trustee