The year 2020 was a time of reflection for many of the nation’s leading institutions.
With the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis and the global calls for social justice, businesses, schools and even governments began to reflect more deeply on issues related to diversity, equity and inclusion.
At Providence Day School, administrators initiated an annual study to evaluate the school’s demographics, curriculum, connectivity, faculty development, policies, and programming all with an eye toward ensuring that Providence Day remains an inclusive environment.
For more than 20 years, the report concluded, a commitment to diversity, equity and belonging has been “woven into the fabric” of Providence Day.
“Belonging is an essential part of our community, and we are committed to ensuring that each member feels valued, validated, respected, included, and supported,” Tyrone Jean, the school’s Assistant Head of School for Equity, Inclusion & Belonging, said in that first report.
Since then, the annual reports have become part of an evolving, multilayered approach that chronicles Providence Day’s activity and measures its progress.
In addition to Jean, the school has two Associate Directors and six faculty coordinators who work with the Office of Equity, Inclusion & Belonging.
Key findings from the 2022 Annual Report
Partnered with PFLAG Charlotte (the premier organization for LGBTQ+ individuals, families, and allies) to create a three-part series on LGBTQ+ experiences for our Upper School faculty.
Partnered with Dr. Ali Michael for implicit bias training for off-campus coaches, Institutional Advancement, and the Student Services team.
Partnered with Dr. Sandra Chapman for a three-part educational series on Racial Anxiety, Implicit Bias, and Racial Microaggressions for Lower School Parents and Families.
Adopted a gender-neutral dress code for all three divisions.
Created and launched a Teaching Fellows Program.
Strengthened our financial aid model to reflect greater equity based on each family’s total financial need.
Continued to partner with gender diverse students and their families to ensure access and support.
Added commemorations of LGBTQ+ History Month, Arab American Heritage Month, and Jewish American Heritage Month.
Added several affinity groups (Jewish Student Association, Rainbow Alliance in Middle School, and Jewish Affinity Group in Lower School).
Hosted a listening session for Jewish families regarding anti-Semitism, which led to partnering with the Jewish Culture Club for a student listening session.
Conducted student-initiated celebrations for Holi, Lunar New Year, and Rainbow Day.
The Cultural Connections committee of the Parents’ Association hosted celebratory events for Diwali, Hanukkah, Lunar New Year, and Eid al-Fitr.
Accurately reflected the increasing diversity of our school community in internal and external communications, ranging from videos and podcasts to magazines, brochures, and social media posts.
Increased the school’s advertising spending with diverse media outlets, including Jewish Community News, La Noticia, Pride, and QCitymetro.com.
Strengthened the bias reporting system, created in 2021, which focuses on accountability and education.
Added language to employment descriptions to attract qualified candidates who share values of equity, inclusion, and belonging.
Expanded the Black Families Network and Hispanic Families Network to bring communities together.
Brought the Jewish community together in response to anti-Semitic incidents and created space to address concerns and chart a pathway forward.
Put on a school play, “She Kills Monsters,” with Queer lead characters and raised $4,400 in proceeds benefiting Time Out Youth, a local organization that supports LGBTQ youth.
2023 and beyond
Going forward, Providence Day School has committed to strategic planning that includes greater integration of anti-semitism, anti-racism and anti-bias education, as well as continued and increased parent/family education.
Other area of focus will include:
Professional development for faculty and staff.
Adding Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging as a designation within the Annual Fund – which is Providence Day’s annual fundraising initiative where donors can choose which area of operation to support.
Exploring guidelines that better support the gender diversity of the school (athletics, classrooms, trips, restrooms).