The Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) hosted student focus groups as part of its second DEI Climate Assessment via Zoom on May 3-4.
The students met in small groups with a leader from the Glasgow Group, a consultancy service for independent schools, to discuss the issues and successes of the school’s recent DEI initiatives. In an email to students inviting them to sign up for the groups, President Rick Commons wrote that the focus groups will allow the administration to assess how the school environment has changed since the first assessment. climate DEI of the school carried out in 2016.
“This process has given the school feedback that has enabled us to move forward with many important initiatives such as establishing the DEI office at the school, improving professional development, and strengthening our policies and practices,” Commons wrote in an email to the student body. “We are now in the process of conducting our second school-wide climate assessment. This will allow the school to see where we have made progress and where we need to continue to focus our attention moving forward.
Students were able to join optional groups by RSVP via email
Focus group participant Chelsea Cho ’21 said she came to the meeting because she felt inclined to help her community address these issues, particularly as she is the leader of Asian Students. in Action, an on-campus affinity group.
“I came to the DEI discussion group to share my thoughts and feelings as an affinity group leader with someone who is not directly involved with the school but is there to help,” said Cho. “It’s really valuable to be honest and real with someone from an outside perspective on our community.”
Cate Greenman ’22, who also attended the reunion, said she found the structure and composition of the groups particularly productive.
“The fact that we were placed in smaller focus groups made up of diverse students from different grade levels and affinity groups allowed for a wide range of perspectives and gave everyone the opportunity to to express their opinion on how [the school] can improve,” Greenman said.
Student groups are part of the next phase of DEI assessment
Cho also said she hopes the climate assessment and input from her classmates will lead to real change in the school’s approach to DEI.
“I hope our discussion leads to some action items, especially from a third-person perspective,” Cho said. “I think it’s really important to talk about ideas before discarding them in case they’re unrealistic or out of the ballpark as seasoned members of the community try to effect change.”