At the June 2009 Administrative Retreat, there emerged a commitment to
ensure that the following year’s theme, “Giving Voice,” would deepen and
strengthen diversity issues, and Head of School Marjo Talbott
selected Director of Counseling Holly Hinderlie
to form a small task force to help shape and lead initiatives for the following year.
Ms. Hinderlie invited Eliza Alexander
, Director of Service Learning and Spanish teacher, and Angel Nash
Lower School homeroom teacher, to join the task force along with Ms.
Talbott. During the summer, the group interviewed experts who could help
support the School's diversity objectives and they interviewed alumni
about their experiences regarding diversity while at Maret. Based on
this work, the task force led a day-long faculty meeting in August to
kick off the year.
Programs and Initiatives in 2009-2010
major charge to the group was to strengthen or maintain annual
diversity events already in place. As a result, Maret’s Mixed Form,
Color Day, and Day of Silence were reinforced as rich experiences for
our community. A variety of other diversity related initiatives were also implemented:
Faculty Training workshops: 1) Virginia Center for Inclusive
Communities, 2) Bobby Edwards, past Diversity Coordinator at Philips
Andover, and 3) Professor Howard Stevenson from University of
- The creation of LGBT and African Diaspora Affinity Groups
at Maret (DAM) video of student reflections about diversity at the
School presented to faculty and the Maret Parent Diversity Committee
- A half-day discussion at the June 2010 administrative retreat led by Angel Nash and Bobby Edwards
- Assemblies program included a wide variety of speakers and topics relating to diversity
- Culture Club in the Lower School was created by Angel Nash
- “Continuing Conversations around Race” lunch program for students in the Upper School
- A closing diversity session with the full faculty, including personal reflections from Task Force members
Creation of an Ongoing Diversity Task Force
In keeping with Head Marjo Talbott's longstanding position, Maret chose not
to institute a Diversity Coordinator, which was not congruent with
Maret's culture where all school leaders are expected to embrace and be
responsible for diversity initiatives.
However, in order to
ensure successful oversight of all diversity efforts and initiatives,
and given the successes of the initial Diversity Task Force, it was
decided in the spring of 2010 to expand to a standing committee. The new
Task Force would represent all divisions and annually would steer the
community toward fulfilling diversity initiatives. In 2010, 3 additional
members joined the group: Susan Epps, Assistant Head, hiring coordinator, and MPAD representative; Jason Gordon, Middle School teacher and seveth grade dean; and Jennifer Groppe, Upper School Science Teacher.
A number of programs are rooted into our annual calendar: Meet, Eat & Greet, National Coming Out Day, Day of Silence, MLK Assemblies, Culture Club, African Diaspora Affinity Group, and Mixed Forum. The DTF might not be the ones who organize each event but it is responsible for ensuring that each is well planned and well executed.
Below are specific programs the Task Force oversaw in 2012-13
- Deepening Discussion on Race, a seminar during the first week of the Case Institute, was a “game changer” for those 15 Maret faculty and staff members who participated. The group continued to meet throughout the year and presented in Opening Faculty meetings and three more times during the year introducing important protocols and such concepts as Discourse 1 and 2.
- Second year for DEEP and 8 students participated (one was a Davies Scholar).
- The Upper School team hosted the second Building Connections workshop for families of color new to high school – it was held on the second Saturday of pre-season and had an excellent turn out.
- The community read was Beyond the Beautiful Forevers, which describes the slums of Mumbai in India and introduced our theme “The Global Mosaic.” Faculty and parents came to a panel discussion with parent Preeti Shroff-Mehta, parent of alumni and NPR reporter Tom Gjelten, and consultant John Middleton.
- Faculty formed a White Allies affinity group.
- 30 students participated in WorkSpace, coordinated by Assistant Director of Upper School David Walker.
- In the aftermath of a threatening Facebook incident, Maret used it as a teaching moment, holding an Upper School Assembly and then creating space for Students of Color and White Students Affinity Groups which them continued to meet periodically through the spring.
- The Day of Dialogue in late February addressed a number of issues and prejudices around race, class, sexual orientation. There was a large team of faculty and students who created the day and worked hard in making it a success.
- Around the Blood Drive in April, Assistant Head for Student Life Lynn Levinson, the faculty advisor to the Student Council, circulated a petition to stop the ban on Gay’s donating blood.
- Three new Davies Scholars have been admitted; they will join about 12 other students in DEEP this summer.
- Don Blanchon and Shroeder Stribling, both parents, talked to the Upper School about their family experience around AIDS and homophobia for the Day of Silence. Director of Middle School Admission Patrick Scott organized a Middle School Program.
- Parent and NPR reporter and writer Michele Norris presented her nationally acclaimed Race Card Project to Upper School Students and then ran a very effective MPAD and PAS Colloquium Event for parents, teachers and other community members.
- Patrick Scott and parent Richard Gervase hosted an evening with 25 LGBT Families.
- Howie Schaffer, an expert in the field of Diversity, spoke to the Faculty on equity and inclusion.
- This summer 16 more faculty members participated in Deepening the Discussion on Race, a Case Institute for Curricular Innovation & Excellence Initiative.
Diversity Task Force Members 2012-13
Chair: Marjo Talbott, Head of School
Eliza Alexander, Director of Service Learning
Susan Epps, Assistant Head of School
Ayo Harrison, Math Teacher and Davies Scholar Liaison
Jennifer Groppe, Upper School Science
Holly Hinderlie, Director of Counseling
Angel Nash, Third Grade Homeroom Teacher
Patrick Scott, 7th Grade Dean and Associate Director of MS Admissions