Non-Discrimination Policy

Maret School stands firmly behind the principle that the admission of students, the employment of staff, the operation of programs, and the governance of the School be open to all who are qualified regardless of race, creed, color, national origin, ethnic origin, or sexual orientation. It believes that this principle is both firmly grounded in the spirit of American democracy and in keeping with the civil responsibilities of an independent school.

Our Commitment to Diversity

. . . In a community that embraces different cultures, interests, perspectives, and talents, we prepare our students to become responsible, thoughtful, and well-informed adults who are able to play an active role in improving the world.

— From the Maret School Mission Statement

As we continue to learn from one another, ongoing discussion and self-reflection is essential. Maret’s leadership is expected to embrace and be responsible for an excellent education for each and everyone of its students, as well as an inclusive and equitable campus environment. 

History of the Diversity Task Force at Maret

Background

    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

    One 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:

    • Three 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 Pennsylvania
    • The creation of LGBT and African Diaspora Affinity Groups
    • Diversity at Maret (DAM) video of student reflections about diversity at the School presented to faculty and the Maret Parent Diversity Committee (MPAD)
    • 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. 

      Objectives

      • to have a forum in which diversity issues in the parent, faculty and student community are processed
      • to plan for diversity programming in each division
      • to ensure substantive diversity education for Maret faculty
      • to coordinate efforts with Maret parents
      • to support forums for open and sustained diversity dialogue in the Maret community
      • to chart a future course for the School regarding diversity programming and initiatives.

      Program & Initiatives 2012-2013

      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

      1. 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.
      2. Second year for DEEP and 8 students participated (one was a Davies Scholar).
      3. 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.
      4. 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.
      5. Faculty formed a White Allies affinity group.
      6. 30 students participated in WorkSpace, coordinated by Assistant Director of Upper School David Walker.
      7. 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.
      8. 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.
      9. 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.
      10. Three new Davies Scholars have been admitted; they will join about 12 other students in DEEP this summer.
      11. 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.
      12. 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.
      13. Patrick Scott and parent Richard Gervase hosted an evening with 25 LGBT Families.
      14. Howie Schaffer, an expert in the field of Diversity, spoke to the Faculty on equity and inclusion.
      15. 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
      Students, parents and faculty members discuss last year's Mixed Forum topic.
      Students, parents and faculty members discuss last year's Mixed Forum topic.

      Maret Parents Association Diversity Committee Mission

      The mission of the Maret Parents Association (MPA) Diversity Committee is to assist Maret School in fulfilling its commitment to support and celebrate a diverse and vibrant school community. The MPA Diversity Committee is open to all Maret parents and embraces all forms of diversity, including race, culture, gender, sexual orientation, religion and socio-economic status.

      The MPA Diversity Committee creates and supports a variety of opportunities for open and constructive dialogue among Maret parents, school administration, and students that help foster a school environment where everyone feels respected, safe, included, and valued.