Equity and Inclusion
Equity and inclusion are at the center of our work at Maret. Ensuring healthy school life requires ongoing dialogue, self-reflection, and action towards ever more inclusive and equitable practices and policies.
Over the years, our work has expanded in both breadth and depth as we constantly re-evaluate what it means to be conscientious equity practitioners. We believe that, while imperfect and sometimes stumbling, we must remain on the path toward building a stronger community and, ultimately, a better world.
Current Initiative—Combatting Racism
Events across the country, as well as stories within our own community, have called upon us to set a higher standard of inclusion and engagement. In 2020-2021, Maret convened the Anti-Racism Task Force (ARTF), which produced a report and a series of recommendations to guide the School in combatting institutional racism. These recommendations are the foundation of the School’s most recent anti-racism initiatives.
- Spring 2023 Update
- Spring 2022 Update
- Fall 2021 Update
- The ARTF Report March 2021
- Anti-Racism Task Force 2020-2021
- Initiatives in Progress
- Additional Recommendations
Spring 2023 Update
Reflecting on my first year as the Director of Equity & Inclusion at Maret, I am filled with gratitude and anticipation for the near future. It has been an honor to serve this compassionate, caring community and to continue the work of creating an inclusive and equitable environment for all students, families, and faculty.
With intentionality, I dedicated much of the first part of the school year to learning, observing, and building relationships with parents, faculty, and students. I have valued the opportunity to listen to personal experiences, reflect on what I have heard, ask questions, and note my observations as a new member of the community. In my role, I’ve been included in school leadership through Student Life Programming and as a member of the Lower School leadership team. I also have the pleasure of collaborating with a small and mighty group of faculty members in the Office of Equity & Inclusion (OEI) — Jua Fluellen, Grade 7 Dean and MS Science teacher; Nina Candia, Assistant Director of Upper School, 9th grade Dean, and Humanities teacher; and Patrick Scott, Director of Middle School Admission and Social Media.
As the year comes to an end, please read the broad strokes about the work Maret has done to advance equity and inclusion in our community.
Addressing the Recommendations of the Anti Racism Task Force Report (March 2021)
This year we continued to build a multi-year foundation for Restorative Practices. Engagement with community-building circles builds empathy, listening tools and emotional capacity, and maturity for Restorative Justice. We began with simple low-stakes circles for comfort and practice. This prework, or scaffolding is needed to successfully prepare a community to participate in Restorative Justice as part of resolution and repair when a system to report harm is in place. Restorative Circles have been modeled in all three divisions for faculty and practiced in the Upper School during paired advisories.
Nina Candia and I facilitated the Maret Upper School Equity Committee (MUSE) to provide a space for students to express their concerns and ensure student voices are heard.
To address the concerns regarding Faculty of Color attrition, Assistant Head: Curriculum Development María López, Marjo, and I interviewed the Department Chairs and Division Directors individually about their experiences with hiring, onboarding, and retention with an eye specifically on Faculty of Color. In addition, the Assistant Heads reviewed all of last year’s confidential exit interviews (many of the themes of which were echoed in the department chair conversations). Given the feedback, we have substantially revamped our hiring procedures, how we bring candidates to campus, and our new faculty orientation practices.
Honoring and respecting one another through meaningful multicultural experiences and education is paramount for our students and their future in a beautifully diverse and international area like the DMV. It's essential to have knowledge about other cultures, traditions, and perspectives to nurture understanding, bridge cultural differences, and develop culturally sensitive young adults. When it comes to honoring the vastness of cultures and celebrations within our community, we believe that the voices of the people who identify with specific cultural holidays, traditions, and events must be included in discussions and planning to prevent inadvertent misrepresentation or the reinforcement of stereotypes. To this end, the Division Directors and I are dedicated to collaborating and connecting with students, faculty, and families when we honor a cultural tradition, holiday, or heritage month. We are also committed to making sure that we increase awareness of our E&I work by communicating frequently through the school’s many channels. As we work to increase the diversity of our faculty and student body, our Parent Affinity Groups have been an incredible resource and voice for our community, and I look forward to continuing our partnership.
Partnering with Martha Haakmat at Haakmat Consulting
Since the spring of 2022, we have been working with Martha Haakmat to educate the community and move work forward in specific areas. This is a summary of our work together this past year:
- Diversity, equity, and inclusion training for the Board of Trustees and the incorporation of more DEI-focused Board and Board Committee charges.
- School leadership workshop on faculty retention and hiring
- Faculty workshop on communication strategies for strengthening community
- Parent workshop on navigating difficult conversations
- Consulting with us on further education that our community needs to combat antisemitism
Martha will continue to partner with Maret next year and already has a strong and long-standing professional relationship with Maret’s incoming head of school, Dennis Bisgaard.
In-house Professional Development for Faculty: Always Learning
In addition to the professional development workshop conducted by Martha Haakmat, we have organized education for the faculty about gender inclusion and led anti-bias training.
- In February, we brought SMYAL to campus to conduct gender inclusion Professional Development for the full faculty.
- Following this PD, a group of ten faculty members and I formed the Gender Inclusive Collaborative. Our goal is to gain a better understanding of gender and gender expression and to explore the challenges and successes that students, families, faculty, schools, and communities face in their efforts toward greater gender inclusivity. Currently, we are in Phase I, where we are educating ourselves and gathering helpful resources. In Phase II, we plan to propose a comprehensive plan for our community. This plan may include a range of initiatives, such as professional development programs, parent education, student education programs, and gender-inclusion policy recommendations.
- At the start of the admission season, I had the opportunity to work closely with our Lower School Admission team. We engaged in thoughtful discussions about our own identities and the potential biases we may bring when evaluating families and children in the admissions process. Naming and disrupting bias is a continuous process that necessitates constant reflection and attention.
Strengthening our Affinity Group Programs/Partnership between Home & School
Maret has a robust affinity group program that serves students in all three divisions, faculty, and parents and guardians. In the fall, I began reaching out to the representatives of the five Parent Affinity and Working Groups to learn more about their history and goals. Since then, we have gathered twice—in December and April— across affinity to share challenges, successes, and hopes for the upcoming school year. More institutionalized support has been appreciated and is an ongoing goal for the future. Some of the highlights of the year include:
- The inaugural Parent Affinity and Working Group Information Session was held in January with the assistance of the Maret Parents Association.
- Parents from the Maret Asian Pacific Islander Affinity group (MAPIA) coordinated with me and the Division Directors to highlight special celebrations such as Lunar New Year, Diwali, Ramadan, and Eid.
- Parent Affinity and Working Groups attended the welcome events for newly accepted students, and information about Parent Affinity and Working Groups was included in admission packets.
Student Affinity Groups
- In January, I met individually with US Student Affinity Group faculty leaders to ask them how I could support them and the students.
- I had similar meetings with MS Student Affinity Group faculty leaders. As a result, I hosted Affinity Group pizza lunches to meet with students and asked them how things were going and what ways I could support them and the adults who work with them. These Thursday pizza lunches started in March and continued until early May.
- Lower School affinity groups continue to be held after school for Grade 3-4 students.
As a result of talking with faculty and hosting pizza lunches with students throughout the year, it is clear how vital affinity groups are for students. We will continue to support our students and create a sense of belonging at Maret in affinity, as well as across affinity.
One way we've tried to be responsive to our community through an equity lens is through our annual spring listening sessions for historically underrepresented communities. These April evenings, facilitated by faculty, allow parents and families to share their perspectives on how Maret can better affirm and celebrate their children's identities, as well as suggest new strategies for creating a more inclusive and equitable environment. We've seen the impact of past feedback from these sessions, with changes made to our curriculum and events. This year's feedback will soon be shared in summary form with school leadership, the Board, and Dennis.
Being Responsive, Looking to the Future
Moving forward, I plan to continue building strong relationships with students, families, and community members to better understand their needs and perspectives. I also aim to create systems for organizing and aligning our growing programs while strengthening opportunities for collaboration, allyship, and solidarity. A couple of weeks ago, the OEI met for an off-campus retreat to develop a mission statement and philosophy of the office and Maret's E&I work, which we will be proposing to Division Directors in a workshop with Martha Haakmat next week and hope to share with other school leaders and the Board in the months ahead. While there is still much work to be done, we are proud of the progress we have made and are excited to continue this important work in the years to come. I sincerely and open-heartedly welcome additional voices — please reach out to me with your thoughts and concerns. Thank you for being a part of this journey with us.
It would be remiss of me if I did not express my gratitude and admiration for the leader who has guided Maret for 29 years. Although I have only had the privilege of working with Marjo for one year, I have gained so much knowledge and insight. Her leadership and vision have made a lasting impact on our school, and her work in promoting equity and inclusion has been especially noteworthy. The level of commitment she has shown to the School and its students is nothing short of inspiring, and I am confident that her legacy will positively impact the Maret community for many years.
Director of Equity & Inclusion
Spring 2022 Update
Dear Maret Community,
Today, we are sharing with you our Spring 2022 progress towards building an anti-racist culture at Maret. This letter outlines further steps we have taken to address the recommendations from the Anti-Racism Task Force’s (ARTF) Equity Report, shared in March 2021; our last progress updates were shared in June and November of 2021.
This targeted anti-racism work has been spearheaded by the Equity and Inclusion Office — as well as the Committee on Equity & Inclusion (CEI), Student Life and Programs (SLP), and other critical leadership groups at Maret — and is foundational to the ongoing equity and inclusion efforts within our school community.
Every year, faculty, students, and parents and guardians help further this critical work at Maret. This year, faculty members have pursued professional development to build more equitable classrooms, Middle School faculty have worked on a set of essential questions to build a scope and sequence of anti-racist education for Grades 5–8, and in August new faculty will again attend our week-long seminar Deepening the Discussion on Race. Interested parents have started new affinity groups to ensure all members of our community feel included and welcomed at Maret, and student voices are being increasingly amplified through new Lower School affinity spaces, student listening groups, and the Maret Upper School Equity Council (MUSE).
We are excited about the deep commitment that our school has to live our mission. Please read more about our progress below and feel free to contact us with any questions you might have.
Head of School
Co-chair, Committee on Equity & Inclusion
Director of Equity & Inclusion
Co-chair, Committee on Equity & Inclusion
Equity Report: Spring 2022 Update
Office of Equity and Inclusion (OEI)
After a year of careful reflection and building out of our equity initiatives, we have taken the step to expand our Office of Equity & Inclusion (OEI); the Committee on Equity & Inclusion (CEI) will no longer meet. OEI will be helmed by incoming Director of Equity & Inclusion, Mich Black, who has a number of years of experience directing equity and inclusion work in a variety of independent school settings. She will be supported by longtime Maret Science Teacher and Grade Dean, Jua Fluellen, who has been instrumental in the creation of affinity groups and Day of Dialogue within the Middle School and who has been part of the leadership team of Deepening the Discussion on Race, which is attended by all new faculty. Joining them will be Nina Candia, the Assistant Director of the Upper School, and Patrick Scott, the Director of Middle School Admissions. They will meet weekly, and their schedules have been designed to allow them time to engage more deeply in E&I work together and within their roles across campus.
Martha Haakmat of Haakmat Consulting will be supporting the OEI in its design and function. Martha led an anti-racism and anti-bias training for the Board of Trustees in September, as well as a similar training for the Alumni Council in December. She is also supporting us schoolwide as we examine our systems to enhance equity across multiple aspects of our community. Last week, she spent a full day on campus with us, getting to know our school leaders and trustees as she plans her work with us for next year. We are grateful for a gift to the school that allows us to have such a comprehensive contract with Ms. Haakmat.
Anti-Racism Advisory Council (ARAC)
The Anti-Racism Advisory Council — made up of 10 students, four alumni, five parents, and six faculty members — met twice this year. It is charged with working proactively to prevent incidents of racial harm from happening through shared observations about racial equity in the community and making recommendations to CEI.
Raising Student Voices
The Equity Report strongly recommended that student voice be incorporated throughout the systems and spaces that are measuring and evaluating equity at Maret. To that end, we have created more opportunities for students to find support, build solidarity, and have a say in policy-making.
- Maret Upper School Equity Council — Students on the newly created Maret Upper School Equity Council (MUSE) met twice per month to examine equity issues within the Upper School community and to brainstorm solutions. They also met with CEI to share some of their strongest concerns and observations, which the Upper School administration has taken under serious consideration. These meetings will continue next year, and MUSE plans to expand to include more students.
- Student Listening Groups — Listening Groups have expanded to include not only parents and guardians but also students. The purpose of these gatherings and subsequent feedback is to understand the school experiences of students of various racial or ethnic identities. In the past, parents and guardians spoke about their children's experiences. While those perspectives are hugely helpful, we found it critical to talk directly with students about how they have experienced Maret. Parent/guardian listening groups now focus on how parents and guardians experience Maret in their various identities.
- Lower School Affinity Groups — This spring, the Lower School began an affinity group pilot program. We have seen the positive effects of affinity spaces in our Middle and Upper Schools and wanted to extend this opportunity to build community to our Lower School students. Affinity group spaces were offered to students in third and fourth grades. Each group met twice—once in April and once in May. Groups were created in response to requests from the students and the availability of experienced teachers to lead and facilitate the groups. We hope to expand the number of affinity groups in the future to include white students, students new to Maret, and others. Moving forward, we will make adjustments based on student, family, and faculty feedback.
Parent/Guardian Listening Groups
In early April, we continued our annual Parent/Guardian Listening Groups. Similar to our Student and Faculty Listening Groups, the purpose of these sessions is to hear feedback from our parent/guardian community in order to identify emerging trends in the experiences of people from various racial and ethnic backgrounds. We held listening groups for parents and guardians who identify as Latinx, Asian, Greater Middle Eastern, Black, Jewish, White, and Multiracial. We use the feedback to improve our strategies for greater inclusion of our parents and guardians.
We are examining communication practices in our three divisions and schoolwide to appropriately address events in the news and keep families better informed about our institutional E&I initiatives, as well as what is happening in the curriculum, in classrooms, and in our programming across school life.
Restorative Practices (RP)
Restorative Practices is the two-part system of meeting protocols that we are using to help us build authentic community (through Community-Building Circles) and repair racial harm (through Responsive Circles). This work involves self-reflection, as well as strategies to repair relationships.
- Community Building Circles — Our RP Team has been expanding Community Building Circles in our faculty and student meeting spaces across the school this year. The Team is also ready to lead Responsive Circles when these are requested. Over time, all members of the faculty will be trained to facilitate community building circles so that they become a part of the fabric of our school culture.
- System for Reporting Harm — Maret is committed to systematically preventing racial harm and repairing any harm that does occur. To that end, we have drafted a system for reporting that begins a process for understanding what happened. Incoming Director of Equity & Inclusion, Mich Black, has had extensive experience in Restorative Practices, along with educating all community constituents about its ethos and its logistics. She will be a fantastic leader as this work evolves and rolls out, hopefully, in the fall semester of 2022.
- We will also be sending more faculty to be trained this summer in RP, both brand new facilitators and also returning facilitators who will take an advanced level of training for reporting harm.
Faculty Listening Survey
Faculty have also been asked to share their experiences based on the racial/ethnic aspects of their identities. This allows school leaders to see trends emerging for specific identity groups among our faculty and to address issues to make Maret a more inclusive work environment.
Equity and Inclusion Training
Deepening our anti-racist work includes professional development for all faculty and school leaders.
- Throughout this spring, the OEI gave presentations on “Holding Space for Challenging Conversations with Students” to faculty within each teaching division: Lower School, Middle School, and Upper School. These conversations help faculty develop the skills to disrupt harmful comments by avoiding our knee-jerk responses and developing strategies for engaging students in unlearning and relearning, ultimately coming to new understanding about how to treat each other.
- All teaching faculty take part in Equity Learning Groups. They have spent the spring in conversations about how to measure student engagement in ways that build more anti-racist classrooms. These conversations are, again, starting points that will extend into the 2022-23 school year.
- Our faculty are encouraged to pursue professional development with a focus on equity and inclusion, and they have continuous support in doing so. Some of the sessions they attended this school year included:
- Racial Equity Facilitator Training
- The History of Anti-Black Racism Series
- NSTA: What is Social Justice Teaching in the Science Classroom Series
- In December, Maret will attend the National Association for Independent Schools (NAIS) Student Diversity Leadership Conference (SDLC) and People of Color Conference (PoCC). The conferences will be in-person in San Antonio, Texas.
Fall 2021 Update
Dear Maret Community,
When the Anti-Racism Task Force (ARTF) shared the Equity Report with you last March, we made a commitment to regularly communicate our progress towards building an anti-racist culture at Maret. Our first update was in June. This letter outlines a number of further steps we have taken to address the recommendations made in the Report over the past five months.
Maret is fortunate to have a strong team to lead us in this journey, including the long-standing Committee on Equity & Inclusion (CEI). In July, Lower School Librarian Liz Kleinrock, a seasoned anti-bias educator, joined the newly constituted Office of Equity & Inclusion. In addition, sixteen faculty members took extensive training in Restorative Practices over the summer and are already leading Community Building Circles throughout the School.
We are also thrilled to announce that we have just received an amazing gift from a Maret family of $250,000 to establish The Fund for Equity and Inclusion to be used over the next five years to support faculty professional development; student, faculty, and parent affinity and working groups; and other equity and inclusion initiatives and programs.
The steps we are sharing with you today are just a part of our ongoing work. The new faculty attended our very important Deepening the Discussion About Race in August, there are a number of affinity groups across the Middle and Upper Schools, the Organization Chart has been redone and is posted in multiple places, we have expanded the scope of religious and cultural holidays recognized on our school calendar, and our department chairs and faculty continue to evaluate our curriculum to ensure that it is inclusive. We are excited about the deep commitment that our School has to live our Mission.
We will continue to update our Equity & Inclusion page on the website with the initiatives that help ensure that all of our community members feel included and welcomed in our School.
Please read more about our progress below and feel free to contact us with any questions you might have.
Head of School
Co-chair, Committee on Equity & Inclusion
Director of Equity & Inclusion
Co-chair, Committee on Equity & Inclusion
Equity Report: Fall 2021 Update
Committee on Equity & Inclusion (CEI)
In response to the Equity Report recommendations, this faculty leadership team, which was originally constituted in 2009, has expanded in size to 11 members and increased its meeting frequency so that it can address matters of equity, particularly racial inequity, in a more immediate fashion.
Forming the Anti-Racism Advisory Council, which was a recommendation of the Equity Report, has been an important priority. Moving forward, CEI will review observations from the Anti-Racism Advisory Council to help shape school policy and practices on racial equity.
Meet the Committee on Equity & Inclusion:
Courtney Cothran-Fenner, Director of Equity & Inclusion, Co-chair of CEI
Marjo Talbott, Head of School, Co-chair of CEI
Nina Candia, Assistant Director of Upper School
Jaime Estrada, World Languages Department Chair
Liz Kleinrock, Lower School Librarian
Dana Krein, Upper School Humanities Teacher
Jung Lee, Lower School Homeroom Teacher
Krystle Merchant, Director of Community Engagement & Partnerships
Dominic Redd, Director of Middle School
Patrick Scott, Director of Middle School Admission & Social Media
Steven Tejada, Director of Upper School
Anti-Racism Advisory Council (ARAC)
The new Anti-Racism Advisory Council will be made up of 9-10 students, 4 alumni, 3-4 parents, and 6 faculty members. It is charged with working proactively to prevent incidents of racial harm from happening through shared observations about racial equity in the community and making recommendations to CEI. The first meeting of ARAC will be December.
Student Equity Teams
The Equity Report strongly recommended that student voice be incorporated throughout the systems and spaces that are measuring and evaluating equity at Maret. Student equity teams are now being formed in the Middle and Upper Schools. These teams will examine equity in their respective divisions, bringing breadth, depth, and nuance to our understanding of student life and Maret’s culture. Students from these teams will also be selected to sit on the Anti-Racism Advisory Council.
Restorative Practices (RP)
Restorative Practices is the two-part system of meeting protocols that we are using to help us build authentic community (through Community Building Circles) and repair racial harm (through Responsive Circles). This work involves self-reflection, as well as strategies to repair relationships.
At the end of last school year, Middle School students, Upper School students, and faculty chose faculty members they entrusted to be a part of the first RP Team at Maret. Over the summer and into the early fall, these 16 faculty members completed a two-day training with the International Institute of Restorative Practices (IIRP). Their training will continue throughout the year.
Our RP Team has been leading Community Building Circles in our faculty and student meeting spaces, and we will expand the use of these circles across the school this year. The Team is also ready to lead Responsive Circles, when these are requested. Later this year, all members of the faculty will be trained to facilitate community building circles.
System for Reporting Harm
Maret is committed to systematically preventing racial harm and repairing any harm that does occur. To that end, we have drafted a system for reporting racial harm that begins a process for understanding what happened. The system for reporting will go through a comprehensive review process by multiple constituents with multiple lenses at Maret, including School leadership teams, the Anti-Racism Advisory Council, and student equity teams.
Equity and Inclusion Training
Deepening our anti-racist work includes professional development for all faculty and school leaders.
- Martha Haakmat of Haakmat Consulting led an anti-racism and anti-bias training for the Board of Trustees in September. They will lead a similar training for the Alumni Council in December.
- The Wells Collective is delivering engagement and learning opportunities for Maret faculty on topics that lead to equitable and anti-racist schools and that speak to specific recommendations from the Equity Report.
- August 25—Vocabulary and Personal Inventory
- November 17—History of Schools
- February 2—Co-Creating Anti-Racist Classrooms
- March 30—Facilitating Critical Dialogue
- Date TBD—Planning and Accountability for Equity and Justice Work
- Leaders of our faculty working group, A White Anti-Racist Educator (AWARE), attended a week-long iGroup workshop with the San Francisco Coalition of Essential Small Schools (SF-CESS) this summer. There, they completed intense work used to shape and revitalize their anti-racist work as faculty at Maret.
- The Development Team participated in two workshops led by EAB that addressed equity and inclusion in fundraising and events.
- Director of Admission Annie Farquhar took part in the three-day National DIversity Practitioners Institute sponsored by the Glasgow Group, and the entire Admission Office attended an all-day Anti-Bias Symposium run by the Enrollment Management Association.
- The Office of Equity & Inclusion gave presentations on name microaggressions to all faculty and Middle and Upper School students in an effort to address incidents of misnaming in our community, especially of students and faculty of color. Programming is being planned for Lower School students as well. Groups across campus are now working on practicing the suggested strategies to eliminate misnaming. In addition, Director of Technology Jean-Philippe Fontaine and Assistant Head for Student Life Lynn Levinson are spearheading an effort to collect the correct pronunciations of all faculty and student names, which will be added to our directories so that the community has an accurate, easily accessible reference.
- The Office of Equity & Inclusion, the Director of Alumni Giving and Programs Dana Tignor, and others took part in the Racial Literacy Institute’s Training for Equity Facilitators to strengthen their skills in leading discussions on racial equity and antiracist practices.
- In December, Maret’s Office of Equity & Inclusion will lead an anti-bias workshop for all admission interviewers and admission committee members.
- Also in December, five faculty members will attend the National Association for Independent Schools (NAIS) People of Color Conference (PoCC), and five students will attend the NAIS Student Diversity Leadership Conference (SDLC).
The ARTF Report March 2021
Through our listening groups, survey, and @blackatmaret, we heard the call for immediate and real action; in conjunction with SF-CESS, we have identified the areas where work needs to take place. Many of the plans we have going forward will take time to allow for proper training and protocols to ensure we do this work right and in a manner that is lasting. Actions on other recommendations will begin in the next few weeks while some changes are underway already. Making these plans optimal and bias-free will be an ongoing and continuous process, as we are constantly fighting the biases we all bring to the common space of Maret.
Anti-Racism Task Force 2020-2021
In addition to the standing Committee on Equity and Inclusion and the Board of Trustees' Committee on Education and Equity, the School convened a joint Board and faculty Anti-Racism Task Force (ARTF) in June 2020. The Task Force worked through February 2021, sharing a report with the Faculty and Board in February and with the wider community in March.
|Task Force Co-Chairs|
|Ian Cameron||President of the Board of Trustees|
|Courtney Cothran-Fenner||Director of Equity and Inclusion|
|Task Force Members|
|Nina Candia||Assistant Director of US|
|Susan Epps||Assistant Head|
|Allie Levey||Director of College Counseling|
|Krystle Merchant||Director of Community Engagement|
|Clif Morgan||MPA Executive Committee|
|Marjo Talbott||Head of School|
Task Force Consultants
Greg Peters and Camilla Greene, of the San Francisco Coalition of Essential Small Schools (SF-CESS), are well-known consultants who work with many schools to combat racism, prejudice, and hatred. Roughly a decade ago, they, along with Eliza Alexander and Holly Hinderlie, helped Maret create and facilitate Deepening the Discussion about Race, our week-long annual faculty training.
Initiatives in Progress
Overwhelmingly, student voice needs to be incorporated throughout a number of our systems and especially in the spaces that are measuring and evaluating equity at Maret. This will include representation on the Anti-Racism Advisory Council, meetings with the Committee on Equity & Inclusion, and a regular feedback cycle between the student body (beyond Student Council) and the school administration.
Committee for Equity & Inclusion
This leadership team (known as CEI) has actually been in place at Maret for several years. However, with the recommendations from the equity audit, this team of leaders will expand in size, increase its meeting frequency in order to keep urgent issues even more at the forefront, and review recommendations from the Anti-Racism Advisory Council in order to shape school policy on racial equity.
System for Reporting Racial Harm
This is how people in our community can report an instance of racial harm. This could lead to a restorative practice protocol.
This system (a series of small meeting protocols led by faculty facilitators trained in Restorative Practices) will be our way of doing deeper reparative emotional work with students and faculty who are involved in an incident of racial harm. Part of this work involves self-reflection, as well as “making it right.” This does not replace consequences but works in conjunction with consequences.
Systems Needing Anti-Racism Structures
This is a re-examination of our processes in order to make them racially equitable; these systems include the make-up of our leadership, our hiring practices, our evaluation of students, and our relationship-building between faculty and students. This also includes embedding even deeper anti-racist work into our Wellness curriculum, where our identity and equity education currently lives.
Ongoing Professional Development for Faculty
Faculty and, in particular, school leadership should deepen their anti-racist work. School leadership should also make their own work a transparent model for the rest of the faculty. We will regularly update our wider community about the anti-racist steps we are taking in terms of our professional development.
A Racial Reckoning
This would be a large-scale project to codify Maret’s racial narrative and to make it known. This project would: (1) encompass the history of the land upon which Maret sits; (2) acknowledge the Indigenous people and all those who have lived on the land, as well as the seminal leaders of Woodley home and the School; (3) research the legacy of their identities and the narratives over time from across the breadth of our community; (4) identify changes in school demographics, achievements, and evolution of policies; and (5) publicly acknowledge and take responsibility for racial harm. We have begun working with faculty and students of the Woodley Historical Society to begin to process how we would complete this.
Anti-Racism Advisory Council
This is a body of individuals in our community (students, faculty, families, and alumni) who will work to proactively prevent incidents of racial harm from happening through shared observations about racial equity in the community.
Anti-Racist Expectations for Faculty
We must create a set of baseline expectations for faculty as anti-racist representatives of Maret. This would include such elements as hiring, advising, teaching, collaboration, and evaluation. This would be part of a comprehensive program to prevent racial harm.
Anti-Racist Curriculum for Families
The school should develop a framework for teaching anti-racist practices to the parent, guardian, and caregiver community so that they will be aligned. This would be another component of the program to prevent racial harm.
In conjunction with individual racial identity work and racial identity work within affinity groups, there should be increased opportunities for across- difference work between affinity groups. This would also be a component of the program to prevent racial harm.
Black Student Leadership
A direct quotation from the consulting firm is that “Maret should disproportionately elevate Black student voices and leadership in areas that matter most, as this equity audit is in response to the reality of @blackatmaret.” This would be a part of our ongoing anti-racist leadership development, which includes student leadership.
Office of Equity and Inclusion
The Office of Equity and Inclusion works to support faculty in their equity practices, both pedagogically and systemically. They provide resources, facilitate equity-based discussions, support teachers in lesson planning, and deliver professional learning to our faculty. The office is staffed by Director of Equity & Inclusion Mich Black, Assistant Director of Upper School Nina Candia, 7th Grade Dean Jua Fluellen, and Director of Middle School Admission & Social Media Patrick Scott.
Board Committee on Education and Equity
The Education and Equity Committee of the Board is responsible for ensuring that the School is building an equitable and inclusive learning community. This includes reviewing Maret’s educational programs to make sure that they are consistent with and meet the high standards of the mission of the School. The Committee also ensures that the Board has in place policies and procedures that promote the principles of equity and inclusion in general and within the academic and co-curricular programs at Maret. The Committee reports to the Board about the nature, direction, and needs of the School’s educational programs and helps cultivate an appreciation for the broad diversity of the School.
Office of Equity & Inclusion
Every year we have a full calendar of events, discussion groups, workshops. Together, we learn, grow, and take action to promote equity and inclusion in our school and in our communities.
K-12 National Coming Out Day
In the fall, Maret honors National Coming Out Day by celebrating the LGBTQIA members of our community (students, faculty, parents, alumni). The day often includes chalking the sidewalks around campus with names of famous LGBTQIA people, an assembly in which we invite members of our own community to share their stories, and a photo exhibit for members of our community to share their personal connections to the LGBTQ community.
Lower School Culture Club and Affinity Groups
Culture Club is an after-school activity. Each session is led by a member of the Maret community who shares their cultural traditions through food, games, music, dance, crafts, and/ or other activities. The club’s members acknowledge and celebrate the differences among various cultures while also recognizing the aspects that connect us as people.
African American / Black Affinity
Latinx/a/o and Hispanic Heritage
Middle Eastern Affinity
New Student Affinity
Middle School Affinity Groups
Middle school affinity groups are initiated by students, and middle schoolers can opt to join based on their personal racial identity. The groups meet during lunch to discuss issues and concerns that are specific to them—both issues from the larger community and issues students feel are important to their experiences at Maret. Students benefit from these affinity groups by having a safe place to share, connect, and collaborate with peers of a shared racial identity. Middle School Affinity Groups include:
Bi-racial / Multiracial Affinity
Middle Eastern / North African Affinity
The Middle School also has a White Anti-Racist Allies (WARA) group. It isn't an affinity group, rather a working group focused on education and action.
Upper School Affinity Groups
Upper School affinity groups provide a space for reflection, dialogue, and support for students who share a racial or ethnic identity. Participation in affinity groups is voluntary. Affinity groups help facilitate positive identity exploration and provide a space for affirmation and development towards a larger goal of creating an inclusive and thriving school culture. Upper School Affinity Groups include:
Black Girl Magic
Black Student Union
Handsome Black Men Affinity
Middle Eastern Affinity
South Asian Affinity
Unique Family Structure Affinity
Upper School Diversity at Maret (DAM)
Upper School Diversity at Maret (DAM) promotes diversity awareness, focusing on the identifiers of race, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation, ability, gender, socioeconomic status, and age. DAM provides an arena for open discussion and includes the School community in numerous activities to ensure that every voice is heard and every difference celebrated.
Upper School Queer-Straight Alliance
The Queer-Straight Alliance (QSA) is a student-run club whose purpose is to build alliances between students who fall along a variety of positions on the sexual- and gender- spectrums. Their mission is to help create a well-informed, welcoming, and empowered student body. They raise awareness of current social issues, encourage cross-difference dialogue, and provide leadership for school-sponsored events, such as National Coming Out Day and Day of Silence.
The Davies Exposure and Enrichment Program (DEEP)
The Davies Exposure and Enrichment Program (DEEP) invites incoming ninth grade students to participate in an introduction to the study skills and habits needed to excel in Maret’s challenging, college-preparatory program. Students work with Maret faculty in small group settings, reviewing concepts in humanities, mathematics, and science. They learn strategies in critical thinking, self-advocacy, and technology to prepare for the coming school year. All ninth graders new to Maret are invited to attend.
NAIS Student Diversity Leadership Conference
Each year, Maret students attend this multiracial and multicultural gathering of upper school student leaders. Students learn cross-cultural communication skills, the foundations of allyship, networking principles, and elements of social justice practice. The conference’s small “family groups” provide a safe place to reflect and discuss issues of race and identity, as well as networking opportunities to connect with other students.
Sexual Assault Summit
Each year, a group of Maret Upper School students spend a Saturday attending Georgetown Day School's Sexual Assault Summit. Students attend workshops to learn how to dismantle the systems of gender oppression that often lead to sexual assault; additionally, they hear stories from sexual assault survivors. They take what they've learned and share with the Upper School community, as well as take actionable steps toward making Maret a more equitable and safe place for all genders.
Deepening the Discussion About Race
At the beginning of each school year, new faculty participate in the week-long Deepening the Discussion About Race workshop designed to develop a greater awareness of how race shapes their leadership at Maret. They examine the history and context of race and racism in our country, our city, and on our campus. Together, they develop a common language, a shared framework, and a set of tools to benefit their students.
During the week participants develop a greater awareness of how race shapes their leadership at Maret as well as an understanding of the history and context around race and racism in our country, in Washington, and at Maret. Participants examine definitions of racism, oppression, and white privilege and explore how this is ingrained at Maret. Together, faculty develops common language, a shared framework, and set of tools that will positively impact their students.
The workshop began in 2012, and to date, 100% of our faculty have completed the workshop.
- "I realized this work about race is part head and part heart, and without both you're not completing the picture."
- "I always assumed and feared [that] white people would dismiss my concerns as me being too ‘sensitive.’ I was surprised, elated, and moved to know that my white colleagues and I could have this conversation, and it wouldn’t end with me in tears."
- "It’s one thing to pay lip service to the idea of being an inclusive and equitable community. It's another to be in a room with people for eight hours daily for five days with people from different backgrounds working towards that end. It's empowering.”
- "It’s scary. It’s emotionally exhausting. It’s a great way to start having thought-provoking, tough conversations about race, difference, what we want for ourselves professionally, personally, and for our students."
Equity Learning Groups (ELGs)
Equity Learning Groups are the community-wide follow-up work to Deepening the Discussion About Race. ELGs directly address teacher pedagogy by:
- having teachers work to build authentically trusting relationships with each student;
- reducing the predictability of failure and success among students;
- disrupting repetitive practices that tend to negatively impact students from marginalized groups; and
- cultivating the unique gifts and talents of every student (adapted from Zaretta Hammond).
Teaching faculty are also engaging in work around equitable assessments in order to make evaluation of student progress as accurate, as motivational, and as bias-free as possible (adapted from Joe Feldman).
Faculty Affinity Groups
Faculty Affinity Groups encourage building community and provide a safe space for all participants to identify salient issues and common concerns through dialogue; bring about affirmation, connection, and empowerment; and come together to promote and prepare for cross-cultural dialogue with other affinity groups. (from NAIS).
Black Faculty Affinity
East Asian Faculty Affinity
Faculty with Parents Suffering from Dementia
Middle Eastern Faculty Affinity
LQBTQIA+ Faculty Affinity
While not an affinity group, the A White Anti-Racist Educator (AWARE) working group meets in affinity to pursue further education and take meaningful action toward a more inclusive and equitable school community.
NAIS People of Color Conference
Each year, Maret faculty attend this conference, which works to effect change in schools and in the world, while promoting self-discovery and personal enrichment. The conference’s small affinity groups provide a safe place to reflect and discuss issues of race and identity, as well as networking opportunities to connect with other educators and DEIJ leaders. Maret faculty members attend workshops focused on curriculum, leadership, and building inclusive communities that are led by expert practitioners at independent schools nationwide.
Parent & Community Programs
Meet, Eat, and Greet
An annual welcome reception for parents/ and guardians of students of color.
Parent Affinity Groups
Affinity groups gather in order to encourage community building; provide a safe space for all participants to identify salient issues and common concerns through dialogue; bring about affirmation, connection, and empowerment; and collectively promote and prepare for cross-cultural dialogue with other affinity groups.
- Asian/Pacific Islander Parents at Maret (API@M)
- Black Parents at Maret (BPAM)
- Jewish Parent Affinity
- Latino/x Affinity Group of Maret (LAGM)
- White Anti-Racist Working Group
Mixed Forum generates discussion among Upper School students, parents, and faculty from all divisions on compelling topics, for example:
- The film “Race to Nowhere” by Vicki Abeles
- Let’s Talk Family Diversity At Maret: Creating a Welcoming School Community for Families with Gay and Lesbian Parents
- Free Speech vs. The Language Police: A Town Meeting on Political Correctness in American Society
- Rebuilding New Orleans
- The Sexualization of Society: Pushing Boundaries or Crossing the Line
- Equality for All? Reality or Dream? Looking Critically at the Issues of Race and Sexual Orientation in America
- The Clash of Religious Liberty and Civil Rights
Horizons Greater Washington
Maret is proud to have piloted the now multi-school Horizons program. Started more than a decade ago, Horizons' six-week summer enrichment program and school-year Saturdays help a diverse group of K-8 children from low-income families to develop a lifelong interest in learning, advance academic gains over the summer, and improve achievement in school. Learn More
In addition to planned programming, professional development, and our work towards meeting institutional anti-racism goals, Maret remains responsive to issues as they arise in our community and in society at large. Below, we share resources on topics we have been addressing with students, faculty, and parents.
We believe that what we are called matters; what we call others matters.
Understanding and Confronting Anti-Semitism
Our community stands against anti-Semitism and seeks to confront and end all forms of it.
End Violence Against Asians and Asian-Elders
Recent events underscore the urgency of disrupting hate and bias against Asians and Pacific Islanders.
Addressing Antisemitism | March 20, 2023
The world is experiencing a rising tide of antisemitism. The Metro DC area has not been spared, with numerous incidents reported this winter.
It saddens me to report antisemitic incidents – including ethnic slurs and Nazi symbols – in each of our three Divisions over the past year. When these situations come to our attention, we immediately investigate and respond swiftly and directly. We work with children and their parents to seek a path for education and restoration, as well as impose age-appropriate discipline, including suspensions. Our general policy is not to share the details and preserve confidentiality. In some cases, those who have been harmed specifically asked for such discretion.
However, isolated incidents, when viewed together over time, begin to form a pattern that cannot be ignored and must be addressed. It is alarming that some members of our community do not understand that antisemitic behavior, like other forms of hate, is absolutely unacceptable. Clearly, we have more work to do to harness the power of empathy and education to avoid this kind of harm to any group. We stand in solidarity with our Jewish community and all of its members.
Let me be clear: Maret will continue the work of creating community based on our shared Mission and Core Values. I ask all of you to join in acts of leadership by speaking out and pushing back against antisemitism, racism, and all acts of hate.
During our Middle and Upper School convocations today, we reiterated these messages.
If you have any thoughts or suggestions, please either contact me directly or reach out to Michelle Black, Director of Equity & Inclusion.
- Resources and Tools for Addressing Antisemitism, Intolerance, & Bias from the Jewish Federation of Greater Washington
- A collection of articles from Facing History and Ourselves
- Resources to Address and Challenge Antisemitism from the Anti Defamation League
- Checking in on Family and Friends
- Resources for Talking about the News and Traumatic Events with Children and Youth
Checking in on Family and Friends
In times of crisis that may affect a marginalized group of people, you may have a deep desire to check on your friends, acquaintances, or colleagues who share that group's identity. Here are a few things that are helpful to remember about how to have those conversations:
- If a person does not want to engage in the conversation, you should respect their wishes and end the conversation. People are experiencing many emotions—anxiety, fear, hopelessness, rage, sadness, and unnameable feelings. Not everyone is in an emotional position to share or wants to share outside of racial affinity.
- If a person does want to engage, listen attentively and wholeheartedly. Do not make the conversation about yourself or say, “Yeah, I can relate...” or “Something similar happened to me when…” Instead, sit in the discomfort of what is being shared with you. If the person trusts you enough to open up, you should be brave enough to listen to what they say.
- If you are someone who is not from the marginalized group and want to talk about your feelings, historical racism, xenophobia, racial injustice, or any related topic, do not seek people from the identity group in crisis for this but do talk to other friends or adults whom you trust.
Resources for Talking about the News and Traumatic Events with Children and Youth
Helping Children Cope with Frightening News
Child Mind Institute
Helping Children Cope After a Traumatic Event
Child Mind Institute
Explaining the News to Our Kids
Common Sense Media
Talking to Children About Violence: Tips for Parents and Teachers
National Association of School Psychologists