Equity and Inclusion clone
Equity and inclusion are at the center of all that we do here 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.
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.
[Headshots of two members of team—typically pulled in from Veracross]
Director of Equity & Inclusion
Lower School Librarian
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.
David Hall, Chair
Director of Equity and Inclusion
Assistant Head of School: Curriculum Development
Committee on Equity and Inclusion (CEI)
The Work of the Committee
- To be a forum in which equity issues in the community (i.e., parents, faculty, and students) are processed
- To plan equity and inclusion programming in each division
- To ensure substantive professional development related to equity and inclusion for Maret faculty
- To provide programming for our parents on equity and inclusion
- To support forums for open and sustained dialogue on equity and inclusion in the Maret community
- To monitor the progress made on Strategic Directions
- To work with the Anti-Racism Advisory Council in order to improve campus life
- With the Board Committee on Education and Equity, to monitor the progress made on recommendations of the Anti-Racism Task Force
Courtney Cothran-Fenner, Co-chair
Director of Equity and Inclusion
Marjo Talbott, Co-chair
Head of School
Assistant Director of Upper School
World Languages Department Chair
Lower School Librarian
Third Grade Homeroom Teacher
Director of Community Engagement & Partnerships
Director of Middle School
Director of Middle School Admissions & Social Media
Director of Upper School
Events across the country, as well as stories within our own community, have called us to set higher standard of inclusion and engagement. In 2020-2021, Maret convened the Anti-Racism Task Force (ARTF), which produced a report [LINK] 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.
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ANTI-RACISM TASK FORCE (ARTF) 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
President of the Board of Trustees
Director of Equity and Inclusion
Task Force Members
Assistant Director of US
Director of College Counseling
Director of Community Engagement
MPA Executive Committee
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.
THE ARTF REPORT
Report Recommendation Summary
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.
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.
Action and Current Events
Antisemitism and related hate crimes are on the rise in the US. In accordance with Maret's mission and core values, our community stands against anti-Semitism and seeks to confront and end all forms of it. Click on the link below to find resources.
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ENDING ANTI-ASIAN VIOLENCE
Since the outbreak of the pandemic, people who identify as Asian American or Pacific Islander have been the targets of racist comments and actions. A recent uptick in violence in the winter and the shootings in Atlanta underscore the urgency of disrupting and addressing hate and bias. Click on the links below to find resources for ending anti-Asian violence:
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The PBS television series "Asian Americans" premiered during Asian Pacific American Heritage Month in May 2020 and chronicles the Asian American story in the United States. Told through individual lives and personal histories, "Asian Americans" explores the impact of this group on the country’s past, present, and future.
ADDITIONAL RESOURCES [Accordion]
Anti-Racist Resources in Response to COVID-19 Bigotry
Countering COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Stigma and Racism: Tips for Parents and Caregivers —National Association for School Psychologists
Speaking Up Against Racism Around the New Coronavirus—Teaching for Justice
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
How to Help Children and Youth Process the Capitol Insurrection
Spark and Stitch Institute
Teaching Resources to Help Students Make Sense of the Rampage at the Capitol
The New York Times and a variety of educational organizations
Leading Conversations After Crisis
STUDENT PROGRAMS [Currently an accordion]
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
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.
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:
Middle Eastern 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.
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.
FACULTY PROGRAMS [Currently an accordion]
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 colleague 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:
1. having teachers work to build authentically trusting relationships with each student;
2. reducing the predictability of failure and success among students;
3. disrupting repetitive practices that tend to negatively impact students from marginalized groups; and
4. 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.
COMMUNITY PROGRAMS [Currently an accordion]
Meet, Eat, and Greet
An annual welcome reception for parents/ and guardians of students of color.
Co-sponsored by Diversity at Maret (DAM) and the Maret Parents Association (MPA) Diversity Committee, the Mixed Forum generates discussion among Upper School students, parents, and faculty from all division on compelling topics, for example:
- The Clash of Religious Liberty and Civil Rights
- 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
- 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
- Free Speech vs. The Language Police: A Town Meeting on Political Correctness in American Society
- Rebuilding New Orleans
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.
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 [LINK]
These pictures under resources are images that correspond to a few of the student and community programs mentioned. (Ignore the first one of food!) We are narrowing down the images and writing captions—was thinking it good slide show using the new BPA. If you could figure out where to place the element, we can then add the content.