At Holy Child, our students are taught to value diversity and become active participants in a global world as "women of conscience and action.” As an educational and spiritual community, Holy Child strives to establish and maintain a culture that welcomes and nurtures individuals from diverse backgrounds and experiences, as we believe this will encourage a respectful and rich intellectual environment. As a s, we actively embrace differences in age, ethnicity, gender, learning style, physical ability, race, religion, sexual orientation and socioeconomic class. We seek to create a community that reflects diversity in the student body, faculty and administration.
To promote diversity, Holy Child’s administration, faculty, staff and students actively engage in a number of programs thoughout the school year. These include:
CAMBIAS: This student-centered diversity club works within the School and in the broader community to raise awareness and promote cultural exchange and dialogue.
People of Color Conference (POCC): Holy Child students and faculty attend this annual celebration of diversity, and students are encouraged to bring what they have learned and experienced back to the larger Holy Child community.
Global Gatherings: This biannual celebration of diversity at Holy Child brings together families of color to talk about diversity at the School, raise important issues and discuss ways the School could better foster and nurture families and students with diverse backgrounds and experiences.
Community Conversations: Community Conversations offer opportunities for students and faculty to view, read, reflect and discuss topics related to cultural identifiers as a way of implementing diversity initiatives at the School.
For more information, please contact Diversity Coordinator Monique Gordon-Anefal at 914-967-5622 x205 or firstname.lastname@example.org. The Diversity Coordinator supports the School’s mission to create and sustain an inclusive community which ensures that all students, faculty and staff feel supported and valued; the coordinator facilitates Holy Child’s diversity programming and committee work. School of the Holy Child actively recruits faculty, staff and administration of diversity through participation in diversity recruitment fairs, as well as through its association with the Independent School Diversity Network (ISDN).
What is the Big IDEA?
- Colleen Pettus, Head of the Middle School
Every two weeks after school, a group of faculty and staff members gather together to talk about our girls, our wider community and ways to build both connections and appreciation for our differences. The Diversity Committee has been steadfast in its commitment to guide the school in its promotion and celebration of diversity, while supporting our mission to develop women of conscience and action. While our objective endures, our work, and name, has evolved.
During one of our conversations, we were hit with a big idea. We realized that as we address diversity-related issues, we also reflect on inclusion, equity and advocacy – many different IDEAs. We decided to rename our committee to better reflect our mindset and collective work. Referring to ourselves as the IDEA Committee breathed a new life and spirit into our conversations. We were full of new ideas and eager to share them.
Similar to the members of the committee, the IDEAs we planned throughout the year are varied, yet interconnected:
- We used film as a critical lens to explore topics related to IDEAs - Crash in the tenth through twelfth grades, The Human Experience for grade nine and Mad Hot Ballroom in the Middle School.
- To extend the film viewing, the girls and faculty had a second opportunity to review a pivotal clip from Crash in order to dig deeper into our awareness of personal biases and prejudice.
- Spanish teacher, Mr. Caba, shared his Dominican culture and community with the middle school students as a follow up to Mad Hot Ballroom. In addition to being a teacher, Gerry is also a professional salsa dancer. To complete the film experience, he led the girls and members of the staff in a salsa dance lesson in the Field House!
- English Teacher and Student Diversity Coordinator, Mr. Gonzalez, hosts voluntary weekly lunches with the girls. “Topic Tuesdays” in the Upper School and “Food for Thought” in the Middle School allow the girls to question, share insights and connect over current issues. They have discussed the worldwide refugee crisis, the aftermath of the Paris bombings and have posed the question, “Is gentrification good?”
- For our Professional Development Day in January, we invited the Director of Diversity and Professional Development at Greenwich Academy, Ms. Gloria Fernandez-Tearte, to speak with the entire staff about the importance of IDEA work.
- We expanded on Ms. Tearte’s presentation by sharing her “cultural iceberg” activity with the girls. They were able to reflect on all of their qualities and identifiers – those that are easily recognizable (the part of the iceberg that is visible above the water) and those that may be hidden (the iceberg that is under the water).
- To celebrate the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., a group of staff and students from all grades shared Dr. King’s legacy through prayer, history and technology.
- During Black History Month, the girls chose Black Americans to research. They presented their findings at numerous All School Meetings.
- As we do each year, the school sent two Upper School girls and two faculty members to the annual NAIS sponsored Student Diversity Leadership Conference and People Of Color Conference. The students presented their experience to the IDEA committee and shared their common interest in talking about ability, learning differences and gender-related topics.
Our school’s exploration of IDEAs is not limited to the work of this committee. Within the context of the curriculum, our girls are living out our mission to be “prepared for the innovative and critical thought necessary in a diverse, interconnected society.” For example, last year’s junior retreat included a visit to the Interfaith Center in New York City and two different mosques. In the sixth grade, the girls participated in Japanese School Day where they followed the customs of Japanese school children and learned about Japanese art from a current parent. The entire community works collaboratively on IDEAs that further our mission.