We are Listening - Our Next Steps for Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Anti-Racism


Learn more about Maryvale's Diversity and Inclusion work here.

The following letter was sent to the Maryvale community on June 20, 2020:

Dear Members of the Maryvale Community,

Last week, Maryvale hosted a meeting for Black Alumnae to bring together our community, listen to each other and discuss meaningful ways we can make Maryvale a more inclusive experience. More than 35 women, representing the Classes of 1971 to 2020, offered perspectives. We were inspired by their candor and their passion to evolve Maryvale's Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Anti-Racism Initiatives. We are listening and we are making changes

We recognize now that our efforts to foster diversity and inclusion at Maryvale have not been enough. We stand in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement and we are committed to reflecting our Catholic values of anti-racism and social justice in all facets of the Maryvale experience. 

Our pledge to you is to create a comprehensive Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Anti-Racism program that is actionable and measurable to address changes needed within our institution. Our first six months will be focused on action items related to training and education, curriculum and procedural updates, the creation of affinity groups and policy improvements. We have a goal to formalize this program and begin implementation by Aug. 31.  

We are taking immediate steps to:

  • Convene the Board of Trustees on July 29 to set specific diversity, equity and inclusion goals for our entire Maryvale community, which will be included in our 2020-2022 Strategic Plan. 
  • Provide Summer 2020 Professional Development & Training on racial equity and inclusion for faculty, staff and our Board of Trustees.
  • Make updates to the Fall 2020-21 curriculum.
  • Facilitate open discussions around racial identity, equity and white privilege through the creation of affinity groups for students, parents, faculty and alumnae.

We will continue to update our website with more details on some of the initiatives we currently have in place. 

If you would like to sign up to receive regular updates about this and upcoming events and announcements in support of racial equity, allyship and our ongoing Diversity, Inclusion, Equity and Anti-Racism initiatives, please email Colleen Rives at rivesc@maryvale.com.

Creating an inclusive and equitable Maryvale community requires reflection, commitment, and deliberate action. We are committed to ensuring everyone who engages with Maryvale - whether you are a student, a family member, a teacher or an alumna - feels respected at all times. 

We look forward to more conversations and sharing measurable plans with you in the coming month. As always, please reach out to me at fordt@maryvale.com if you have any concerns or questions.

We are listening! 

Tracey/Mrs. Ford

President

SUPPORT: ALUMNAE SUPPORTING CURRENT STUDENTS

In support of their classmates and friends, many Alumnae will be Allies for our current students. The first in a series of meetings to bring the Allies together will be scheduled for early July and details will be communicated in advance. If you would like to sign up to receive regular updates about this and upcoming events and announcements in support of racial equity, allyship and our ongoing Diversity, Inclusion, Equity and Anti-Racism initiatives, please email rivesc@maryvale.com.

EDUCATION AND CURRICULUM ON RACIAL EQUITY

Summer 2020 Professional Development & Training for Faculty and Staff

Faculty and staff will participate in 3-3.5 hours of instructional time and at least two summer discussion group meetings. The Professional Development selections will include:

  1. Healing the Racial Water: a half-day Anti-Racist workshop with Dr. Robin DiAngelo
  2. Uplifting Women and Girls of Color Through Antiracist Pedagogy, Practice, and Policies
  3. Teaching, Loving, and Believing in Black Girls 
  4. Identity, Race and the Classroom
  5. Navigating Difficult Conversations: Building Trust
  6. Let’s Talk! Discussing Race, Racism and Other Difficult Topics With Students

2020-2021 Curriculum Changes

Beginning in the 2020-2021 school year, Maryvale’s Social Studies curriculum will include The Choices Program, which draws on scholarship conducted at Brown University and beyond to produce innovative curriculum and videos that make contested international current and historical events accessible, engaging and relevant to secondary school audiences. 

Our current World Religion course, which is a required class for seniors, will be expanded to include World Religions II. This course studies various lesser known religions practiced throughout the world. Students will gain a deeper understanding of their own faith while appreciating the belief system of others.

Anti-Racism Educational Resources

Maryvale faculty participate in our annual “Summer Reading List” program where they are assigned discussion groups upon our return to school. Among the recent titles our staff are required to read:

  • Why are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria by Beverly Daniel Tatum, Ph.D
  • Becoming by Michelle Obama
  • Not in My Neighborhood: How Bigotry Shaped a Great American City by Antero Pietila
  • Waking Up White and Finding Myself in the Story of Race by Debby Irving

Guest Speakers 

Over the past several years, renowned speakers visit Maryvale to share their perspectives of the world with students, faculty and trustees. We welcomed the following speakers in the past and plan to expand this speaker series in the future. 

  • Dr. Howard Stevenson, Constance Clayton Professor of Urban Education, University of Pennsylvania, a national expert on how racial stress and trauma can affect every stage of life.
  • Rosetta Lee, Educator and Diversity Consultant, Seattle Girls’ School, whose classroom expertise includes facilitation skills, anti-bullying, and empowerment for all students.
  • Jen Cort, Educational Consultant on equity, diversity, inclusion and justice work, whose training and experience was most recently utilized with our Middle School students this winter.
  • Johnnie Foreman, Director of Community and Diversity at Gilman School and one of the first professionals to begin this work in Baltimore area schools, who conducted training for the Leadership Team and presentations for our Board of Trustees.

We continue to look for new speakers. If you or someone you know should be part of our series, please let us know. We welcome speakers of all backgrounds to share their unique experiences and perspectives.

NAIS People of Color Conference

For the past three years, Maryvale has sent a cohort of administrators and faculty to the National Association of Independent School’s (NAIS) People of Color Conference. Students attend as a part of the Student Diversity Leadership Conference. These experiences challenge our thinking and our perspectives. We plan to continue to send faculty, so that we can continue to listen, learn and grow as a community.

CREATING AN INCLUSIVE COMMUNITY

Director of Diversity & Inclusion

Since 2013, a Director of Diversity and Inclusion has been a member of the school’s Leadership Team. Current Director Kalea Selmon is an active member of the administration, a direct contact for students and families of color, and a leader in diversity programming for the Association of Independent Maryland Schools (AIMS) and the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur Student leadership Conference. Kalea has an open door policy and welcomes any comments or concerns from our Maryvale Community. Reach out to her directly at selmonk@maryvale.com

Student Affinity Groups 

In 2019, Maryvale student organizations created a Black Student Union and Asian Student Union. These Unions provide a space for students of shared affinities to come together in an environment where they make up the majority, discuss shared experiences and build a network for mutual support.