Diversity and Inclusion

“We must have courage in the times we live in. Great souls are needed, souls having the interests of God at heart.” - St. Julie Billiart, Foundress, Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur

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


June 19, 2020

In Honor of Juneteenth

These resources will help you learn more about Juneteenth, America's second Independence Day:

Today, June 19, 2020 is Juneteenth, a day that is considered a second “Independence Day.” Juneteenth is a holiday that commemorates the June 19, 1865 announcement of the abolition of slavery in Texas and the emancipation of Black slaves throughout the Confederate South. This Emancipation did not finally come until General Gordon Granger rode into Galveston, Texas and issued General Order No. 3, almost two and a half years after President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation.

Although we cannot honor and celebrate Juneteenth together, we hope that you will take some time to pray this prayer sent from Sherita Thomas, Interim Director of the Office of Black Catholic Ministry for the Archdiocese of Baltimore and read and watch some of the articles and news clips below. There is also an abundance of information in other sources about Juneteenth and we encourage you to do some of your own research.

Enjoy this beautiful day, reflect on its meaning, and know that we miss you dearly.

Mrs. Ford, Mrs. Nicholas, Ms. Selmon and Dr. Shin

History of Juneteenth and why it's important

So you Want to Learn about Juneteenth? - The New York Times

What is Juneteenth? by Henry Louis Gates Jr.

What to know about Juneteenth, the emancipation holiday

Teaching Juneteenth


June 18, 2020

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


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.


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.


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.

The following letter was sent to the Maryvale community on May 30, 2020:

Dear Members of the Maryvale Community,

In the midst of the pandemic which has impacted virtually every aspect of what was life as each of it knew it, I did not expect that there would be yet another grief that would be inflicted, a singular death, in a time of countless deaths. Yet, there it was this week. This victim, George Floyd, did not die from COVID-19 but from another deadly strain - racism - this time filmed in real time, for the world to watch.

This morning, I write to you with sadness and frustration amidst the senseless incidences of racism that Black citizens in this country continue to experience. Talking with my daughter in Denver and family and friends in Baltimore, I have spent time over these past few days trying to process this death. I am listening to and learning from Black people and determining what it means for me to stand an as ally with those who do not have the same privileges as I.

I want to express my deep empathy for and compassion toward the members of the Black community at Maryvale: students, faculty, staff, alumnae, parents and families. I can only imagine how you feel as you consume the images and headlines on the news and social media. To our Black students, on behalf of the administration and your teachers, please know that we are committed to making our school community a place where you can be seen, heard and safe.

Keeping with the mission of the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur, Maryvale is committed to the work of social justice and anti-racism. We do not tolerate racism and we will continue to speak against actions that are rooted in racial bias and cause harm to members of our community.

As we seek to develop young female leaders, it is essential that we prepare all of our students to be change agents in this unjust world. We understand that making sure students are prepared to confront racial inequity is a critical part of our work as educators. And we ask our parents to partner with us by helping our students to process this recent event.

The world we live in continues to be more complicated. As we navigate these difficult and unprecedented times, we must continue to center love and respect for others. Your continued partnership, as Maryvale continues its journey to become a more inclusive community, is needed now more than ever.

In hopes for a brighter future,

Tracey H. Ford


There are many resources on this topic that are available. Here is a sampling of some of those resources:

Articles to read:

Videos to watch:

Podcasts to subscribe to:

Books to read:

Films and TV series to watch:

  • 13th (Ava DuVernay) — Netflix
  • American Son (Kenny Leon) — Netflix
  • Black Power Mixtape: 1967-1975 — Available to rent
  • Clemency (Chinonye Chukwu) — Available to rent
  • Dear White People (Justin Simien) — Netflix
  • Fruitvale Station (Ryan Coogler) — Available to rent
  • I Am Not Your Negro (James Baldwin doc) — Available to rent or on Kanopy
  • If Beale Street Could Talk (Barry Jenkins) — Hulu
  • Just Mercy (Destin Daniel Cretton) — Available to rent
  • King In The Wilderness — HBO
  • Little Fires Everywhere — Hulu
  • See You Yesterday (Stefon Bristol) — Netflix
  • Selma (Ava DuVernay) — Available to rent
  • The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution — Available to rent
  • The Hate U Give (George Tillman Jr.) — Hulu with Cinemax
  • When They See Us (Ava DuVernay) — Netflix

Resources for white parents to raise anti-racist children:

Organizations to follow on social media:

More anti-racism resources to check out:

Approved by Maryvale's Board of Trustees on June 30, 2019.

Inspired by the Hallmarks of the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur, Maryvale Preparatory School is dedicated to building and advancing a respectful and compassionate culture that embraces diversity, equity, justice and inclusion.

We believe that our diversity is reflected in many facets among individuals including, but not limited to, race, ethnicity, national origin, religious belief, gender, age, sexual orientation, socio-economic background, learning style and ability. The Maryvale Board of Trustees, students, families, employees and alumnae celebrate and honor the diverse gifts that God bestows upon each person.

The Maryvale community is enriched and strengthened when all are able to act willingly, share openly and live securely without fear of judgment, ridicule or prejudice. We trust that the comprehensive experiences of a Maryvale education will enable students, as well as the members of the broader community, to value themselves and the dignity of others as leaders in a global community.