Does Providence Day have a strong and healthy organizational climate for diversity, multiculturalism, equity, and justice? In order to answer that question, the school undertook the Assessment of Inclusivity and Multiculturalism survey in 2018-19 in partnership with the National Association of Independent Schools.
The overall results found that Providence Day met or exceeded the performance of its peer schools in many key measures.
Among the results:
- Eighty-two percent of respondents rated overall school morale as excellent or very good;
- Seventy-two percent agreed that they are satisfied with PD’s multiculturalism;
- Seventy-five percent agreed that they are satisfied with the school’s inclusiveness;
- In all three areas, Providence Day’s mean survey score matched or exceeded the mean for all independent schools who had taken the survey. Of the more than 1,900 member schools in NAIS, 66 had voluntarily undertaken the survey to create the benchmark.
The survey measured responses from students, with a 92 percent participation rate, along with faculty, staff, trustees, administrators, parents, and alumni.
Among the strengths identified in the survey’s findings:
- The administration, faculty, and staff show respect for one another, and those with differing views;
- Providence Day is known for its strong sense of community and pride;
- The PD community places a high priority on ensuring all have access, and on integrating inclusiveness and multiculturalism into the community; and
- The school has identified significant progress on diversity initiatives in recent years. Among the successes are a diversified pool of faculty job candidates; a TK-12 team that ensures consistent programming; an expanded and integrated multicultural and global curriculum through the rollout of the PD Passport; the hiring and placement of Freedom School Fellows each year; expanded affinity and multicultural groups; and the establishment of a comprehensive plan for understanding and supporting gender and sexuality diversity.
The survey’s function was also to identify the areas of highest priority concern. Generally, when rated on a scale of 1 to 5, “high priority” meant respondents answered with a mean of 3.49 or lower. These were the key takeaways from survey responses:
- Preventing Feelings of Exclusion
- Respondents want to see the school take steps to ensure all students feel valued and included, regardless of their differences and ability; continue to cultivate an environment where faculty feel that they can be open and honest with parents and guardians; and ensure that historically underrepresented minorities feel valued and that they are treated equitably.
- Continuing Institutional Growth
- Responses indicated that work must continue to increase diversity in all facets of the school; the school should work to integrate multiculturalism in every aspect of the curriculum; and ensure the responsibility of equity and inclusion is shared among all members of the community.
The National Association of Independent Schools made recommendations from the findings, including:
- The school should continue to foster an understanding among administrators, faculty, and staff that incorporating diversity throughout a school is important to the excellence of the education the school provides;
- The school should continue to emphasize an active approach to inclusivity and multiculturalism through systemic change; and
- Leadership should work to continue to educate our community on identity development.
School leadership, including Dr. Glyn Cowlishaw, Head of School, and Nadia Johnson, Director of Equity & Inclusion, will combine the survey findings along with the goals from the Southern Association of Independent Schools accreditation process and the strategic planning process occurring throughout fall 2019 and spring 2020 to create a new Strategic Vision for Equity and Inclusion and action plan.
For more about Providence Day’s equity and inclusion initiatives, visit www.providenceday.org/about/equityand-inclusion or follow @PDSInclusion on Twitter or @PDInclusion on Instagram.
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