Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Update
Come as you are
Kingswood Oxford strives to create and build a culture that uplifts and celebrates every person no matter who they are or how they identify themselves. We believe that we are a smarter and better community when we recognize the beauty of our diversity and educate ourselves on multiple perspectives in our curriculum and programs.
We continue collaborating with all community members on our ongoing efforts to create a more inclusive KO.
The Board of Trustees has formed a permanent Board Committee on Equity and Inclusion chaired by trustee and KO alum Doug Harris ’77. Harris is the CEO of Kaleidoscope Group, a full-service diversity and inclusion consulting firm with over 30 years of experience as a diversity and inclusion consultant.
Doug Harris ’77, Chair
Karen Diaz-Meaike, P ’19, ’22
Tom Dillow, Head of School, P ‘21, ’22, ’26
Donique McIntosh, Director of Equity, Inclusion, & Belonging
Joseph Gianni ’78, P ’14, ’14
Jeffrey Gitlin ’85, P ’13, ’17
Derek Green ’81
Mary S. Martin ’77, P ’17, ’20, Board Chair
Ann C. Randall ’73, P ’13
Lori S. Wetsman ’85, P ’12, ’15
The Committee on Equity and Inclusion is helping to develop a clear vision for our school’s DEI work and a process to embed our DEI goals and action steps into the school’s strategic plan.
The Governance Committee is continuing to pursue diversity of thought, experience, and background as it seeks to build a diverse Board of Trustees that is representative of the student body.
Our teachers continue to examine ways to create more inclusive classroom spaces and examine their curricula through the lens of equity and inclusion. Academic departments are working on expanding and broadening the curriculum to include underrepresented historical narratives and positive representations of a broad range of cultures and peoples to more accurately reflect the past and lived experiences. By aligning our Strategic Vision with our equity work, we can better partner with greater Hartford on projects in the field of social justice.
For examples of the DEI initiatives by department, please visit this link.
FACULTY & STAFF
The School will continue to address the professional development needs of the faculty and staff, specifically in the area of DEI, more intentionally and purposefully. With heightened teacher awareness, teachers are better equipped to serve the needs of all students so that they reach their full potential and create a more inclusive environment. We are making a concerted effort to recruit and retain employees from minority populations to reflect the student body better.
The newly formed Christopher Conrad Fund for Social Justice, named in honor of their late son and brother, will support faculty professional development and curriculum development.
To support further training for faculty and staff, a team of four educators has partnered with the Director of Equity this past year to develop ongoing professional development and coaching for teachers. After using the framework of Culturally Responsive Teaching and the Brain in faculty workshops during the 2019-2020 school year, several faculty, staff, and administrators read Layla Saad’s Me and White Supremacy: Combat Racism, Change the World, and Become a Good Ancestor to help create more inclusive classrooms.
Several faculty and staff members attend weekly Building White Anti-Racist Educators (BARWE) meetings to share and consider ways to become a more inclusive community.
For all our students to thrive, we are committed to creating an environment that is inclusive and welcoming, one where every student feels a sense of belonging. We will continue to explore ways to celebrate our diversity and create opportunities for respectful dialogue and discussion.
We have developed a Civil Discourse Statement & Guidelines to promote respectful and open dialogue on campus.
In the Middle School, a student committee developed a set of questions and discussion points that helped students learn more about topics such as the presidential election, the insurrection on the Capitol, the inauguration, and Black History Month.
The US and MS deans of students are conducting data-driven analyses of our Studies Reports, disciplinary system, and Student Handbook to ensure they are fair and equitable and will make changes as needed.
The deans of students are exploring ways to promote and expand leadership opportunities from underrepresented groups on campus.
The school is signing up with the Safe School Helpline to ensure further the safety and social-emotional health of our students. Community members will be able to confidentially report security concerns, instances of bullying or harassment, or concerns about the well-being of a fellow student. The Helpline also provides a direct link to a live, trained suicide/mental health counselor 24 hours/day, 365 days a year.
We are exploring options for school-wide culture/climate surveys that will help us measure our progress and identify areas for growth.
The School seeks to create experiences that bring the entire community – students-faculty-family-alumni -together in meaningful ways by creating professional networking opportunities with alumni leaders in various fields to help advance recruitment and advancement for all alumni, particularly for women and alumni of color or by developing affinity groups among constituents.
In the fall of 2020, the Office of Advancement hosted a community conversation on diversity and inclusion practices and KO’s response plan featuring board member and diversity consultant Doug Harris, Head of School Tom Dillow, and former Director of Equity Donique McIntosh.
The Office of Advancement sent out a survey in 2021 offering alumni the opportunity to self-report how they identify in the hopes of creating alumni affinity groups in the future. The survey was developed in conjunction with the school’s alumni council and the Director of Equity.
In collaboration with the alumni council and the Board of Trustees, the Advancement Office is exploring the development of a parent affinity group so that our BIPOC parents can come together to share their experiences and connect socially.
The Advancement Office is collaborating with the Leadership Center to augment existing programs such as our Lunch and Lead series to feature diverse perspectives and establish a mentorship program.
The Power of Women student group, established in 2019, has hosted and will continue to host community events that amplify diverse female voices from alumni of color and parents of color and elevate women in leadership positions.