About Us

Our Mission in Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

We acknowledge the fact of diversity as a vital source of Annie Wright Schools’ strong community. We recognize all identities as part of our diversity, including both under-represented and over-represented groups across ethnic, racial, and regional identities; language and learning profiles; religious and political beliefs; socioeconomic and family make-ups; and gender and sexual identities. Among our community, we cultivate shared rights and mutual stewardship.  
 
We safeguard individual identities by recognizing that diversity alone does not lead to inclusion. We strive to develop practices to ensure all members of our community have access to safe, equitable, and brave spaces. We welcome opportunities to challenge cultural assumptions of what is “normal” and to broaden our sense of identity; seeking to actively advance the culture of the institution by continually examining the tension between tradition and transformation.
 
We nurture responsible, global citizenry in a pluralistic and rapidly changing world by encouraging and being willing to respectfully engage courageous conversations. We purposefully examine cultural distinctions and implications across programmatic and curricular practices. As an institution, we seek to practice on-going, reflective learning processes, including routine practices of self and community care.
 
The practices named above extend through all facets of our community, including but not limited to organizational structures such as institutional leadership, recruitment, admissions, hiring and retention; educational spaces such as curricular and extracurricular programming; as well as community partnerships and communications.

Strategic Plan for Diversity

The Strategic Plan for Diversity was adopted in early 2019. The plan outlines a vision for supporting all members of the Annie Wright Schools community and for developing robust Diversity, Inclusion and Equity programming. There are four general areas of attention, each with specific initiatives, components, and performance measures.

List of 4 items.

  • Professional Development

    Annie Wright will provide training in diversity, inclusivity, and multicultural education for faculty, staff, and administrators.
    • Initiative: The Schools will engage all employees in professional development in diversity, inclusivity, and multiculturalism at least once per academic year. 
      • Part of the Professional Development budget will be designated to support training in diversity, inclusivity, and multicultural education. This PD may take the form of on-campus workshops or guest speakers, or it may take the form of individuals’ participation in relevant training or conferences. Training will be rooted in schoolwide goals and initiatives and relevant to the work in which employees are engaged. Training for faculty might pursue: curriculum & pedagogy; creating an inclusive classroom. Training for staff might pursue: creating an inclusive workplace; training in cultural competencies. Training for administrators might pursue: best practices in recruiting, hiring & retaining diverse faculty; assessing and supporting school climate. 
      • Performance measures: Success in engaging employees in professional development will be marked by:
        • Prioritization of PD by designating 20% (suggested) of PD funding for relevant training. 
        • After 5 years, the Schools will reevaluate the effectiveness of this prioritization in 5 years by considering growth in curricular and professional programming and qualitative reflection on the impact of targeted PD.
    • Initiative: The Schools will provide training for administrators, faculty, and staff on facilitating difficult conversations between students and between colleagues. 
      • Recognizing the need to equip administrators, faculty, and staff for navigating difficult conversations, both to address concerns and to develop safe spaces for students and employees, the administration will identify appropriate training for all employees. Training should be rooted in commitment to a student-centered environment and be applicable to a variety of contexts and situations (for example, applicable to all issues of identity and not just about one particular topic).
      • Performance measures: Success in the provision of training on facilitating difficult conversations will be marked by:
        • The Schools have identified an appropriate trainer or agency and have begun to develop a plan for training current employees within year one of the Strategic Plan for Diversity. 
        • Within three years, all employees have begun or completed training on difficult conversations, and a plan to train new employees is in place.
    • Initiative: The Schools will analyze opportunities for collegial dialogue, internal community building, and reflection on issues related to diversity, inclusivity, and multicultural education. 
      • The Schools will research and identify appropriate structures such as SEED (Seeking Educational Equity and Diversity), affinity groups, creating common spaces or regularly scheduled drop-in conversations, and other structures and activities that promote dialogue, community, and reflection. 
      • Time is designated in Faculty & Staff Meetings to explore and assess options and to engage in dialogue and reflection. 
      • Performance measures: Success in analysis of opportunities will be marked by:
        • A plan for the integration of optional structures for all employees to engage in dialogue and reflection is in place by April 2018. A steady and/or growing number of colleagues participate in these opportunities. 
        • The integration of structures for dialogue and reflection into faculty and staff meetings at the Divisional/Departmental and all-Schools levels. 
        • Qualitative reflection on the growth of collegial dialogue sparked by relevant initiatives.
    • Initiative: In the first year of the Strategic Plan for Diversity and again as needed, the Schools will provide support for designated faculty & staff to visit peer schools with impactful diversity and inclusivity programs to identify best practices to bring to Annie Wright 
      • Performance measures: Success in support for visits to peer schools will be marked by:
        • In the first year of implementing the Strategic Plan for Diversity, at least one employee in each Division has completed a school visit and reported back about the experience to the Diversity Topic Group, her/his Division, and to the wider Schools community. 
        • At the end of the first year of implementing the Strategic Plan for Diversity, qualitative reflection on the impact of school visits. 
        • At the end of the first year of implementing the Strategic Plan for Diversity, an updated plan for programming. 
    • Initiative: The Schools will draw on existing, or develop new, community partnerships to support in-house programming and to promote engagement with off-campus programming around diversity, inclusivity, and multicultural education.
      • The Diversity Topic Group will partner with the Schools’ Service Learning program and other resources within the Schools community to identify agencies and institutions as potential partners for programming around diversity, inclusivity, and multicultural education. 
      • The Diversity Topic Group will identify local agencies and institutions in Tacoma to partner with around diversity, inclusivity, and multiculturalism initiatives. 
      • The Schools will research the potential for partnerships with teaching training programs that recruit and support underrepresented groups.
      • Performance measures: Success in the development of community partnerships will be marked by:
        • The Schools have expanded existing partnerships with local agencies or institutions to provide opportunities for members of the Annie Wright community to participate in relevant activities and programming off-campus and to support on-campus initiatives, and has collaborated with at least one existing partner on an on- or off-campus event each academic year. 
        • The Schools have developed new partnerships with local agencies or institutions and has collaborated with at least one new partner on an on- or off-campus event each academic year. 
        • By the end of the third year of implementing the Strategic Plan for Diversity, the Schools have identified at least one institution that trains teachers from underrepresented groups.
  • Teaching & Curriculum

    Annie Wright will review its curriculum to ensure that it reflects and promotes the diversity of the community.
    • Initiative: The Schools will complete a thorough review of the curriculum through the lens of diversity, inclusivity, and multicultural education. 
      • The Schools will identify an appropriate instrument to conduct an audit of the curriculum and supporting resources for both teachers and students. 
      • The Schools will assess opportunities for training students in the areas of diversity, inclusivity, and multicultural education, such as the NAIS Student Diversity Leadership Conference and the NWAIS Diversity Retreat, and consider integrating participation in these activities on an annual basis. 
    • Initiative: The Schools will identify and/or develop a tool for teachers to use for curriculum analysis through the lens of diversity, inclusivity, and multicultural education. 
      • Performance measures: Success in the development of a curriculum tool will be marked by:
        • A tool for curriculum development will be identified and adapted in the first year of implementing the Strategic Plan for Diversity. The tool will be more widely available for teachers in the second year of the Strategic Plan for Diversity.
  • Recruitment, Support & Retention of a Diverse Board, Faculty & Staff

    Annie Wright will strive to create a Faculty & Staff that reflects the diversity of its student body.
    • Initiative: The Schools will analyze current structures that provide support for Faculty & Staff. 
      • The Schools will analyze induction programming for employees in their first and second years to ensure attention to diversity, inclusivity, and multicultural education. 
      • Each year, at the Divisional/Departmental, administrative, and All-Schools levels, the Schools review, reflect on, and update support structures for Faculty & Staff. 
      • Performance measures: Success in the analysis of current structures will be marked by:
        • The Schools’ support structures and induction programming explicitly attend to diversity, inclusivity, and multicultural education and to the needs and concerns of colleagues from underrepresented groups.
    • Initiative: The Schools will prioritize recruitment and hiring of Faculty & Staff that reflect the diversity of the student body. 
      • Administrators and other colleagues involved in the hiring process receive training on best practices for recruiting, hiring, supporting, and retaining underrepresented groups. 
      • As employment opportunities arise, the Schools will use a wide range of methods to advertise to and recruit applicants from underrepresented groups. These methods might include partnership with recruiting agencies such as NEMNET and targeted advertising with colleges and universities with diverse populations. 
      • As employment opportunities arise, the Schools will strive to identify finalists from underrepresented groups. 
      • Performance measures: Success in the recruitment and hiring of Faculty & Staff will be marked by:
        • During the first or second year of implementing the Strategic Plan for Diversity, a plan for ongoing professional development around recruiting and hiring is defined and implemented.
        • The recruiting and hiring process explicitly prioritizes outreach to underrepresented groups.
        • The demographic makeup of the Schools’ Faculty & Staff increasingly reflects the diversity of the student body and is tracked by an appropriate method. 
    • Initiative: The Board of Trustees will prioritize recruitment of Trustees that reflect the diversity of the student body. 
      • The Governance Committee of the Board will research best practices concerning diversity, inclusion, and multicultural education for Boards and articulate goals. 
      • Performance measures: Success in prioritizing diversity of the Board will be marked by:
        • The Board of Trustees has a clear understanding of best governance practices for trustees. 
        • The Board of Trustees has articulated and announced clear goals for furthering the diversity of the Board. 
    • Initiative: The Schools will continue to review and address concerns articulated via the AIM Survey, implemented in May 2016.
      • Performance measures: Success in the review of findings of the AIM Survey will be marked by:
        • The Schools engage in regular reflection on the findings of the AIM Survey. 
        • The Schools appropriately communicate the findings of the AIM Survey. 
  • Reflection

    Annie Wright commits to continuous engagement in reflection on diversity, inclusivity, and multicultural education.
    • Initiative: The Schools will develop a statement on diversity, inclusivity, and multicultural education to guide the development of the total program. 
      • In the second year of implementing the Strategic Plan for Diversity and building on the research, experiences, and insights of the first year of the Plan, the Schools will designate a team to draft a statement that articulates the meaning of diversity, inclusivity, and multicultural education for Annie Wright and that projects a vision for the Annie Wright community.   
      • Performance measures: Success in the development of a statement on diversity will be marked by:
        • At the end of the second year of the Strategic Plan for Diversity, a designated group will develop a draft statement for the Board of Trustees to review and implement.
    • Initiative: At the end of the timeline for the Strategic Plan for Diversity, the Schools will re-administer AIM Survey to identify areas of growth or stagnation. The Schools will consider at that time whether to implement the full AIM Self-Study to complement and respond to the findings of the survey. 
      • Performance measures: Success in the readministration of the AIM Survey will be marked by:
        • In the final year of implementing the Strategic Plan for Diversity, the AIM Survey is administered and an analysis of growth between administrations is completed.

Moving Important Work Forward Through DEI Subcommittees

Now more than ever, Annie Wright Schools must reaffirm its commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion. Our goal is to be a community in which everyone feels included. In order for this to happen, we must put ourselves consistently and with conviction in to the work itself, utilizing a system to evaluate, respond to and reflect on school culture and practice.
 
The system starts with the formation of “subcommittees.”  Led by members of Annie Wright Schools' DEI Working Group (founded in 2015 as the DEI Curriculum & Practice Group), these subcommittees focus on a chosen area of interest or need. They work throughout a pre-determined time frame and produce concrete deliverables. Participation in the subcommittees is open to faculty, staff, trustees, alumni, and, when appropriate, students and parents. Every semester, certain subcommittees conclude while new subcommittees launch.
 
There is, however, one more critical component. The Working Group is designing a short, quarterly “pulse check” that asks AWS community members to share their lived experience. Responses to this survey provide feedback on our community culture and help give direction to future subcommittees. In this way, we have a mechanism that perpetually reinforms us about ourselves. As AWS grows and changes, and as our community grows and changes, such a system will allow us to be responsive, intentional, and directed. 
 
The DEI Working Group not only developed the approach, they also designed the first seven subcommittees listed below. Working with committed and convicted community members is energizing. It is also impactful. While we recognize that time is in short supply, we hope this model is flexible enough that all members of our community will find a way to meaningfully contribute and advance our DEI effort. Ensuring the Diversity Statement is woven into our institutional fabric feels like a great way to nurture that very community. 
 
If you are interested in joining a subcommittee, please let us know here.

DEI Sub-Committees

List of 7 items.

  • Affinity Spaces

    Define, build, launch, and support spaces designed for shared identities to support, uplift, and encourage each other. This subcommittee will run through the third quarter (January 25, 2021 to March 26, 2021) of this academic year with the goal of establishing active affinity groups across divisions by the end of the school year, if not before. 
  • Assessment & Progress

    Define appropriate metrics, develop a mechanism for assessing progress, and create a dashboard for constituents to review ongoing progress against defined metrics. This subcommittee will conclude at the end of the 2020-2021 school year. 
  • Completing our History

    Some stories and figures of AWS' history are well known and celebrated. Who and what is missing? What questions should we be asking about the AWS DEI journey which began in the Gilded Age, spanned through reconstruction and desegregation? This subcommittee will conclude at the end of the first semester (January 22, 2021), and is explicitly designed for student involvement (among other constituents). 
  • Curricular Examination

    Divisional faculty will examine curriculum and pedagogy through DEI lens and learning standards. This subcommittee will conclude at the end of the 2020-2021 school year and is tasked with identifying the 2021-2022 iteration of curricular assessment. This committee is for AWS faculty only.
  • Listening & Learning

    Consider and propose what engagement with and across constituents (students, alums, and others) can and should look like to best understand the experience of culture and climate at AWS. This subcommittee will conclude at the end of the first semester (January 22, 2021). 
  • Recruiting & Hiring

    Consider, research, and design approaches to growing, retaining, and supporting a diverse staff, faculty, and leadership.  The time frame of this subcommittee is ongoing.
  • Traditions vs. Assimilation

    Examine Annie Wright Schools' traditions to ensure each stand for our stated values and intentions, not just for the sake of "history." This subcommittee will launch and run through the second semester.

AWS DEI Working Group

The founding members of Annie Wright Schools' DEI Working Group draw from a committed group of faculty and staff. Thank you to:
  • Grace Finch
  • Tracey Golding
  • Annie Green
  • Ambalila Hemsell
  • Scottie Hill
  • Lucy Iwamoto
  • Alicia Mathurin 
  • Bridgette O'Brien
  • Jamie Parrott
  • William Wilde
  • Jeremy Stubbs
  • Arianne Zwartjes

Contact

Annie Wright Schools
827 North Tacoma Avenue
Tacoma, WA 98403
253.272.2216

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Founded in Tacoma, Washington, in 1884, Annie Wright Schools serve students from age three through high school. Annie Wright Lower  and Middle Schools offer coed programs in Preschool through Grade 8, while separate Upper Schools for girls  and boys offer day and boarding options in Grades 9 through 12. Annie Wright is proud to be an International Baccalaureate World School.