About Us

Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

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 in courageous conversations. We purposefully examine cultural distinctions and implications across programmatic and curricular practices. As an institution, we seek to practice ongoing, 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, adopted in early 2019, 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. 

    • The Professional Development budget will be designated to support training in diversity, inclusivity, and multicultural education including on campus workshops, guest speakers, and individual participation in relevant training or conferences.
      • Training:
        • Faculty: curriculum & pedagogy; creating an inclusive classroom
        • Staff: creating an inclusive workplace; training in cultural competencies
        • Administrators: 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 designating 20% of funding for relevant training
        • Revaluation of effectiveness and growth in curricular and professional programming and qualitative reflection of impact of PD
    Initiative: The Schools will provide training for administrators, faculty, and staff on facilitating difficult conversations between students and colleagues.

    • Administration will identify appropriate training for all employees to equip them to navigate difficult conversations, address concerns, and develop safe spaces for students and employees 
      • Training
        • Rooted in commitment to a student-centered environment
        • Applicable to a variety of contexts, situations, and issues of identity
      • Performance Measures - Success in the provision of training on facilitating difficult conversations will be marked by:
        • Identification of appropriate trainer or agency within year one of the Strategic Plan for Diversity
        • Completion or commencement of training employees within three years
    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 to encourage these opportunities
      • Potential Structures
        • SEED (Seeking Educational Equity and Diversity)
        • Affinity groups, common spaces or regularly scheduled drop-in conversations to promote dialogue, community, and reflection
        • Time 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: 
        • Integration of structures for employees and steady/growing number of participants in place by April 2018. 
        • Integration of structures for dialogue 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, the Schools will provide support for designated faculty & staff to visit peer schools with impactful diversity and inclusivity programs.

    • The Schools will research and identify the most impactful and best practices to bring to Annie Wright 
      • Performance Measures - Success in support for visits to peer schools will be marked by:
        • Outside school visit one employee in each division and thoughtful report of experience within one year of Strategic Plan for Diversity Implementation  
        • Qualitative reflection on the impact of school visits
        • Updated plan for programming based on research
    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 to identify agencies and institutions as potential partners (e.g. local agencies and institutions in Tacoma) for programming around diversity, inclusivity, and multicultural education
    • 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:
        • Expansion of existing partnerships with local agencies or institutions 
        • Collaboration with at least one existing partner on an on- or off-campus event each academic year 
        • Identification of one institution that trains teachers from underrepresented groups by third year of implementation the Strategic Plan for Diversity
  • 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 into 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, these subcommittees focus on a chosen area of interest or need. Participation in the subcommittees is open to faculty, staff, trustees, alumni, and, when appropriate, students and parents.

2021-2022 DEI Subcommittees

List of 5 items.

  • Admissions & Retention for Equity

    (adapted from ‘20-’21 “Affinity Groups”)

    Two foci for the year 
    1. Affinity Groups & Community Culture
      • What are Affinity Groups?
        • Members of a shared identity engage in activity and discussion centered around their identity
          • Currently developed at MS. Launching this year in US. Developing with this group for age-appropriate LS opportunities
        • How can you get involved?
          • We need community volunteers to provide the right support and guidance.
    2. What can we do to develop a community culture to support all students?
      • How do we build up opportunities to understand and connect with those who are not like us?
        • How do we build connections and belonging in the day-to-day?
        • How do we build a culture that wants to support each other and learn about the wonderful uniqueness we each bring to the team?
  • Completing Our History

    Building from last year’s work in rounding out the narrative Annie Wright tells about itself, including examining common and accepted historical narratives as well as the considerable gaps in them, this subcommittee’s ’21-’22 charge includes:
    • Revisiting and revising the Founder's Day Chapel presentation
    • Continue collecting oral histories
    • Write an article for Strength magazine which narrates the stories collected in alumni interviews and the demographic trends
  • Curricular Examination

    A cross-divisional team of faculty will survey what DEI content is being taught, where the gaps are and work toward creating a unified DEI Scope & Sequence from Preschool to grade 12. This group will charge each division to articulate and craft a statement to address the question: What is the promise, through a DEI lens, that we are making to our students?
  • Diversity of Thought

    A politically, philosophically, and/or religiously diverse "think-tank" to identify key institutional recommendations prompted by the following inquiries:

    As a community of learners, how do we
    • Honor the political, philosophical, and religious diversities of our students?
    • Align our community's baseline of shared values & visions across diverse perspectives?
    • Create practices or tenets for sharing and growth across political, philosophical, or religious differences?
  • Hiring & Retention for Equity

    This subcommittee, charged with examining and integrating approaches to growing a diverse representation of racial and ethnic identities across staff, faculty, and leadership, will extend their work in the following ways for ’21-’22:
    • Designing a resume review process to further reduce bias in hiring
    • Identifying the best structure for a hiring committee, to include training and involvement in the hiring process

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.