2021-2025 Strategic Plan Update: Building a Culture of Belonging

The second strand of our 2021-2025 Strategic Plan continues the ongoing work of "Build[ing] a Culture of Belonging Through Diversity, Equity & Inclusion." As outlined in the Strategic Plan, the goal of this strand is to support the development of a culture "where members feel a sense of belonging, where their voices are heard, and where they feel valued for their individual and collective contributions."
Central to this goal is the ability to truly understand who within our community feels does and does not feel like they belong. To that end, we have developed a twice-yearly 'Pulse Check' survey for middle and upper school students and for faculty and staff (we are still reviewing how best to do this for lower school). Created jointly with Board members, administrators and parents, the student survey leverages research done by independent schools across the U.S. and is rooted in our mission statement, while the adult survey is based, in large part, on the research-based Standout Engagement Pulse. Across both anonymous surveys, we also ask a series of questions about the demographics of the respondents, along with an option to 'prefer not to respond.' In the end, what we have is a set of data that may reveal that students with IAPs, or adults who have PhDs, or any other subset of our community feels particularly engaged and supported - or, in fact, does not. This data, then, provides actionable information for our Senior Leadership Team, Division Directors and the DEI Working Group and Subcommittees. Our community has just completed this Spring's surveys and we are beginning the analysis process to understand next steps.
This year also sees the close of the 22-23 Subcommittees. A huge thank you to the more than 80 faculty, staff, parents and guardians, students, alums, and Board members who participated in the Subcommittee work this year. Thanks to the efforts of these groups, the school has, among other efforts, hired a part-time archivist to help preserve the physical history of the school, developed a more intentional interviewing-process handbook that centralizes and aligns interviewing & feedback practices across the school, and proposed the development of roadmaps for areas of curricular sensitivity to enhance clarity and understanding for families.
Our efforts to ensure greater understanding and belonging, to build a community where we can more intentionally and comfortably bridge differences to see and respect each other, to learn from and with each other, and to celebrate all that we are together, are critical and never-ending. We are grateful for the continued partnership of our Annie Wright Schools community.