Calhoun is a school that values the rich diversity of the human experience. It is a school that strives to build a community representative of this diversity, one that is accepting and inclusive. And it is a school that acknowledges and accepts that the work does not stop there.
At Calhoun our work around diversity includes:
- Openly acknowledging and naming social inequities in our country and world, and identifying the concrete ways this reality impacts each member of our community. This includes a particular focus on racial inequity as a historical and foundational component of U.S. culture, and a commitment to the critical analysis and dismantling of racist attitudes, beliefs and policies inherent to our school and society.
- Responding to social inequities through the creation of a variety of mechanisms to validate, support and respond to the varying needs of our diverse community. These mechanisms can and should include structural elements such as student clubs, affinity groups, parent groups, periodic discussions and forums, multilingual communications, mentoring programs, and recruitment opportunities for admissions and hiring.
- Reflecting on the various "lenses" through which we view our students and each other, i.e., confronting the prevalence of bias (personal and institutionalized) and its impact on our self-perception, our teaching, our choices of and (dis)comfort with various kinds of curricula, and how we live in and experience the world. This facilitates our ability to educate students about their own biases, and how these perspectives create barriers to our acceptance of, and engagement in a multicultural society.
As an institution, Calhoun does not view this work as tangential, but as an integral component of program and of the school's self-image. We simultaneously accept the challenges inherent in establishing pathways of understanding, and validate and encourage those challenges instead of shying away from and avoiding them. As Director of Diversity, I am charged to uphold this commitment. I encourage all members of our community to contend with the challenge of sustaining a school that is both sensitive and celebratory, and to discover their roles in realizing this transformation.
Read about Calhoun's Deconstructing Race initiative, and its central project--the feature doc, I'm Not Racist... Am I?--which has been screened across the country for school, government and corporate groups since it first debuted in 2014.
Hilary North, Director of Diversity & Equity Initiatives (who prefers the pronoun "they"), has been a classroom educator and administrator in independent schools for more than fifteen years, with a primary focus on the critical importance of racial identity in the power dynamics of independent schools. Hilary continues to participate in and has led a number of race-related groups and initiatives, including as chair of POCIS-NY (People of Color in Independent Schools, New York) and co-founder of ARA-E (Anti-Racist Alliance of Educators). They holds a BA from Amherst College in Anthropology and Spanish, and an MA in Spanish from Middlebury College.