Dear Flint Hill School Families,
Last Wednesday, our Director of Diversity and Inclusion Mia Burton and I led a coffee on the School’s efforts in the areas of diversity and inclusion. It was an opportunity to share our vision for creating the kind of inclusion that we all want to see in our great school. For those of you who couldn’t attend, I’d like to share an article we shared with parents, our vision and mission statements and our Statement of Diversity and Inclusion, which was adopted by our Board of Trustees four years ago.
In our introduction, we reiterated our commitment to ensuring that every person who walks through our doors feels respected, valued, welcomed, and understood. We have a firm commitment to making this a safe place — physically and emotionally — for everyone. We are holding ourselves accountable for building an educational program that embraces these ideas and helps us all work to develop a sense of trust and a growth mindset as we recognize the various experiences, backgrounds, and differences that we all bring with us as members of this school family.
In her presentation, Mia shared the vision for our efforts in this area: “Ensuring that every Flint Hill School student has a place in our community.” This clearly focuses on the students, while recognizing that we are all doing this together. In fact, one of the initiatives that Mia and parents Charlotte Chess and Rebecca Jenkins shared is the opportunity for all of us to join Kaleidoscope, a book club that they are initiating for Flint Hill parents. This new club will allow “the time and space to examine topics related to diversity and inclusion through the many lenses of literature.” The book club will be a safe place for parents to talk, share, learn, listen and engage. In this video, Mia, Charlotte and Rebecca share more about this new and exciting opportunity.
This is an exciting moment for us! The coffee allowed us to explore the journey we have embarked on during the past four years since Mia was appointed Director of Diversity and Inclusion. Along the way, we have experienced great accomplishments and also some struggles, but our focus is to do all of this in a very open, transparent and collaborative way.
And again, one direct way we can all actively participate in this journey is to register for the Kaleidoscope Book Club. The first meeting is scheduled for Monday, November 6, at 8:15 a.m., in the Upper School Campus Multipurpose Room. At that time, parents will discuss book titles for the group to consider and the best times for future gatherings. The hope is that parents will read the books and attend the meetings to engage in the discussion. At the same time, if you do not have the chance to read a book, I want you to know that you are always welcome to join any session, at any time, to listen to the discussion. That way, you will have the opportunity to participate and listen, while we learn and grow together in our efforts.
During last week’s coffee, we also shared a quick update about the International Festival, which will take place on Saturday, February 10, 2018. More news on that to follow. We also shared that our Board of Trustees has now added two ad-hoc committees to their work. One is a Building Committee to help prepare for future changes due to the Campus Master Plan. The other is on Culture and Diversity, with the purpose to more directly support the efforts of the board and the School regarding diversity and inclusion. Their work will underscore our collective commitment to leading and being recognized as a school that provides a safe, welcoming and supportive environment for all our students and families.
Also in looking ahead, I hope to see many of you on Friday, November 3, for Parent Conference Day, as you will have the opportunity to reflect and grow with your children’s teachers. Please also mark your calendars for the Holiday Shoppes on Saturday, November 11. I hope you are planning to attend and participate in the sense of community that this event always brings to our school family.
And as we move into November, I am going to follow our school vision myself and take a “meaningful risk.” Using the themes of gratitude and service, over the next few weeks, we will ask several guest writers to share their thoughts on volunteerism, giving and community service. They will use my space to share their insights. I know you will enjoy hearing what they have to say!!
Best wishes to you!
John M. Thomas