The Paideia School

Paideia’s Commitment to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion: An Ongoing Conversation

Paideia Action Plan

The actions listed in this plan are not exhaustive. Our fundamental hope is to rebuild and regain trust within our community to create safe spaces for faculty and students. We hope that the community will  work with the school in both our individual and institutional self-reflection. 

We are listening to Black voices at Paideia and this will help the school change. We are heartbroken to hear these stories of racial trauma that range from racist language and behaviors, isolation and exclusion, and limited opportunities and lack of support at Paideia.  The intention from the beginning of Paideia's history was to create an equitable and diverse community and we take responsibility for not ensuring a safe space for all of our students.  

We unequivocally believe that Black Lives Matter. 

Our action plan includes:

Offering specific high school and junior high student training in anti-racism and white privilege. 

  • Rachel Peterson, dean of students, and Natalie Rogovin, director of service learning have created programming for student leaders in the high school. They will be incorporating diversity  and implicit bias training in their Student Leadership Summit, offer a deep dive in Implicit Bias for the Steering Committee ( student government) and host a student book read - "How to Be an Anti-Racist" by Ibram X. Kendi. In high school, the Steering Committee will be meeting with leaders of Black@Paideia to discuss initiatives to support students of color at Paideia.  Rachel will also be spearheading a new program for the Advisory program for all students that focuses around diversity, equity, social justice and anti-racist work.  
  • In the junior high, we will be organizing student training in anti-racism and white privilege through our extended Race, Class and Gender (RCG) curriculum and implementation of our new student leadership groups.  A variety of age-appropriate support materials and activities will be used to maintain friendships and sustain authentic, non-biased communication between students, faculty and administration.

A commitment to creating safe spaces for all students on campus. 

  • We are committed to our student racial affinity groups across levels and will provide needed support for students in our Black Student affinity groups in all levels. We will review how we discuss race in each level of the school. Specifically, the junior high is reviewing periodic symposiums on diversity and inclusion that will happen throughout the year. The high school committee for Race Day will review its programming ( in format and content) to help ensure their discussions are effective and create safe spaces for everyone.

A review of our systems of reporting racial harassment, racial discrimination, instances of racial microaggressions, and bullying in both the junior high and high school. 

  • We do not and will not tolerate racial harassment, racial discrimination, microaggressions and bullying at Paideia.
  • These methods of reporting will be clearer and more readily available to all students and we will create redundant systems of reporting to help ensure that complaints do not go unheard or with no response. Students will continue to be able to report incidents to teachers, advisors, counselors and administrators; these adults will receive training on effective reporting. Any and all adults who receive reports of this nature will report to Nisha Simama, counselor and coordinator of multiculturalism. Nisha will report directly to the head of school,  administrative team and the board of trustees.
  • We will design guidelines that can allow limited information to the reporting student of the course of action taken by the administration with regard to the complaint.  We realize that in our efforts to keep student and family information private, we have not helped the reporting student's understanding that they were heard and action was taken.

A departmental review of curriculum and materials and examination of how we discuss race in the classroom. 

  • Departments will review the use of diverse texts, language in literature, and diverse representation in all departments for high school, junior high and elementary curriculum. 

A review of student class placement in the high School

  • Class placement for advanced courses will include more transparent and clearer rubrics to ensure equitable opportunities in course selection and advancement.

Specific training required for teachers, staff and administrators in anti-racism and white privilege.  

  • Our work will include faculty cohorts in Culturally Responsive Teaching by Zaretta Hammond, and White Privilege and Anti-Racist groups at all levels of the school.  Work in the elementary school is based off of the "Building Anti-Racist White Educators" (BARWE) curriculum.  Other in-house professional development groups will include a Diversity Reads group that will read diverse fictional literature and anti-racism texts. Non-teaching staff from admissions to college counseling will work with anti-racism, diversity and implicit bias training.  

Conversations with parents and alumni to gather feedback and information to help guide our actions moving forward. 

  • Oman Frame, director of equity and inclusion, is hosting a series of parent and alumni conversations to listen and gather information for institutional change.  We will continue to reach out to our current student body to listen to their stories to help us guide that change.

Continued work on  the National Independent School Association (NAIS) Assessment of Inclusivity and Multiculturalism (AIM) survey results. 

  • We received the data results from the AIM survey in November 2019.  A faculty/ staff committee (Oman Frame, Laura Magnanini, Linda Zamora Epstein, Ashley Austin and Jonathan Petrash)  has been reviewing and compiling the data for a whole school report that will be shared in 2020-2021.  The areas where we rank as "high performing" are Overall School Morale and Satisfaction with Multiculturalism.  The area for improvement marked as "healthy" is Satisfaction with Inclusiveness.  We are posting the NAIS's short summary of our results indicating areas where we are high performing and areas that need attention. You can find those results here: NAIS RESULTS.

Commitment to diversity work in our 2020-2021 SACS Accreditation plan.

  • Our SACS accreditation goals include a focus on developing programming and professional development based on our AIM survey. Next steps for the AIM survey are gathering constituency groups and getting more feedback from families. Our work in conjunction with SACS will be immediate with long term outside accountability. 

A commitment to diversity in hiring and recruitment. 

  • We will continue to utilize outside consulting firms to help us recruit faculty of color and extend our reach beyond the Atlanta and Georgia market. 
  • A fundamental part in recruiting faculty of color is ensuring that the Paideia community is an open and safe space. All faculty mentors of new teachers and department chairs in the high school will be provided with anti-racism and anti-bias training. Professional support for faculty of color will include the Teacher of Color (TOC) group and regular attendance at NAIS People of Color Conference (POCC). 
Board of Trustee Actions on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at Paideia

June 23, 2020

Dear Members of the Paideia Community,

We write on behalf of the Paideia Board of Trustees.  Last Monday, courageous young people opened a BlackatPaideia Instagram account to give black students a platform to share their experiences and to advocate for change.  Many current and former Paideia students have voiced deeply painful experiences of racism within our community.  Many of you have contacted us to share your reactions to what these posts have highlighted. We all agree that providing a safe and nurturing environment for Paideia students is our highest priority.

We as a board acknowledge this pain and anguish, and we apologize for our role in it.  We have listened carefully during this last week, and we understand that these very personal stories are not new or isolated experiences.  We understand that they come from years of systemic and institutionalized racism in our society and in our very own Paideia community.  We understand that we need to continue to listen and to hear.  We understand that listening is the first step and that listening must lead to learning and to action.  We understand that effecting real change will be a process, and we are committed to sustained action to respect one another and to bring our community together.

The board met last night for the final meeting of the current school year.  We agreed on the following initial board actions:

  • Hold a specially called board meeting in July to focus entirely on this issue.
  • Improve diversity on the board by ensuring that at least 50 percent of each new trustee class is comprised of trustees of color so that the percentage of trustees of color is at least as high or is higher than the percentage of students of color.
  • Join the headmaster and the administration in hiring a third-party evaluator to help us identify our mistakes and blind spots and help us outline the steps for achieving meaningful change and reconciliation.
  • Allocate funds to pay for hiring a third-party evaluator and for the additional initiatives that result from that external audit.
  • Create a permanent board Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee that will include non-board members, using what we learn from our evaluative process to define and inform that committee's work.
  • Engage as a board in inclusiveness and anti-racist training.

As our community engages in these difficult and valuable conversations, the board vows to expand upon these initial actions.  These are among the first steps in the healing process.  We accept this opportunity to look deeply into ourselves, and we believe strongly that all of us who make up Paideia have the courage and the grace to achieve our shared goal of a truly inclusive learning community.  Again, we are here to listen, learn and act, and we look forward to continuing the conversation with the community.   

Melinda Cooper Holladay                            
Board Chair term ending June 30, 2020

Wayne Aaron
Board Chair term beginning July 1, 2020


 

Oman Frame Coordinator of Equity and Inclusion

The current state of our world has illuminated many of this country's ills. The constant plague of racism and injustice has once again manifested itself by way of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, and Rayshard Brooks, and we find ourselves examining and reaffirming our commitment to being an inclusive, anti-racist space. The school's commitment to fostering a safe and inclusive community is paramount and unwavering. And while we'd all like to jump to the finish line, the road to infusing diversity, equity, and inclusion into all levels of our community is a process. We know there are improvements to be made, and commit to examining our blind spots and making actionable, measurable progress. Now is the time for brave conversations as we commit to taking a look at the world around us and transparent in its reflection back to us. 

Paideia was founded as a place for children. This moment provides us with an opportunity to improve the experience for all of our students because when the environment works for our children, it also works for parents and faculty. The most common question seems to be, "What can I/we do?" As a school, it is imperative that we act together to examine our biases, privileges, and assumptions. As individuals, it's important to do the same. As an institution, it begins in the classroom, with an intentional curriculum that reflects the school's Framework of Values and our global reality. It extends into a commitment to ongoing self-examination and discussion, with transparent and measurable goals, and a willingness to listen to too often silent voices. History has proven that this work is a marathon, not a sprint. The end line will be ever-moving, with obstacles and arduous tasks along the path. As a school committed to meeting the needs of all of our community members, we are dedicated to continuous training, growing, stumbling, and dusting ourselves off as we strive to attain our goals. A group will work together this summer to design a plan to move our community towards verbalizing, and actualizing in goals.

At Paideia, we believe in the vitality of being taught and mentored by the diversity within the community. 

Oman Frame
Coordinator of Equity and Inclusion