As we celebrated and honored Martin Luther King, Jr. throughout the school this week, I have been reflecting on one of the four overarching goals of our current strategic plan. That goal asks all of us to work towards broadening our community in a culture that values diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). The Board of Trustees has made these areas a top priority for school improvement, and I have made DEI one of my guiding principles as Head of School. Improving the school’s diversity is the right thing to do, it is the best thing for the children, and it is the best thing for the school’s future sustainability in a multicultural nation.
Reflection is important, but for change to occur we also must do. Our Board of Trustees DEI Committee, in conjunction with school leadership and a dedicated task force of school community members, has chosen to focus on Equity at James River Day School. At present, about 21% of our student population identifies as something other than European American. We want all our students and families to feel they are on an equal footing regardless of ethnicity or economic background. Beginning in October 2022, the task force set out to create an Educational Equity Audit for James River in the form of surveys to be given to our oldest students, faculty, and parents. The goal is to identify trends in the community’s perception of equity and inclusion at James River and the areas of need for further exploration. The information gathered can be used as a benchmark in the future as we launch programs to improve our educational equity and inclusion.
Yesterday evening the task force completed the final edits to the surveys. We plan to share them with the constituent groups throughout the spring and are excited to take this next step in our DEI efforts. I am proud of the work we have done on this most important pillar of our strategic plan. We are remembering, reflecting, and doing in an effort to carry on the work started by Dr. King.