Good counsel students heading into school

In Harmony

2018-2022 STRATEGIC PLAN FOR DIVERSITY, EQUITY, INCLUSION, AND JUSTICE

Board Approved on January 18, 2018

Students studying together

This strategic plan focuses on diversity, inclusion, equity and justice at Our Lady of Good Counsel High School. It is framed in values that are essential to the functioning and success of the School. These values are a consequence of our history and heritage, steeped in the sense of human dignity that is the bedrock of the social teaching of the Catholic Church. This document, In Harmony, draws its inspiration from the motto of the Xaverian Brothers: “In harmony, small things grow.”

We begin this plan by recognizing and appreciating the DIVERSITY within the human family in all of its manifestations. As a consequence, people are not judged for who they are but for what they do or fail to do as they live out the teachings of the Gospels. INCLUSION means that Good Counsel must ensure that every facet of its community, from students to faculty to staff and other stakeholders, is representative of this diversity in meaningful ways. No aspect of our identity, structure, or processes is too great or small for this consideration. EQUITY suggests that no one should be treated unfairly relative to more-entitled others for reasons that have nothing to do with their abilities or efforts. Instead, all human beings should be given the widest possible opportunities to thrive regardless of their starting positions in life. Finally, JUSTICE requires that our support of diversity, inclusion, and equity come together in a synergistic fashion so that social and distributive justice are attained in all we do. In the final analysis, the lives we touch should be meaningfully enhanced by our actions.

The objectives and tactical steps presented in this document articulate how we intend to operationalize these guiding principles across the myriad aspects and activities that make up the daily lives of the people regularly engaged with Our Lady of Good Counsel High School. While they are broad in scope and purpose, no statement of this kind is fully capable of capturing every nuance of what it takes to guarantee a just environment. Thus, we recognize the need to have a truly living document that can be revised and expanded as novel situations arise. Yet we hold these ideals as a sacred trust that we make in Christ’s name, for each individual we interact with should come away better off as a result. To say that all people are created by the same God and placed on this earth to achieve His purposes is a regular reminder of the sanctity of human existence.

It is our mission to be an instrument of His peace in ways that are consonant with a Xaverian, Catholic high school. There are always difficulties in the implementation of such plans as people may disagree with how to proceed, even if they agree on the value of certain ends. Regardless, we are unified in the belief that Our Lady of God Counsel High School can make a difference in the larger society by following the path outlined here. We hope that all stakeholders will read and follow this document to the fullest extent possible so that our ability to foster a just world is actualized.



OBJECTIVES AND ACTION STEPS

OBJECTIVE #1: COMMITMENT

OLGCHS has a defined commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion, and social justice.

DIVERSITY STATEMENT

  • Create a Diversity Statement after soliciting input from stakeholders; present the Statement to the Board of Directors for adoption.
  • Create and communicate a plan to introduce the Statement to the GC community with particular emphasis on student and classroom presentation.

STRATEGIC PLAN

  • Create a Strategic Plan for diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice after soliciting input from stakeholders; present the Statement to the Board of Directors for adoption; implement the Plan and monitor and update annually.

LANGUAGE

  • Define what the terms diversity, inclusion, equity, and justice mean in the GC context.

SUPPORT

  • Provide the funding and resources to support the objectives, structure and timelines of the Diversity and Inclusion Strategic Plan.

IMPLEMENTATION

  • Use the Diversity Statement and Strategic Plan, in conjunction with the Mission Statement, as touchpoints for all institutional decision making.

OBJECTIVE #2: EDUCATION

We will build a more diverse, inclusive, equitable and just community at Our Lady of Good Counsel High School through planned programs and strategies that emphasize respect for and affirmation of the dignity and worth of each person.

EDUCATE STUDENTS

  • Identify core competencies for all students with regards to our commitment to diversity, inclusion, equity, and social justice, and develop an effective annual schedule for school-wide programs and celebrations and small group opportunities that commit the time and space for instruction on these topics, making expectations clear at the start of each school year and reinforcing them in a planned manner throughout the year.
  • Seek repeated opportunities to talk to and with students, in large groups (year-level assemblies, gender, upper/lower, Culture Day, Heritage Day) and small, about how we are respecting, affirming, protecting, and celebrating the dignity and worth of others at GC; plan for the inclusion of such opportunities in the preparation of the school calendar; and solicit student feedback on the effectiveness of programming.
  • Develop a plan for supporting and monitoring student organizations and teams as they address diversity, inclusion, equity and justice at school and in the wider community and celebrate their successes publicly. Use student leaders as examples and PR pitchmen for being "upstanders. Encourage extracurricular activities to engage the school community in an inclusive manner regarding membership, activities, and events (e.g. Women's History, Black History Month, Hispanic History Month, etc.).
  • Allot a significant portion of time to communication, education, and discussion on matters of diversity, inclusion, equity, and social justice in the 9th grade Advisory curriculum and sustain with a continued component in 10th, 11th, and 12th grade advisory. Where appropriate, identify opportunities to speak with male and female students separately to address issues unique to their gender.
  • Create a GC Ethics course or major unit of study required for all 9th graders with an emphasis on social justice, stereotypes, what it means to be a GC student and what GC stands for, how to speak and respond to adults, how to behave in mass, cultural competency.
  • Provide training for peer counselors in the area of diversity, inclusion, equity, and social justice and identify ways for them to work with freshmen in the process of being enculturated into the GC community.

EDUCATE FACULTY AND STAFF

  • Develop requirements, timelines and costs to ensure that all members of the Administration, Faculty, Staff and Coaches complete initial cross-cultural training by the end of the 2017-2018 school year.
  • With the increase in the number of students with mental health issues, take steps to promote awareness of and compassionate response to these issues.
  • Consider PLT time for teachers to collaborate on educational strategies that will further the goal of educating students on diversity, inclusion, equity, and justice.

APPROACHES TO DISCIPLINE

  • Conduct a review of the school's discipline policies to ensure that they are aligned with our mission "to inspire our students to excel, serve, and love" and are consistent with the commitments expressed in the school's diversity statement.
  • Research best practices and develop Good Counsel-specific approaches to bullying, harassment, or debasing of students and develop written policies regarding discipline for behaviors contrary to the spirit of the school's diversity statement.
  • Develop a model for restorative justice when addressing racist, sexist, homophobic, and other harassing behavior at odds with the "Falcon Way," so that disciplinary consequences can be a learning experience and not exclusively punitive. See also item 3.3.6.
  • Develop strategies for addressing students whose behavior is frequently at odds with our community-wide commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice.

CATHOLIC IDENTITY

  • Develop a process to communicate an understanding of the role of liturgy and religious life to incoming and current students and make explicit the links between Catholic practice and the principles of diversity, inclusion, equity and justice.

OBJECTIVE #3: ACCOUNTABILITY

We will develop systems of accountability that will monitor and assess the school culture to determine how effectively we are living our mission, including but not limited to our efforts in admissions, hiring, retention, financial aid, and curriculum development.

RETENTION

  • Identify and implement structures necessary to retain students at risk of leaving due to unmet demonstrated financial need.
  • Formalize and clearly communicate process and structures to obtain support for students needing financial assistance for school costs outside tuition.

ENDOWMENT

  • Build an endowment that supports the financial aid needs of a socio-economically diverse student population.

DATA GATHERING, EVALUATION and REPORTING

  • Conduct research into best practices to develop a concrete plan for tracking, collecting, sharing, and reflecting on data related to diversity to include publishing an annual State of Diversity report.
  • Analyze the demographic data for students receiving disciplinary consequences, including: attendance; demerits; Saturday detentions; suspensions; ineligibility; and expulsions.
  • Analyze the demographic data for students who leave GC to determine what, if any, identity groups leave in disproportionate numbers and whether unaddressed cultural disconnects exist.
  • Analyze the demographic data for students who get in arrears in tuition payments, examining whether aid was awarded and what percentage of demonstrated need was met.
  • Continue to administer ISM's Faculty Culture Profile and Student Experience Profile annually in March and analyze data trends to determine ways to enhance school culture and make necessary adjustments.
  • Develop a uniform process for tracking incidents of insensitivity, bullying and harassment, inside and outside the classroom, and determine how and to whom such incidents are reported for analysis and evaluation.
  • Conduct an annual survey of parents' views on the school's climate and progress towards achieving its goals for diversity, inclusion, equity and justice.

TRAINING

  • Ensure that policy handbooks (board, student/parent, faculty/staff, coaching, etc.) include appropriate references to diversity, inclusion, equity and justice as they relate to the school's core values and educational philosophy.
  • Include diversity, inclusion, equity and justice training during orientations for new board members, employees, coaches, moderators and mentors.
  • Provide ongoing training for faculty and staff for dealing with the daily micro-aggressions that arise in the halls and classrooms.
  • Provide guidance to faculty on the use of culturally inclusive language in instruction and assessment.

CURRICULUM AND PROGRAM

  • As part of the scheduled cycle of review, analyze, evaluate, and revise published curriculum guides to reflect learning objectives and instructional resources that are consistent with the school's diversity, inclusion, equity and justice initiatives.
  • Continue to implement the AIMS Action Plan items relating to diversity and inclusion.
  • As part of the upcoming International Baccalaureate Five Year Program Review, explore ways to incorporate diversity, inclusion, equity and justice with efforts to raise international-mindedness in the GC community.

OBJECTIVE #4: INCLUSION

We will affirm the value of diversity in our school community and will strive to reflect this value in the composition of our board of directors, administration, faculty, staff, and student body.

FACULTY, STAFF ADMINISTRATION DIVERSITY

  • Develop policies and procedures that support a commitment to diversity, inclusion, equity, and justice in the recruitment, promotion, and retention of faculty, staff, and administration.
  • Schedule meetings for faculty and staff to provide input on issues relating to diversity, equity, inclusion and justice on campus.

BOARD OF DIRECTORS DIVERSITY

  • Develop policies and procedures that support a commitment to diversity, inclusion, equity, and justice in the identification of nominees for the Board of Directors.
  • Ensure that board committee work (especially Enrollment Management, Diversity, and Educational Programs) reflects diversity, inclusion, equity, and justice priorities.
  • Conduct an annual analysis of parent profiles of rising juniors and seniors to identify possible board candidates who have desired skill sets AND who would add presence of traditionally under-represented groups
  • Use the Board Profile to assist the Nominating Committee to diversify the make-up of the BOD in a way that reflects the wider community and provides the requisite breadth of skill sets.
  • Invite board members to attend diversity trainings and special programs. Increase connectedness with daily life of school. Participate in listening sessions with students and faculty.

DIVERSITY IN PROGRAMS

  • Examine student demographics of school events as well as selective and elective niche programs such as award winners, STEM, Ryken, IB Diploma, XBSS leaders, El Salvador, Camden, to ensure that their composition is reflective of diversity (e.g. race, gender, socioeconomic status) and where inequities exist take steps to remedy them.

STUDENT DIVERSITY

  • Continue and expand Enrollment Management Committee efforts to identify strategies that will attract potential students from a wide range of communities and backgrounds.

ENGAGING THE BREADTH OF STAKEHOLDERS

  • Solicit input on issues relating to diversity, equity, inclusion and justice on campus from parents and students, making efforts to gather feedback that is representative of the breadth of demographic groups, geography, race, socio-economic status, family structure, found in the GC community.
  • Use tools of communication that encourage full participation by all community members including, as appropriate, providing additional language formats, live streaming or recording events.
  • Hold an annual inter-faith service to include the different faith traditions within the school community.
  • Recognize the language, cultural, and socio-economic barriers faced by some families and compile resources and communicate them to traditionally under-represented or under-served families.

OUTREACH TO THE HISPANIC/LATINO COMMUNITY

  • Make key admissions, financial aid, and administrative documents available in Spanish.
  • Find better ways to communicate with Spanish-speaking parents at Open House by providing a Spanish-language presentation on school programming, financial aid, and the admissions process, and by providing Spanish-speaking student ambassadors to give tours.
  • Find better ways to communicate with non-English speaking parents at Back-to-School Night, Conversations that Count, Parent Association meetings, and similar community events.

OBJECTIVE #5: LEADERSHIP

We will determine a leadership model for coordinating diversity initiatives and ensure that the model is supported with appropriate resources and authority.

DIVERSITY LEADERSHIP

  • Research, define, develop, and build funding into the school-wide strategic financial plan in support of the position of Diversity Coordinator, reporting to the President and with the authority to implement diversity, inclusion, equity, and justice initiatives.
  • Create and sustain a Diversity Committee, chaired by the Diversity Coordinator, that has representation from a breadth of stakeholders and includes a Board representative. This Committee may have subcommittees, to include school-wide initiatives, curriculum development, training, recruitment and retention, finance, emergency response, strategic planning, student events, communications, etc.
  • Develop a plan and timeline for creation of a team that supports the Diversity Coordinator (similar to the campus ministry model), comprised of two or three persons whose time is split between teaching and helping to coordinate campus initiatives for diversity, inclusion, equity, and justice.

TRAINING FOR LEADERS

  • Provide additional professional development in the area of diversity, inclusion, equity, and justice for those assuming any leadership role within the school.

OBJECTIVE #6: COMMUNICATION

We will proclaim our commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion and justice in school communications, publications, marketing, events, programs and extracurricular activities.

PROCLAIMING OUR COMMITMENT

  • Communicate to all GC constituencies how our mission for equity and justice is integral to our identity as a Catholic school.
  • Plan for multiple and repeated points of entry (year-level, community, advisory, class, team, club) that make clear the OLGCHS commitment to diversity, inclusion, equity, and social justice.
  • Identify a theme, quarterly during the school year, that reinforces our dedication to inclusion and diversity, particularly in cross-curricular, group, and service projects.
  • Develop a speaker series reflecting the themes of diversity, inclusion, equity, and social justice.
  • Display the diversity statement in every classroom.
  • Develop processes for identifying stories that reinforce our commitment to diversity, inclusion, equity, and justice and share those stories with the wider community through the school website and social media, and other means of communication.
  • Seek opportunities to celebrate the diversity of the GC community through the display of symbols and artwork throughout the school.
  • Develop an accountability structure to ensure that the imagery and language of school marketing materials, communications, events, programs, and activities (admissions, marketing, athletic, academic, etc.) reflect our commitment to diversity, inclusion, equity, and justice.

CHANNELS OF COMMUNICATION

  • Provide and promote avenues for student communication to the administration and faculty on issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion, and social justice.
  • Provide opportunities for cross communication between student groups.
  • Create a forum that meets on a recurring basis for faculty to air issues and concerns about students.