About SJS

Community and Inclusion

Dear St. John's Community,

As we enter the first year of implementation of the SJS Strategic Plan for Community and Inclusion, the senior leadership team has identified and already begun to work on specific areas of focus (listed below) for the 2019-2020 academic year. The SJS Strategic Plan for Community and Inclusion can also be found in its entirety on this page. We look forward to updating you on the progress on these initiatives as the school year unfolds.

Sincerely,

Mark Desjardins and Gene Batiste
Goal 1: CREATE AN INCLUSIVE AND EQUITABLE CAMPUS CLIMATE
Focus for 2019-2020:
1.      Continue to develop and refine social and emotional learning programs/curriculum across all three divisions that reinforce and emphasize for students the St. John’s cardinal precepts of care.
A.     Continue to seek out existing and/or new national organizations that align with St. John’s School statement of Community and Inclusion.
B.     Specifically develop programming around the skill and mindset of “listening with empathy.”
2.      Continue to examine school traditions, rituals, ceremonies, and other daily practices to insure that all students and parents feel welcomed and empowered to belong.
A.     Examine the extent to which before and after school program offerings in Lower and Middle School are conducive to supporting the enrollment and retention of dual-working parents and/ or single parents.
3.      Coordinate and sponsor interactive, educational training programming for St. John’s parents around issues of equity and inclusion especially as it relates to the values embedded within the St. John’s School statement on Community and Inclusion.

Goal 2: RECRUIT, RETAIN, AND DEVELOP A DIVERSE COMMUNITY
Focus for 2019-2020:
1.      Develop new tools and strategies to improve hiring and search processes for faculty and staff of color and those from underrepresented groups including building relationships between St. John’s community and local, regional, and national networks and organizations representing diverse constituencies
A.     Continue to revise, shape, and evaluate retention efforts for all faculty and staff, including faculty and staff of color as well as those from other underrepresented groups.

Goal 3: SUPPORT INCLUSIVE TEACHING AND LEARNING
Focus for 2019-2020:
1.      Continue to support curriculum development and teaching to ensure it reflects a diverse range of experiences and includes a range of materials and viewpoints that represent a variety of viewpoints and peoples.
A.     Create forums for faculty across all divisions to utilize in-house training to enhance awareness and understanding of best practices in regards to teaching within a diverse community.
B.     Support and sponsor professional development activities that align with the School’s goals and vision for community and inclusion.
 

Statement on Community and Inclusion

Every member of the St. John’s community will be known and loved. In accordance with that idea, our Mission Statement, and the Precepts and Principles of the St. John’s School, care is the School’s cardinal virtue, and we sustain a caring and welcoming culture for all.

In our community, we celebrate, promote, and appreciate the differences and similarities of our experiences. For us, community means respecting differences in ability, age, ethnicity, gender identity, race, religion and belief, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, and thought. Our community is dynamic and ever changing.

Respecting these differences is not enough, though, and we ensure an environment in which everyone can feel comfortable, heard, and included. We value inclusion because it makes us all stronger as a community. A diversity of worldviews challenges us to consider other points of view and is essential to a full education and the development of well-rounded future leaders.

To promote these values, we will ensure cultural intelligence and proficiency for all members of our community. We:
  • Incorporate cultural proficiency, diversity, global awareness, and inclusivity into all facets of the K-12 curricula and co-curricular activities.
  • Create opportunities for board, faculty, staff, student, and parent development and community education initiatives in these areas.
  • Ensure broad representation among students, faculty, staff, and administrators through recruitment and retention of candidates from underrepresented groups.
  • Challenge ourselves to continually reevaluate curricula, policies, and practices to ensure that we continue to grow and welcome all voices.

St. John’s only fulfills its mission when all community members feel included, safe, and empowered to fully participate in all aspects of community life.

Unanimously Approved by the St. John's School Board of Trustees on September 8, 2018

Strategic Plan

List of 4 items.

  • Goal 1: CREATE AN INCLUSIVE AND EQUITABLE CAMPUS CLIMATE

    Strategies:
    • Continue to refine the faculty advisor program within the context of each division to ensure that every student is “known and loved.”
    • Continue to develop and refine social and emotional learning  programs/curriculum across all three divisions that reinforce and emphasize for students the St. John’s cardinal precepts of care.
      • Continue to seek out existing and/or new national organizations that align with St. John’s School Statement of Community and Inclusion.
      • Specifically develop programming around the skill and mindset of “listening with empathy.”
    • Develop, sponsor, and promote “seminar” programs and workshops to be held at St. John’s that can foster dialogue and discussion over the critical issues related to strengthening community and inclusion policies and programs for both independent schools and other not-for-profit organizations.
      • Provide programming and experiences to encourage parent engagement in cultural competency.
    • Increase resources and commitment to becoming an established presence for faculty, staff, and students at the NAIS People of Color and Student Diversity Leadership Conference.
    • Board of Trustees will create a standing committee to address and monitor the School’s progress as related to the Community and Inclusion Strategic Plan and be a resource of support and feedback to the school administration in addressing issues related to community and inclusion.
    • Continue to examine school traditions, rituals, ceremonies, and other daily practices to insure that all students and parents feel welcomed and empowered to belong.
    • Continue to sustain, support, and empower student affinity groups in the Upper School, and the appropriate equivalent, in the Lower and Middle Schools with the intent that peer-to-peer relationships, dialogue, and discussions on matters related to community and inclusion can be a powerful teaching tool.
    • Identify and develop programming involving alumni (from underrepresented groups or otherwise) whose experiences and background provide inspiring examples that will support, promote, and strengthen the School’s community and inclusion efforts, including profiling their accomplishments on the website or in the Update magazine.
    • Examine ways to use the Alumni Board as a way to identify and engage alumni of color and alumni from other underrepresented groups with the long-term goal of achieving similar or higher diversity ratios as the Board of Trustees.
    • Coordinate and sponsor interactive educational training programming for St. John’s parents around issues of equity and inclusion especially as it relates to the values embedded within the St. John’s School Statement on Community and Inclusion.
  • Goal 2: RECRUIT, RETAIN, AND DEVELOP A DIVERSE COMMUNITY

    Strategies
    • Realign Admission Office personnel to allow greater outreach and access to those communities and families who might otherwise not consider St. John’s as a viable education option.
      • Ensure that support programs exist to successfully on-board and retain these students and families.
    • Continue to work toward the continued recruitment of a student body that reflects the diversity of Houston.
      • Promote our core values and the Statement on Community and Inclusion through effective storytelling and communication within and beyond the St. John’s community.
      • Continue to expand and explore mechanisms by which outreach and marketing can target underrepresented populations within our school community.
      • Examine the extent to which before and after school program offerings in Lower and Middle School are conducive to supporting the enrollment and retention of dual-working parents and/or single parents.
    • Develop new tools and strategies to improve the hiring and search processes for faculty and staff of color and those from underrepresented groups including building relationships between St. John’s community and local, regional, and national networks and organizations representing diverse constituencies.
      • Continue to revise, shape, and evaluate retention efforts for all faculty and staff, including faculty and staff of color as well as those from other underrepresented groups.
    • Include diversity, inclusion, and multicultural competency in appropriate faculty, staff, and administrator interview hiring questions.
    • Develop strategies and incentives to encourage all employees to participate in community and inclusion workshops, programming, and events.
    • Recruit continuously—not simply when there are openings. Maintain professional networks and make note of potential candidates from  underrepresented populations. When possible, work to build and develop relationships with those potential candidates.
  • Goal 3: SUPPORT INCLUSIVE AND INNOVATIVE TEACHING AND LEARNING

    Strategies
    • Define a St. John’s theoretical framework for multicultural education and distribute this framework to our community, explaining why we are valuing these goals.
      • Develop benchmarks to guide curriculum development and implementation progress based on the School’s theoretical framework for multicultural education.
    • Continue to develop and embed intellectual inquiry that will ensure that diversity, equity, and inclusion are foundational aspects of our educational program.
    • Continue to make the assessment of multi-cultural education teaching and learning a vital component of the School’s curricular and co-curricular audit program. Catalog specific recommendations related to cultural awareness and inclusivity and develop specific action programs to address those issues, and continue to test progress in these areas during the comprehensive audit programs.
    • Continue to support curriculum development and teaching to ensure it reflects a diverse range of experiences and includes a range of materials and viewpoints that represent a variety of viewpoints and peoples.
      • Create forums for faculty across all divisions to utilize in-house training to enhance awareness and understanding of best practices in regards to teaching within a diverse community.
      • Support and sponsor professional development activities that align with the School’s goals and vision for community and inclusion.
      • Support and provide on-going faculty training and guidance in directing controversial conversations within the classroom and allowing for further education/training on inclusive pedagogy.
    • Conduct all community and inclusion work related to teaching and instruction with the ideals of promoting and fostering a growth mindset, respect, and a commitment to ongoing learning.
  • Metrics and Reporting

    We are committed to holding ourselves accountable for achieving progress under this Board-approved Strategic Plan for Community and Inclusion. To that end, we will track—over time—metrics that represent important factors in measuring and calibrating  progress related to these written goals and objectives. The standing committee of the Board of Trustees dealing with issues related to community and inclusion will monitor the progress and implementation of this plan and serve as the formal report body to the larger Board of Trustees. In addition, we are committed to writing and publishing an annual report to our community which will provide specific updates on our progress. Finally, major progress will be evaluated at the end of a five-year and 10-year period with the entire community participating in the NAIS Assessment of Inclusivity and Multiculturalism (AIM) and benchmarking the degree of our progress against our ultimate goal of becoming an exemplary school on issues related to community and inclusion. A St. John’s Community and Inclusion audit will be added in a regular rotation of curricular
    audits that the School administers.

Non-Discrimination Policy

St. John's School seeks to attract qualified individuals of diverse backgrounds to its student body. Consequently, the School does not discriminate in admission or educational program versus any individual on the basis of sex, race, color, national or ethnic origin, sexual orientation, religion, or any other category protected by federal, state, or local law.

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