Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

At Park, we believe that Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion work belongs to everyone. Through academic, co-curricular, and institution-wide programming, DEI at Park seeks to center, support and elevate the lived experiences of community members. We overlay this work with a deliberate commitment to social justice and the ultimate goal of true belonging for all. 

Mission Statement

Approved by the Board of Trustees, January 2018

At The Park School of Baltimore, the work of diversity, equity, and inclusion is the responsibility of every member of the community; the benefits of that work are an enriched society, a thriving community, and a brighter future for each individual.

Park commits to fostering a diverse, equitable, and inclusive environment for learning and living. We seek to ensure that all aspects of school life — including curriculum, admission, retention, hiring practices, and support for students, families, and employees — reflect our commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion, and will be diligently assessed and actively supported.

We recognize that our school exists in an ever-changing world, and that our understanding of, and support for, diversity, equity, and inclusion must grow and evolve. We bring students, families, employees, and guests of different backgrounds and experiences together to engage constructively in the life of the school and society. Learning at Park involves listening to and working with others, considering and embracing different points of view, and empathizing with and understanding multiple perspectives. Through open, honest dialogue and active, ongoing inquiry in an authentically diverse context, all members of our community gain awareness, wisdom, and the capacity to act as responsible, engaged citizens.

The Park School continually works in support of a diverse community of students, families, and employees while engaging in the many issues inherent to sustaining a genuinely equitable and inclusive environment for learning. In 2012, the Board of Trustees made diversity a key area of focus in the Strategic Plan to Launch the School’s Second Century, and approved a Board Statement on Diversity. These steps, shared with the community on the occasion of our Centennial, acknowledged our rich, 100-year history, and communicated clear priorities for the years to come. Further, the Strategic Plan elucidated specific diversity, equity, and inclusion action items involving personnel, hiring practices, professional development, curricular and co-curricular offerings, school culture — and even the creation of the Statement above.

Through The Partners Program at Park, Upper and Middle School students establish friendships with Lower School students of color in weekly meetings and Partners-wide events.

The Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

The Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion supports developing the tools and language needed to create a culturally competent institution able to effectively analyze, address, and advocate for diversity, equity, and inclusion within and outside the Park School. The office includes the Director of DEI and the DEI Fellow.

Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Akira Townes ’13


Lower, Middle, and Upper School Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Coordinators

A group of faculty and administrators support the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion through planning, consulting, designing programs and initiatives. The coordinators regularly meet to discuss division and cross divisional experiences through the lens of DEI.

LOWER SCHOOL COORDINATORS: Christina Cubera ’10, Adebukola Adelugba, and Yazmine Fleming

MIDDLE SCHOOL COORDINATORS: Paul Worley and Heather Freas-Kostic

UPPER SCHOOL COORDINATORS: Elliott Huntsman and Garrett Ruley

OUR PROGRAMS

Student Programming

Partners at Park Program

The Partners at Park program traditionally pairs Lower School students of color with Upper School students.  At times the program has been extended to include Middle School students or other students from historically marginalized populations in our school. 

The program reflects the school’s commitment to supporting and affirming our students as we embrace the true diversity within our community. We have found that students of color may feel isolated when they are in a visible minority; an older buddy can make all the difference in helping students become more comfortable at Park, thus enabling them to share their unique gifts and talents with all.  The Partners at Park Program has allowed children to build friendships with students across divisions and has given students of color a stronger voice within our school.

Lower School Affinity Groups

In addition to affinity gatherings for Black and Black/Bi-racial students, the Lower School is excited to expand affinity gatherings this Spring to include opportunities for Asian American, Pacific Islander, and Latinx students to gather together to build community, engender support, and promote inclusivity and sense of belonging. Currently, the affinity groups meet on a 4 week rotation and will expand as the needs of our community change.

Middle School Triple AAA Program

As our students prepare to inherit and impact their world, we believe it is important to provide opportunities for them to think deeply about the intersections of identity, culture, equity, and inclusion. Our AAA (Affinity, Allyship, Advocacy) Program provides another structured space, within the middle school curriculum, to explore these dynamic and impactful concepts.  The AAA program uses affinity group spaces and cross group experiences to facilitate explorations of identity and culture to help encourage allyship and self-advocacy within our community.

An affinity group is a gathering of people who share a particular cultural identity.  Affinity groups provide an opportunity for students to explore and affirm a shared cultural identifier such as race/ethnicity, religion, family structure, or gender (borrowed from National Association of Independent Schools list of cultural identifiers). Examples of affinity groups at Park are the Hispanic-Latinx Coalition and the Eye to Eye Program.  Affinity groups are facilitated by Park faculty/staff leaders who share that identity.  

An alliance group is composed of people who share a common commitment to support and stand in solidarity with a cultural identifier group. Alliance group members do not necessarily need to self-identify with the cultural identity being explored.  An example of an alliance group at Park is the Gay and Straight Alliance. 

An advocacy group is composed of people who share a common commitment to take action for a particular cause or social justice movement. An example of an advocacy group at Park is our ongoing partnership with the Youth Empowered Society (YES). 

Upper School Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Course

Building off of course work from previous academic years, the Upper School relaunched the Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion (DEI) course for all students.  Upper School faculty are participating in the course as facilitators.  The new curriculum allows students to explore and discuss topics such as intersectionality, positionality, shaping societal norms, and beyond with their peers through media and other forums. The course standards are derived from the Learning for Justice Anti Bias Standards. As the discourse of DEI is constantly changing, the overall goal of this course is to give students the tools and experience with engaging in topics of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in order to prepare them to have these conversations once they have graduated.

Upper Affinity Groups

In the Upper School, affinity groups are student led and usually meet weekly. Throughout the years, Park has had a Black Female Forum, a Black Male Forum, a Jewish affinity group, and as well as an affinity space for our LGBTQIA+ students. As our community has transformed and diversified, affinity groups have expanded to include spaces for Asian American, Pacific Islander, Latinx, and Multiracial students to build community and create a space of solidarity amongst themselves.

Faculty and Staff Programming

Learning for Justice Standards

The Social Justice Standards are a road map for anti-bias education at every stage of K–12 instruction. Comprised of anchor standards and age-appropriate learning outcomes, the Standards provide a common language and organizational structure educators can use to guide curriculum development and make schools more just and equitable.

Divided into four domains—identity, diversity, justice and action (IDJA)—the Standards recognize that, in today’s diverse classrooms, students need knowledge and skills related to both prejudice reduction and collective action. Together, these domains represent a continuum of engagement in anti-bias, multicultural and social justice education. The IDJA domains are based on Louise Derman-Sparks’ four goals for anti-bias education in early childhood. (learningforjustice.org)

Culturally Responsive Teaching and The Brain

Park faculty and academic administrators read and implement the data-driven work by Zaretta Hammond. This foundational book draws on neuroscience research to support the designing of culturally responsive instruction in each classroom, which facilitates the deeper learning and engagement of all Park students. (crtandthebrain.com)

Parent and Families Programming

Parent Affinity Groups 

Affinity groups are groups of people linked by a common identity, interest, or purpose. Park Parent Affinity Groups are designed to facilitate the following:

  • Discuss issues that support Park’s diversity, equity, and inclusion goals and priorities
  • Hold space to identify issues relevant to and through the lens of group participants
  • Build capacity for cross group dialogue and more inclusive spaces
  • Connect issues relevant to the groups to the larger community

DEI Events

December 08
Partners Breakfast Club
8:00 AM-8:30 AM
January 12
Partners Breakfast Club
8:00 AM-8:30 AM
February 09
Partners Breakfast Club
8:00 AM-8:30 AM
Park School held our first annual Holi color run on April 30, 2022.

Resources


Partners Events

EventDateTimeLocation
Partners Kick-off Celebration09/10/20221-2:30 p.m.Lower School Playground
Partners Breakfast Club10/13/20228-8:30 a.m.Davison Lobby
Partners Thanksgiving11/21/20226-7:30 p.m.Cafeteria
Breakfast Club12/08/20228-8:30 a.m.Davison Lobby
Breakfast Club01/12/20238-8:30 a.m.Davison Lobby
Breakfast Club02/09/20238-8:30 a.m.Davison Lobby
Breakfast Club03/02/20238-8:30 a.m.Davison Lobby
Breakfast Club04/13/20238-8:30 a.m.Davison Lobby
Holi Color Run04/15/202311 a.m.- 2 p.m.TBD
Partners Breakfast Club05/11/20238-8:30 a.m.Davison Lobby
End of Year Pool Party!06/01/20233-4:30 p.m.Athletic Center Pool

Partners Applications

The application must be filled out by September 6, 2022.

Definitions

Attitudes or stereotypes that affect our understanding, actions, and decisions in an unconscious manner (kirwaninstitute.osu.edu)

Systems of oppression that overlap to create distinct experiences for people with multiple identity categories, such as race, gender, sexuality, nationality, class, and many more. This term was first coined by legal scholar Kimberlé Crenshaw in 1989.

Microaggressions are the everyday verbal, nonverbal, and environmental slights, snubs, or insults, whether intentional or unintentional, which communicate hostile, derogatory, or negative messages to target persons based solely upon their marginalized group membership. (Dr. Derald Wing Sue)

Diversity is focused on numbers, categories, representation, and differences. These categories can include identities such as race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, family structure, dis/ability and many more. However, numbers do not mean that people feel or are treated a particular way; it just means they are there. (Dr. Liza Talusan, PhD)

Equity is a set of conditions that addresses structural issues: policies, practices, programs, procedures, and traditions. Equity is examining the barriers that people and communities face to having access. However, equity is not a one-size fits all approach; instead, equity requires that different people and communities may need different things in order to be successful. (Dr. Liza Talusan, PhD) 

Inclusion is a set of behaviors that invites people into an environment and experience. It is an action that is brought on by those with agency to invite others in. Inclusion might look like asking people to contribute their ideas or thoughts to a discussion. It might also look like making sure an environment is welcoming. However, just because someone is included does not necessarily mean they are treated as if they belong. (Dr. Liza Talusan, PhD) 

Justice is a redistribution of power and risk. A justice-based approach requires that those most marginalized and most minoritized are in decision making positions with full agency to make decisions that impact their outcomes. Justice requires that conflict is central to the work and that those involved can navigate and address conflict productively, with those most marginalized and minoritized at the center.  (Dr. Liza Talusan, PhD) 

Belonging is the culmination of diversity, inclusion, and equity in which different people and communities are invited in and experience real agency because the structural barriers have been removed. Belonging results from people and communities not only being able to be their full selves but also there are structures (e.g., policies, practices, programs, procedures, and traditions) that provide opportunities for them to be. (Dr. Liza Talusan, PhD) 


Communications from the Office of DEI and The Head of School

Anti-Racism Action Plan Update
A video update from Head of School Dan Paradis and Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Courtney Rollins, May 11, 2021.

Anti-Racism Action Plan Update
A letter to the Park community from Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Courtney Rollins, November 13, 2020.

Anti-Racism Action Plan: A Letter from the Head of School and Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
A letter to the Park community from Head of School Dan Paradis and Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Courtney Rollins, September 9, 2020.

A Message from the Head of School
A letter to the Park community from Head of School Dan Paradis, September 2, 2020.

Creating an Anti-Racist School: Head of School’s Charge to Employees
Head of School Dan Paradis delivered a charge to all Park School employees as we launched the 2020-21 school year, August 31, 2020.

A Message from the Board of Trustees
A letter to the Park community from the Board of Trustees, July 2, 2020.

A Message from the Head of School
A letter to the Park community from Head of School Dan Paradis, June 19, 2020.

A Message from the Head of School
A letter to the Park community from Head of School Dan Paradis, June 3, 2020.