Collegiate's Commitment to Diversity and Inclusion

Dear Collegiate Community, 
At a time when our community and country are grappling with a range of social justice issues, the Collegiate Board of Trustees and Head of School remain committed to our mission statement to create “a diverse and inclusive community of learners.”
Over the past two weeks, we have heard many alumni share painful events and conditions they experienced while attending Collegiate. It is important we acknowledge that these agonizing truths belong to all of us and that we address them. We must better live our mission so that everyone has a positive and fulfilling experience as part of our community.
That goal calls us to reject all forms of discrimination, bias or racism. We are committed to being an anti-racist institution. This requires intentional, immediate and long-term action. We are writing to tell you about our actions and plans on our path to racial justice.
Here is our multi-step action strategy:
Step 1  Immediate Actions Accomplished and Underway:
  • Racism Reporting Roles, Responsibilities and Remedial Actions: Enhance our processes and increase awareness of our policies and procedures for reporting instances of racism.
    • Clarify the roles that our administration, HR, honor council and discipline council play in combating racism in our community.
    • Communicate that all racial incidents and comments are to be promptly reported to the divisional director (or human resources if employees are involved) and the Head of School.
    • Reinforce that all reported acts of racism are promptly and thoroughly investigated in accordance with our policies, which are designed to protect confidentiality and prevent retribution. All founded cases of racist conduct are subject to prompt and effective remedial action and subject to disciplinary action, up to and including dismissal/discharge.
  • Off-Site Venue Assessment: Review all School-hosted events and their locations to ensure they foster a feeling of inclusivity.
  • Diversity & Inclusion Leadership Position: Add the existing Director of Inclusion, who is also the Director of Global Engagement, to the Academic Leadership Group effective immediately, to better foster communication and professional development from that office.
  • Inclusion Committee Elevation: Expand upon the resources and visibility of the School’s Inclusion Committee, with JK-12 faculty and staff representation.
  • Diversity & Inclusion Committee: Revise the Board’s bylaws to rename our standing Board committee on diversity and inclusion, previously called the Responsible Citizenship Committee, the Diversity & Inclusion (D&I) Committee.
  • Review of All Volunteer Boards: Retain professional counsel to review and recommend changes to the bylaws governing our volunteer boards, including the Board of Trustees, Alumni Board and Parents’ Association, with a view to ensuring that each group and its members fully align with the School’s mission.
  • Additional Faculty and Staff Training: Increase opportunities for faculty and staff training on diversity and inclusion topics.
  • Active Listening: Facilitate a deeper understanding of where our inclusivity efforts as a school are falling short and where we can grow our success through additional forums and direct outreach to alumni.
  • Support for Affinity Groups: Expand the scope and awareness of our affinity groups. These groups allow people who share an identity, usually marginalized, to talk in a safe space about issues related to that identity, with the goal of feeling more visible and more included in the community.
  • Third-Party Expert Advice and Training: Continue the recent engagement of our nationally recognized external consultant to work with all constituents and advise on our steps to achieve schoolwide justice, equity, diversity and inclusion (“JEDI”) goals as set forth below.
  • Curriculum Audit: Audit our curriculum and take swift steps to implement a more culturally inclusive curriculum and pedagogy JK-12.
  • Task Force on Civil Discourse: Promote the efforts of our new Task Force for Civil Discourse to facilitate constructive dialogue and equip our community with the skills to have continued productive dialogue and to make durable change.
These crucial immediate actions are foundational for our next steps for continuing D&I improvements.
Step 2 – Promptly Finalize our Diversity and Inclusion Action Plan:
In 2016, the Board developed diversity and inclusion policy pathways that now need modifications. The D&I Plan will be mission driven and align the entire Collegiate experience with our mission focus on inclusivity. We hired a national D&I expert to help facilitate this JEDI work and to solicit additional feedback and consider fresh perspectives. A new alumni and parent advisory group will focus on opportunities for our underrepresented students and families. Our focus areas include increasing diversity across the School and creating policies and practices that foster inclusion by addressing racial, ethnic and gender concerns. We will deliver a D&I plan by Oct. 1, 2020.
Step 3  Make Our D&I Work A Major Part of Our Long-range Strategic Plan and a Pillar of Our Ongoing Culture:
Last fall, we began a scheduled yearlong process to formulate our School’s long-range strategic plan. Required for accreditation, the strategic plan also serves as a strategic roadmap. From November 2019 through January 2020, more than 400 alumni, parents, students, and faculty and staff provided in-person feedback. This early work validated D&I as a major strategic pillar essential for an enduring future. A forthcoming community-wide survey will better inform our strategy development. The strategic plan will set our pathway to making Collegiate a better place for all students and a positive force in building a more just society. It will include measurable long-term goals and progress assessments for reaching them. We will deliver it by Dec. 31, 2020. 
Our long-term D&I work is critically important to the success of our graduates and the sustainability of our School. We must better prepare our students to positively impact the world as responsible citizens. As an institution, our long-term sustainability will be based, in part, on maintaining our relevance in an increasingly diverse and inclusive world.
Thank you to all who participated in our conversations during the last two weeks. Your involvement is helping Collegiate become a stronger, safer, more welcoming community and a positive force towards racial justice and equity.
Collegiate’s strength is our people. We must value and include each heart and mind. Your Board and Head of School are committed to ensuring that every person feels a true and meaningful sense of belonging in our Collegiate community.
John W. Martin ‘78, Chairman of the Board, Parent ‘10, ‘11
Michelle P. Wiltshire, Vice Chairman of the Board, Parent ‘07, ‘10
Frank F. Mountcastle III ’83, Immediate Past Chairman of the Board, Parent ‘14, ‘17, ‘21
Penny B. Evins, President/Head of School, Parent ‘22, ‘23
Ellen T. Bonbright ‘86, Trustee, Parent ‘24, ‘26
Callie Lacy Brackett ‘95, Trustee, Parent ‘22, ‘24
Mason T. Chapman ‘84, Trustee, Parent ‘22         
Jeffrey W. Congdon ‘78, Trustee, Parent ‘02, ‘05      
David A. Gallagher, Trustee, Parent ‘18, ‘24           
Eucharia N. Jackson, Trustee, Parent ‘17, ‘19
Michael S. Laming, Trustee, Parent ‘17, ‘19

Peter E. Mahoney, Sr., Trustee, Parent ‘15, ‘19, ‘26, ‘26 
Neelan A. Markel ‘96, Trustee, Parent ‘27, ‘30    
Morenike K. Miles, Trustee, Parent ‘24, ‘25
Carter M. Reid, Trustee, Parent ‘16, 18
Lisa E. Roday, Trustee, Parent ‘09, ‘10
Rita M. Ryan, Trustee, Parent ‘16, ‘18, ‘21, ‘22
Kenneth P. Ruscio, Trustee, Parent ‘08
Danielle D. Scott, Trustee, Parent ‘25, ‘25
L. Mark Stepanian ’89, Trustee, Parent ‘16, ‘18, ‘21, ‘23
Wallace Stettinius, Life Trustee, Parent ‘77, ‘79, ‘84, Grandparent
W. Hildebrandt Surgner, Jr., Trustee, Parent ‘11, ‘14, ‘17, ‘19

Rupa Tak, Trustee, Parent ‘27, ‘29
Robert S. Ukrop, Life Trustee, Parent ‘88, ‘89, ‘92, ‘95, Grandparent
R. Gregory Williams ‘69, Life Trustee, Parent ‘01, ‘04
Mayme Donohue Willis ‘03