Over the weekend, our school committee and staff participated in a retreat to work on diversity and inclusion at Friends School. Facilitated by consultant Karen DeYoung, the weekend was planned to take the next step in our two-year study of who we are and who we want to be. Designed to follow up on the findings of the demographic study conducted last year, and the diversity study done this year, the board and staff set aside time to consider all the findings and think about next steps.

Karen DeYoung led FSM discussions about diversity and inclusion using Appreciative Inquiry – a method which focuses on increasing what an organisation does well.

On Saturday, we first reviewed the series of studies and efforts that have brought us to this point, and then discussed several queries, including:

  • How does Friends School define diversity?
  • Is there a class divide at Friends School?
  • How does FSM recruit and retain a diverse staff?

School committee members spent the night and were joined Sunday morning by administrative staff to continue to explore queries related to political diversity, our governing board, recruitment and admissions, and tuition aid.

Friends School of Minnesota staff joined our School Committee to discuss diversity and inclusion.

Next steps are for the Equity and Justice Committee to draft a “diversity and inclusion statement” that represents our vision for FSM, and attaches some clear goals and benchmarks. The committee will also propose a method to ensure ongoing reflection and focus on diversity and inclusion. We will use the statement to guide our thinking and actions related to policy and program.

I am tremendously grateful for the work of all of us, through focus groups, surveys, committees, conversations, and for the time and space to truly dig into these issues and topics that we clearly care deeply about. We are taking the time and using a thoughtful, inclusive process, to guide us into living our mission.

Stay tuned!