In July of 2021, Marist High School hired LaToya Hayes, a 17 year veteran teacher at Marist High School, as the Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI). One of the many purposes of this role is to create opportunities for faculty, staff, and students to engage in meaningful cultural dialogue.
In September, we started the program “We Are One” which gives faculty and staff the opportunity to gather and discuss cultural topics. We are starting our third session this
week. Topics include: Building a Cultural Community, Implicit and Unconscious Bias, and Unpacking Your Own Biases.
Weekly, our teacher teams have been meeting to discuss professional development articles provided by our Director of DEI regarding building a cultural community in the classroom.
Student dialogue on similar cultural topics is set to begin in early November.
Through our commitment to DEI, Marist shares the following key definitions to understand how we as a community are working together to ensure inclusivity of all students, faculty, staff, parents, alumni, community members, and more.
“The range of human differences, including but not limited to race, ethnicity, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, social class, physical ability or attributes, religious or ethical values system, national origin, and political beliefs.” (Ferris State University)”
“The fair treatment, access, opportunity, and advancement for all people, while at the same time striving to identify and eliminate barriers that prevent the full participation of some groups. The principle of equity acknowledges that there are historically underserved and underrepresented populations and that fairness regarding these unbalanced conditions is necessary to provide equal opportunities to all groups.” (University of Washington)
“The act of creating an environment in which any individual or group will be welcomed, respected, supported and valued as a fully participating member.” (University of Washington)
Questions About Our DEI Work So Far
Who are we considering when we talk about diversity? Every person in the building is included.
What are we doing? Our goal is to improve the overall experience of each student by promoting cultural diversity and providing professional development on cultural competency. Thus far this we, we have been working and introducing the following:
- Opportunities for faculty and staff to engage in cultural and/or DEI conversations
- Opportunities for students to engage in cultural and/or DEI conversations
- Cultural celebrations and displays
When? We are currently in the process of initiating subtle, meaningful improvements that will be ongoing.
Where? Right here at Marist High School, on the South Side of Chicago.
Why? We want ALL students to succeed by feeling valued, seen and connected at Marist.
How? Our goal to improve diversity, equity, and inclusion at Marist will only be achieved by our collaborative efforts.
DEI Activities Since the Beginning of the School Year
We Are One
Started September 21st
53 minute sessions
We Are One –
1st Topic: Building Community/Relationships
2nd Topic: What is diversity, equity & inclusion?
What is implicit bias? How to challenge it?
3rd Topic: Checking Yourself for Bias in the Classroom/Rooting out Implicit Bias (Part 1)
4th Topic: Checking Yourself for Bias in the Classroom/Rooting out Implicit Bias (Part 2)
5th Topic: Defining & Identifying Microaggressions (current session) (Part 1)
6th Topic: Defining & Identifying Microaggressions in the Classroom (Part 2)
To create a safe space for faculty and staff to engage in brave conversations that improve/increase inclusivity and cultural awareness at Marist.
PD was provided by
Dr. Alice Prince
Microaggressions (student to student, teacher to student, teacher to teacher)
Tools for addressing microaggressions in the classroom
To increase the awareness of biases and microaggressions that occur in the classroom.
DEI Articles Shared w/Curriculum Coordinators
Topics have been or will be shared with the curriculum coordinators. Each cycle, articles are shared with the curriculum coordinators, and the curriculum coordinators share them with their respective departments. Then the articles are discussed during their department meetings.
Building Relationships with Students
Equity vs. Equality
Maximizing Student Voice
To provide best practices for creating and building a community that ensures all students are seen, heard and valued.
DEI Lessons for Students
(2) – 53 minute lessons)
DEI presentations will be shared with students.
The Power of Language
To increase cultural awareness
To emphasize the role that students play in building and maintaining a culture where everyone is seen, heard and valued
(Started in September)
1st Theme: Everyone Belongs/ Everyone is Welcome (Multicultural Hands Display)
2nd Theme: Hispanic Heritage Month (Frida Kahlo display/Highlighting Hispanic Excellence) (September/October)
3rd Theme: Indigenous Peoples Day / Native American Excellence (October/November)
4th Theme: Christmas Around the World
To increase cultural awareness
As the academic year and our work with DEI progresses, we look forward to sharing updates on our new blog. Stay tuned for more great work.