Moving Forward Together as Brothers
Head of School Lee Burns ’87 sent an email to alumni, parents, and friends of McCallie updating them on steps being taken regarding the school’s diversity and inclusion work. He described the scope of the diversity and inclusion work in progress and shared information about faculty and staff workshops and training sessions planned for January of 2021 on racial diversity, systemic racism, and understanding the LGBTQ experience in America. His email is here.
Mr. Burns asked the various task force heads to submit summaries of their activities since the beginning of the school year. At Mr. Burns' instruction, the task force heads will also submit updates every two weeks of their activities which will be posted on the diversity and inclusion page on our website. In this first semester of their work, these task forces have largely focused on developing the trust and climates of their groups so that they can successfully engage in sensitive and difficult conversations together. They have also spent time defining their goals and objectives. All in all, over the course of this first semester, a lot of needs have been identified and many actions have been put into place. Task force summaries of the first semester can be found here.
The Moving Forward Together as Brothers initiative is currently addressing racial bias, prejudice, and inequity in our school community. The Belonging at McCallie initiative is focused on inclusion, particularly as it relates to identity and sexual orientation. In these beginning stages, these two issues have been organized separately but will overlap more and more as we take concrete action steps to more deeply understand the issues surrounding being a learning community that values diversity, respects everyone, and promotes equity and social justice for all. Being separated at this point has allowed Mr. Burns to focus on important work regarding identity and sexual orientation that needed to be done at the board level and to spend time listening to and talking with various student groups like the students on the Heads Council for Diversity, Inclusion, and Brotherhood, the students of the Black Student Union, and conversations with gay and bisexual students.
Highlights from work in progress include:
Faculty training sessions planned for early January on systemic racism and recognizing implicit biases as well as understanding the LGBTQ experience
A program called VOICE that enables students to share their stories, thoughts, ideas, and opinions on the topics of diversity and inclusion and post them for other students and faculty to read has been started
Five students attended the Student Diversity Leadership Conference in early December sponsored by the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) and three faculty members attended the NAIS People of Color Conference. This group is slated to meet with Mr. Burns to discuss the student training that will happen in the early spring
A comprehensive audit of how McCallie is perceived by diverse prospective students before deciding to apply and once they are in the admission process is underway
A review of the equitable and strategic application of financial aid to provide access to McCallie by diverse students is in process
A review of our current hiring practices for bias as well as research into new sources of recruiting diverse faculty and staff is in process
Focusing on the two primary entry grades, (6 and 9), a “foundations” course is being developed to create understanding of equity and social justice issues
Middle School students will partner with students from Chattanooga Preparatory Charter School for Boys in a character and leadership building program that was developed by Bob Eager ’63 in March
A student mentor program for current Black students by Black alumni will launch in January
See full task force summaries here.
Statement of Purpose
The purpose of the steering committee is to integrate information and insights from the task forces, measure progress, secure resources and funding, and manage overall communication of the initiative to various constituent groups. The steer committee meets with the task force leaders every two weeks to hear about the work of their group, offer suggestions, and facilitate connections between the task forces.
Lee Burns, Chair, Head of School
Kenny Sholl, Assistant Head of School
Steve Hearn, Vice President for Advancement
Jamie Baker, Director of Market Analysis and Strategic Messaging
Task Force Leaders