- Commitment to Anti-Racism, Equity & Belonging
- Diversity & Inclusion Board Committee
- Director of Diversity & Inclusion
- Strategic Plan
Adopted by the Trinity Board of Trustees March 12, 2021
At Trinity Episcopal School, we believe that racism is wrong and that honoring diversity means embracing both the visible and invisible differences of all people, including but not limited to race, culture, religion, socioeconomic status, perspectives, ability, education, family composition, sex, gender identity, and sexual orientation. We believe all students, families, faculty, and staff should feel welcome and honored. This belief is firmly rooted in our mission statement when we say, “We are all children of God.”
In accordance with Trinity Episcopal School’s mission and core values, Episcopal Identity, and the National Association of Episcopal School’s Principles of Good Practice for Equity and Justice (NAES PGPEJ), we respect and uphold the diversity and life experiences in our Trinity community. We believe these differences are “sources of strength that build-up common life, deepen our common humanity, and enhance the intellectual, social, spiritual, and moral development of all students.” (NAES PGPEJ).
The Baptismal Covenant of the Episcopal Church calls us to “strive for justice and peace among all people, and respect the dignity of every human being,” and therefore, we believe injustice to one is an injustice to all. The visible racial injustices that we have witnessed historically in our country and during the summer of 2020 remind us that we must all actively work for justice and equity. We are also mindful that we have implicit bias and made our own missteps. We pledge to do better. We will lean on our community, including faculty, staff, parents, students, and alumni to hold us accountable to our pledge. In order to promote and support a safe, welcoming, nurturing, and inclusive learning community at Trinity, we, the Board of Trustees, commit to the following:
- We believe all forms of racism and inequity are the antithesis of our school’s mission and core values.
- We reaffirm our commitment to our core value of a Diverse Community. We direct and fully support our Head of School to consistently and holistically lead the school in all appropriate anti-racist, diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts including, but not limited to work involving curriculum; recruitment and retention of diverse faculty, staff, and students.
- We commit to identifying, challenging, and dismantling any policies, procedures, and practices that perpetuate racism and inequity.
- We will participate in annual anti-racism diversity, equity, and inclusion training.
We, the Trinity Board of Trustees, will work to ensure our school is a place where all community members feel safe, secure, and respected. Conversations around race, diversity, equity, and inclusion can be sensitive and complex. We will integrate and model a growth mindset in our work. We want everyone to bring their whole selves to our campus, and we commit to creating and sustaining a fully supportive environment where all students, parents, staff, and faculty feel welcome.
The Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) Committee has the responsibility to support the ongoing efforts to implement Trinity’s Diversity and Inclusion Strategic Plan. The task of the D&I committee is to support the Head of School and Director of Diversity and Inclusion in their efforts to ensure that diversity and inclusion are woven seamlessly into every aspect of school life at Trinity, and that its families, faculty and staff, and community partners comprise a dynamic and richly diverse educational environment. Consistent with the school’s mission and core values, Episcopal Identity, and the National Association of Episcopal Schools Principles of Equity and Justice, Trinity’s D&I Committee envisions a learning environment that nurtures a greater understanding of the commonalities and differences in the Trinity community as well as the larger global community.
The D&I Chair works closely with the Head of School, the Director of Diversity and Inclusion, and the Board of Trustees. The Chair informs the Board regarding the activities of the D&I committee as well as current and planned D&I events and professional development by providing an update at Board meetings. The D&I Committee meets approximately four times during the school year as well as on an ad-hoc basis.
Annually review the progress of the implementation of Trinity’s Diversity and Inclusion Plan
Encourage and help forge partnerships with people, schools, and organizations in Austin.
Support the Head of School and Director of Diversity and Inclusion in the implementation of the D&I Strategic Plan.
Sandra Brown, Trustee; D&I Committee Chair; Community Philanthropist
Marwin Brown, Trustee;; Business Intelligence & Analytics Lead, Shire Healthcare Group
Mrinalini Date, Trustee; Associate Professor and Chief of Endocrinology, UT Dell Medical School Medical Director, Chronic Disease Management and Virtual Care, Seton Family of Hospitals
Shelly Bain, Board Chair; Community Philanthropist
Anne Harrington, Parent
Leyla Abou-Samra, Parent
Jennifer Morgan, Head of School
Viji Panda, Director of Diversity and Inclusion
Director of Diversity & Inclusion
The Director of Diversity and Inclusion supports and advances Trinity’s Diversity and Inclusion efforts as defined by our mission and core values. Using our Diversity and Inclusion Strategic Plan as a guide and the NAES Principles of Good Practice for Equity & Justice, the director of diversity and inclusions works with the board of trustees, faculty, and staff to ensure that diversity and inclusion are integrated throughout the school. The director of diversity and inclusion serves on Trinity’s leadership team.
Promoting Intellectual Curiosity, Spiritual Growth and a Strong Community
We believe diversity embraces both the visible and invisible differences among individuals including, but not limited to, race, culture, religion, socioeconomic status, perspectives, physical ability, education, family composition, sex, gender identity and sexual orientation. We believe a diverse and inclusive community is essential to a well-rounded education that promotes intellectual curiosity, academic excellence and moral growth. For our children to be successful and productive citizens in our ever-changing world, they must learn to explore, understand and value others in a safe, nurturing and diverse environment. With this foundation, our students are prepared to think critically, collaborate effectively and lead as they navigate the world beyond Trinity.
So, how does diversity and inclusion benefit our students? Scientific American published an article, “How Diversity Makes Us Smarter,” which determined “being around people who are different from us makes us more creative, more diligent, and harder-working.” We become more empathetic and better problem solvers, plus, “if you want to build teams or organizations capable of innovating, you need diversity." Since our founding in 1999, we have worked hard to build a diverse and inclusive community—one that is strengthened by our similarities and differences, and where the dignity of every member of our community is respected. We intentionally honors its commitment to diversity and inclusion through institutional policies, a curriculum that integrates multiculturalism, ideals of equity and justice, professional development for faculty and staff, programs, community service and Chapel. While we have made great strides, we can build on this good work by adopting a strategic plan for diversity and inclusion that is consistent with the school’s overall strategic work. This plan must reflect our mission and core values while holding us accountable for achieving our goals.
The development of this Diversity and Inclusion Strategic Plan is the result of several key steps. First, the board of trustees created a Diversity Task Force to explore diversity and inclusion at Trinity. Next, we conducted the NAIS (National Association of Independent Schools) Assessment of Inclusivity and Multiculturalism (AIM) survey to gauge our current diversity-and-inclusion climate. Then, we formed a Diversity and Inclusion Strategic Planning Committee consisting of the Diversity Task Force and additional parents, faculty, administrative leaders and trustees. The committee identified three areas of strategic focus: communication, cultural competency skill development, and faculty and staff hiring. All three topics are interconnected and essential to enhancing the quality of the Trinity experience for all, and for positively impacting the retention and recruitment of diverse students, families, faculty and staff.
- Create a Dynamic Communication Plan
- Develop Cultural Competency Skills
- Emphasize Diversity in Hiring Efforts
Create a dynamic communication plan to highlight the synergy between the Episcopal identity and diversity and inclusion.
- Define, name and claim both the visible and invisible elements of the Episcopal Identity.
- Develop clear and consistent language in conjunction with the school’s overall strategic plan around Trinity’s Episcopal Identity and how it drives all that we do as an Episcopal school.
- Collect stories by leveraging existing and alumni families from all demographic groups to tell their Trinity story and why diversity and inclusion is so important.
- Develop a concise and strong message about why diversity and inclusion is a vital element of Trinity’s Episcopal Identity.
- Identify a large number of messengers and equip them with the concise and powerful message.
- Align our diversity and inclusion message from first contact with Admission all the way through to graduation.
- Review and revise content related to diversity and the Episcopal Identity on Trinity’s website and printed materials for consistency.
- Design new ways of efficient internal and external communication with one consistent voice that integrates the Episcopal Identity in everything we do.
- Highlight our commitment to diversity and inclusion as well as Trinity’s other core values to communicate their connection and why they are all essential to high-quality student outcomes.
- Continue to develop and refine our outreach and marketing strategies.
Identify, define and develop the skills needed to create classroom environments and curricula in which multiple perspectives, experiences and a broad diversity of people are represented.
- Develop curricula in which multiple perspectives, experiences and diverse people are represented to prepare students to navigate, collaborate and lead in a diverse world.
- Require cultural-competence development for all employees and trustees.
- Provide programming and experiences to encourage parent engagement in cultural competency.
- Develop a scope and sequence for cultural competence development for faculty, staff and trustees that highlight authentic respect for others.
- Model listening and having difficult conversations.
- Address the intent and impact of language in and out of the classroom.
- Provide opportunities for faculty to share with colleagues their ideas and experiences with diversity and inclusion work in accordance with best practices.
Recruit, retain and support faculty of the highest quality by emphasizing excellence and all aspects of diversity in all hiring decisions.
- Re-evaluate current hiring systems and continue to improve the recruitment and hiring process to increase the diversity of the faculty and staff.
- Develop and build relationships between the Trinity community and local networks and organizations that represent diverse constituencies.
- Continue to monitor faculty and staff demographics.
- Evaluate and develop necessary systems that support the retention of a diverse faculty.
- Survey current faculty to understand their Trinity experience in order to improve our practices by building on success and addressing concerns.