"Live in harmony, united together, all of one heart and one will." ~St. Angela Merici
Dear SHS Community,
Those timeless words spoken by St. Angela almost five centuries ago are enduring and fundamental principles that help guide us today.
Each year, as a campus we focus intently on one of our Ursuline Core Values. This year, quite fittingly, that value is Reverence - a deep and profound respect for others. This relates to our need to place emphasis on improving our culture of diversity, equity and inclusion here at SHS.
As promised, I would like to update you on the progress we've made thus far.
Starting my first day on campus, I met with the Black Student Union, Diversity Leadership Team and our recent graduates to listen and learn from our Sacred Heart Academy students about their experiences and perceptions.
From our students, I heard a need to be more purposeful and intentional in our commitment to understanding others. Following these conversations, I reached out to members of our SHS community as well as the greater Louisville community. Each meeting brought input and feedback for the next steps we as a campus need to implement in order to see true and meaningful change.
Along with these crucial conversations, I immediately formed an internal faculty and staff Diversity Leadership Team, where we have identified five areas of focus for our Diversity and Inclusion plan.
1. Multicultural Environment
Our students need to feel represented and welcomed when they are on campus. Our environment must reflect a safe space for all and a chance to see, learn and celebrate all cultures. We want our schools to mirror our students' cultures in our library, teaching materials and resources.
We are taking action in hiring new faculty and staff that represent all aspects of our community. We continue to seek board representatives and students that represent people of all backgrounds. 2. Curriculum Modifications
As an International Baccalaureate school, we strive for our students to be global leaders. We will review our curriculum to ensure an accurate account of history and religion as well as literature selections from a variety of authors. Forming compassionate leaders requires addressing the needs of our society and others.
3. Cultural Competency
We have created a St. Angela speaker series to continue educating our SHS community to be more culturally competent.
We began this school year by hosting Marian Vasser, a Diversity and Inclusion Practitioner from the University of Louisville, to speak to our faculty about Implicit Bias. SHS looks forward to working with Ms. Vasser throughout the rest of this school year as we continue to develop our Diversity and Inclusion initiatives.
In addition, Father John Judie and Annette Mandley-Turner, Executive Director of the Office of Multicultural Ministry for the Archdiocese of Louisville, shared with our SHA faculty insight on how to facilitate meaningful and necessary dialogue with students when it comes to racial inequity.
4. Student Support Services
We must provide resources that allow students to express their concerns, experiences and voices in a safe environment. We understand the events that have unfolded in our country over this past summer bring many questions and need to provide an outlet for students to talk about their feelings and their own racial experiences. SHS welcomes Ebony O'Rea who will support our students of color at SHA and serve as a moderator with the BSU each week.
The Jean Frazier Leadership Institute (JFLI) at SHS was created to empower leaders who seek to serve others and explore their own uniqueness they bring to the world. Through JFLI programs, students learn how to connect with others who differ from themselves. Our SHS students learn to be empathetic and compassionate leaders who will cross our global borders and collaborate with others from all over the world.
Our student leaders from the Diversity Leadership Team and the Black Student Union will be student ambassadors on the Board of Trustees Diversity and Inclusion committee providing a student perspective to our future work.
In the upcoming weeks, we will be working with Marian Vasser to develop workshops and professional development sessions to cater to the needs of faculty, staff and students. We are committed to moving forward and this year will be one of assessing our current programs, environment and faculty needs and starting the work in all five areas listed above. As we move into a year of self-reflection, SHS will align our strategic plan with our mission, with diversity and inclusion as a part of ALL SHS experiences for ALL our students. I invite you to participate in the future of SHS. I will share ways to give your input as we move forward with the strategic planning process.
I know our students need a more diverse environment and culture tethered with the leadership skills for them to succeed in a global society. SHS is committed to providing that education now and in the future.