The Road Ahead
Windward’s DEI initiative continues to make strides from a programmatic standpoint. This past Summer, members of Windward’s Faculty and Staff attended the National Diversity Practitioners Institute facilitated by the Glasgow Group. The NDPI is one of the leading workshops on how to integrate DEI work into Independent Schools and create a culture where belonging matters.
Building on Phase One of Windward’s DEI Strategic Plan goal of collaborating with strategic partners to understand the depth and breadth of the work ahead, the team has partnered with Dr. Liza Talusan, PhD, Educator, facilitator, and strategic change partner for organizations, corporations, leadership teams, and schools. She led the DEI team in Affinity Space Facilitator Training in early August. Dr. Talusan has more than 25 year of experience in the K-12 sector and is an engaging facilitator in conversations about diversity, anti-racism, bias, privilege and power and creates environments that allow for people to discuss these difficult topics openly.
For the upcoming Admissions season, Windward has made it its mission to have its DEI team and Admissions team work closely together to ensure that the Windward student body reflects the racial and cultural diversity of the Greater Los Angeles area and the world.
The DEI team also plans to use affinity groups, open spaces, faculty collaboration time, parent coffees, and alumni meetings to amplify voices and create places of belonging, and to partner with all members of the community to ensure that community members feel seen and heard.
Open spaces are “opt-in” affinity spaces that occur once a month during seminar or community time. An affinity group provides a “brave space” in which its students and adults can explore issues of shared identity and experience and are afforded the opportunity to affirm their emotional and intellectual responses to being part of a distinct subset of the larger Windward community. These groups are an important tool for reducing the sense of isolation, discomfort, and marginalization many children and adults can feel even in the most progressive school communities.
The team is also excited to host its annual community event, Tales at the Table, on Thursday, October 6. Tales at the Table is the initiative’s cornerstone event, which was created in 2018 as a way to bring the Windward Community together for an evening to break bread and share in storytelling.
A central focus of the team for this year is to ensure that the Windward community has a firm grasp of what Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion means at Windward.
The team defines DIVERSITY as who we are. It is the acknowledgement and recognition of the myriad of ways we exist and show up in our community and in the world.
The team defines EQUITY as making sure that people have what they need to fully participate in school life and reach their greatest potential.
The team defines INCLUSION as taking every individual’s experience and identity into account in striving to create an environment in which all are honored, seen, feel safe, supported, and affirmed.
The team acknowledges that this work is ongoing and has adopted an “open door policy,” inviting all community members to partake in this important initiative throughout this school year and in the years to come.