Institutional Initiatives

Being Responsive to  Community Feedback: School-Wide Assessment and Metrics
The Hockaday 360 research project we undertook last year has provided us with detailed comments and feedback about student and alumnae experiences at Hockaday and their perceptions of our School culture. In addition, community members submitted many personal stories during the summer. We will develop a summary of this feedback and share with faculty and staff later this fall to help inform their practices. 

This academic year, Hockaday will participate in the National Association of Independent Schools’ Assessment of Inclusivity and Multiculturalism (AIM) survey. The data from this survey will provide us with deeper insight and understanding of our climate of inclusion, and in concert with the Hockaday 360 data, will help to inform and enhance our strategic equity goals. This is an important component of being an organization that is self-reflective and committed to continuous improvement.

Program Inventory
We have developed a framework for school-wide  inventory of our existing efforts that support diversity, equity, and inclusion and have begun to assemble a preliminary list. Faculty and staff will be asked to contribute to this inventory during the next Fall In-Service. We are aiming to publish the results early in 2021.

Curricular Review
Assistant Head of School for Academic Affairs Laura Leathers and Director of Inclusion and Community Tresa Wilson have begun to investigate best practices for curricular review, and we expect to launch a formal process later this year that will continue into the 2021-22 Academic Year. In the meantime, preliminary changes have been made to specific course content where we received significant community feedback.

Alumnae Engagement
Director of Alumnae Relations Amy Spence ’87, Alumnae President Isabell Novakov Higginbotham ’98, and other members of Hockaday Alumnae Association’s leadership have continued to meet with the Alumnae Association Board of Directors, Affinity and Special Interest Group Coordinators, and individual alumnae who have come forward to advocate and express interest in this work. As a result, Marlena Reese McKnight ’99 is coordinating a new Alumnae Mentoring Program for Black alumnae and students that is called “Black Daisy Circles,” and this exciting new program will be piloted this fall. 

Alumnae in the Class of 1977 have been making contributions to their Class of 1977 Endowment Fund, which supports our Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion programs and initiatives. Dr. Ann Bateson ’63 has also established The Carol Ann Bateson Endowed Financial Aid Fund, which will provide financial aid to Black students and other students of color who qualify for aid.

In addition, we continue to update the Alumnae section on the website and Resource Board to share information about our Affinity and Special Interest Groups.

Faculty and Staff Recruitment
The Board of Trustees and the Leadership Team are strongly committed to enhancing the diversity of our School leadership, faculty, staff, and student body. As outlined in our strategic plan, The Hockaday Difference, we are committed to sustaining a culture of genuine inclusion throughout our entire community, and one important component of this is making sure that we have a diverse student body and workforce.  While we have more work to do, we have made great progress over the last several years in attracting individuals with diverse backgrounds who bring their talents and enriching perspectives to our campus community.

Admissions Recruitment
Tiffany Nelson, Director of Admission and Enrollment Management, is working with her team to develop a strategic enrollment management plan that enhances our efforts to enroll a diverse student body. Additionally, the office works to ensure there is implicit bias education and training during the Admission process for all committee members involved in the applicant review process. Nelson has also convened an advisory group and will have more information to share as the plan develops.

Goal Setting
Every administrator, faculty, and staff member has been asked to establish one or more concrete goals for this year that advance our equity and inclusion work. They will receive professional development on how to set effective goals and will have a chance to do more work on this as a group during the next Fall In-Service.

DEI Resource Guides
In addition to a community-wide resource list, divisional teams have developed age-appropriate resource lists (books, readings, articles, videos, etc.) for parents and students.

Lower School Programming
Head of Lower School Randal Rhodus ’97 and Director of Inclusion and Community Tresa Wilson have begun meeting with potential partners for developmentally appropriate curriculum and programming related to racial literacy and anti-bias. We will have more to share about this after we have fully vetted these external groups.

Professional Development for Faculty and Staff
During the extended August In-Service, faculty and staff provided insights from their summer reading and participated in several sessions including:
  • “The Path Toward Teacher Wellness,” with Momentous Institute
  • “Facilitating Online Discussions & Engaging with the 2020 Election,” with Close Up
  • “If Elephants Could Talk: Racial Literacy for Racially Stressful Encounters in Schools,” with Dr. Howard Stevenson
  • “Civic Engagement: How to Have Courageous Conversations about Political Landmines,” with Dr. Rodney Glasgow 
We will continue to build on this foundation by bringing back these and other speakers and trainers throughout the year to engage with our faculty and staff.

Character and Courtesy Education Series
The Character and Courtesy Education Series is a school-wide commitment based upon the Four Cornerstones that is designed to meet the needs of the student body at age-appropriate levels with a focus on identity development and cultural competence. The theme for the 2020-2021 Academic Year is developing one's ability to resolve conflict across differences and hold courageous conversations throughout our daily interactions both inside and outside of the school community.

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