Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at Redwood Day

by John Loeser
Welcome back! I hope you’ve all enjoyed Winter Break, and that you found downtime to relax and rejuvenate with family and friends. As we all prepare ourselves for the routines of returning back to school, I write today with some exciting updates regarding the work we are doing around Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) at Redwood Day. Under the leadership of the Diversity Committee of the Board of Trustees, the Diversity Steering Committee of the School, and Director of Equity and Inclusion Meredith Spencer, our community continues to ask the hard and necessary questions to keep the ball continually moving forward to advance our DEI efforts. Below is a snapshot of some developments since the start of the school year:

Diversity Strategic Plan

When Our Next Reach (our school’s current Strategic Plan) was in the development stages, the Strategic Planning Committee of the Board of Trustees focused on ensuring that DEI was a central pillar of the plan, inseparable from the academics and social and emotional well-being of our students. Once published, the Diversity Committee of the Board of Trustees used feedback from students, faculty/staff, and parents/guardians and spent the entire following school year diving deeper into the specifics of how we will bring the DEI components of Our Next Reach to life. We are proud to unveil our Diversity Strategic Plan (DSP). During its development stages, the DSP has already been guiding our efforts over the past year and will continue to do so as we look out to 2022.

New Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Page on our Website

To better communicate our efforts, we just launched a new DEI section of our website. This section describes our vision, philosophy, goals, and approach to this work with students and adults. Please check back frequently for DEI spotlights from the classroom and to read essays written by community members sharing about different aspects of their identity.

Redwood Day Speaker Series: Talking About Race: Tools You Can Use

This Thursday, January 10, we look forward to welcoming you to an interactive workshop facilitated by Serian Strauss and Adhamh Roland. At this workshop, parents will learn how to talk about race with children, gain practical tools to strengthen communication and ally skills, learn how to continue classroom conversations about race at home, and participate in our first race-based parent affinity groups. For more information about this workshop, click here. This event is free and open to adults in the Redwood Day community. Limited childcare is available for school-age children with registration. The deadline to register has been extended to Wednesday, January 9. REGISTER TODAY!

Parent/Guardian Affinity Groups

Under Meredith Spencer’s leadership, we are excited to launch our first parent/guardian affinity groups. Hopefully, you had a chance to attend one of our DEI sessions in the fall sponsored by the PGA, in which Meredith led the community through an affinity experience. Our intent is to offer parents and guardians an experience similar to our equity and inclusion/affinity groups with students and to provide support, connection, and affirmation for the following underrepresented groups at Redwood Day:
  • Asian/Pacific Islander/Desi American Heritage
  • Black/African American Heritage
  • Hispanic/Latino/a/x Heritage
  • LGBTQ+
  • Multiracial Heritage
  • Neurodiversity
Meetings will be held on February 7, March 14, April 4, and May 30. Please keep an eye out in The Redwood Day Weekly for meeting times and locations and registration information.

We’ve made great progress this year, and our work continues! I would like to recognize and thank members of the Diversity Committee of the Board of Trustees and the Diversity Steering Committee of the School for their leadership, guidance, and support as our community works together to become an even more diverse, equitable, and inclusive space for all.

Diversity Committee of the Board of Trustees
Diversity Steering Committee of the School
Steve Barretto, Chair (2017-18)
Denise Breland
Alicia Fenrick (2017-18)
Rebecca Denison
John Loeser, Head of School
Rachel Harris
Leah McGowen-Hare
Thelma Lancaster
Andi Owen (2017-18)
Katrina Lappin
Charles Soulis
Pica Lockwood
Meredith Spencer, Director of Equity and Inclusion
John Loeser
Monica Stevens, Chair (2018-19)
Jorie McDonald (2017-18)
Bryant Terry
Liz Price Patel
Audrey Yamamoto
Rhonda Smith
Meredith Spencer, Chair
Selma Quemada Valenzuela (2017-18)
Haroon Tahir

Welcome back, and here’s to a great 2019!