Dalton News

DEI Monthly News/Update

Each month, the DEI office will share an update on current programming, projects, and initiatives.
The DEI office will provide information on the development of programming for students, DEI workshops for faculty and staff, Parent and Alumni engagements, and what they’ve been up to as a team. Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion involves the entire Dalton community, and DEI staff look forward to working with each member of the Dalton community. 

DEI Programming and Initiatives
This section provides a brief description of a few DEI programs and initiatives that are currently in the works. 

Student and Adult Affinity and Identity Programming: As part of our identity work, the students, faculty, and staff will participate in affinity, identity, and accountability lessons and group sessions throughout this year. In preparation for these sessions, the facilitators have participated in training sessions with Dr. Liza Talusan, Benny Vasquez, and Randy Clancy in order to be well equipped to guide the affinity and accountability discussions. The training sessions have been lively, informative, and enlightening for the facilitators and have provided essential tools and insights into facilitating affinity and identity-based discussions.

Anti-Racism Statements: In addition to the school’s stated commitment to anti-racism, each academic department and High School House has been working on its own anti-racism statements. These statements are intended to provide specified accountability to each group as they center anti-racism in their respective area of the school. The departments have developed their pedagogical and curricular goals, and the HS Houses have discussed what it means to be anti-racist and how each individual will contribute to creating an anti-racist community within their House.

Alumni Mentoring Program: We've partnered with the Advancement and Alumni Relations Office to expand and relaunch the program. The mission and vision is to deepen the understanding of BIPOC student and alumni needs and expand the reach and intention of the program.

MS Psychologist Dr. Keba Rogers led training sessions for the mentors and will be hosting a BIPOC Alumni Mentoring Program Kick-Off Event on Tuesday, November 17 from 6:00-7:30 PM. The program for the event includes:
    • An introduction and remarks from Dalton Admin and Program Coordinators.
    • Small group activities to offer connection for students and Alumni.
    • Short presentation overview of the program plan throughout this school year.
Expanding on the program as it currently exists, young alumni will now have the opportunity to formally connect with older alumni mentors. Additionally, more alumni have expressed interest in being a mentor so the programming will reflect the type of support that the alumni community can offer. As we move into the school year, we will establish mentor and buddy programming connecting older and younger students. More to come!

What has the DEI Team been up to?
This section provides an inside peek at the work of the members of the DEI team and key partners and contributors.

The DEI Office has participated in several school events these past weeks. In September, during Opening Days, we shared with the community the DEI events that happened over the summer and allowed space for faculty and staff to reconnect. Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, Domonic Rollins facilitated the following sessions:

9th Grade Student Engagement: Cultivating community, defining different biases, and identifying negative and positive behaviors within their community were some of the topics discussed. 

DEI training session with Admissions and Domonic: These sessions focused on Dalton’s anti-racist and inclusion work and how to engage with families. 

Parents of Children of Color's (POCOC) first meeting of the year: In October, Dominic shared our anti-racist and inclusion goals, expectations for the school year, the student experience from Grades K-12, and he led a conversation with parents about how they can continue to help build a supportive community for all families. Sessions like these are valuable and are being sought from many constituent groups. The Parent Association Executive Board spent time with Domonic learning the definition of anti-racism, the cycle of socialization, the importance of social identities, and identity exploration. 

Moving Departmental Anti-Racism Statements Forward: Domonic joined Curriculum Directors, Equity Chair, Alex Bertrand, and First Program/Middle School Administrators to move departmental anti-racism statements forward. They discussed the process, shared insights about what is working well, and charted the next steps — specifically producing public anti-racist statements and identifying long-term pedagogy and curriculum work. 

Anti-Racism and Inclusion Efforts Event: In partnership with the Admissions Department, Domonic hosted an Anti-Racism and Inclusion Efforts event for new families that included a panel discussion with seven of our high school students. The students and Domonic engaged in conversation that included the impact of changes that Dalton has made, students asking for change and being heard, sharing what they have noticed or heard from students in other Independent Schools, and the process of bringing about change.

This year the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion's Assistant, Ilia Castro, is the new faculty advisor for the HOLA club. This is a Latinx/Hispanic affinity club, in which she facilitates discussions about race, student leadership, and identity representation within the community. She has also taken an active role in partnering with the Latinx/Hispanic PA group and was recently invited to be a guest speaker at their first PA meeting. She discussed the work the office has contributed to Dalton's anti-racist and inclusion work. Representing the Latinx/Hispanic community is important to her, and she will continue to be a voice.

Ilia also co-hosted the People of Color Collective Identity Space with Diversity Coordinator for Student Life Juliet Baker where they discussed various topics, such as the election, self-care, and teaching during the pandemic with BiPOC faculty and staff. She was also a facilitator alongside High School Psychologist, Josie Diaz, Physical Education, and Athletics Coach, Joanne Guzman, and MS/HS Spanish teacher Maria Teresa Madinaviettia for the LatinX/Hispanic Faculty and Staff Affinity Space Session held at the end of October. Ilia enjoyed engaging in topics related to her culture and ethnicity.

Over the past few weeks, Juliet has begun a few projects and initiatives for the students and alumni. In partnership with the Middle and High School French and Spanish Teacher, Michèle Viard, Director of Community and Global Partnerships, Yom Fox, and the Alumni Office, Juliet has led the Alumni Mentoring Program towards the launch into its 24th year with new energy, an expanded network, and an essential mission to provide support to our BIPOC students. She has also engaged with students at different grade-levels including an orientation workshop with the 7th and 8th graders on Social Media Activism and a guest lesson on the topic of race and racism in House 44. This week, Juliet partnered with Middle School Equity Chair, Alex Bertrand in leading the 4th-6th and 7th-8th grade assemblies, where they discussed the value of developing our own identities and sharing stories to learn about others. 

FP and MS PE Teacher, Mark Anderson, Equity Chair, is currently involved in several DEI related initiatives within the PE Department. He is organizing a working group of teachers and administrators to craft DEI lesson plans for teachers to use monthly and has collaborated with Fieldston and Greenwich Country Day School to create a similar group for independent school PE teachers and coaches.

On November 18, Director of Health and Wellness, Justine Fonte will meet with the PE department to present on the evolution of gender and how we, as educators, can move beyond the binary in our classroom spaces to make them inclusive and supportive of our students’ authentic selves. In addition, Mark will be participating in the adult affinity spaces as a facilitator and continues to work extensively to revisit and revise the PE department's anti-racist statement. 

Third Grade House Advisor Kenneth Hamilton, Equity Chair, is involved with the first program's third-grade team as they work on identity lessons for the students to launch the year. The topics of discussions are race, ethnicity, gender, family structure, SES, ability, and multiple intelligences. Kenneth will also participate in the student affinity spaces as a facilitator.

MS Math Teacher Alex Bertrand, Equity Chair, has been creating, developing, and really leading the charge around middle school divisional DEI and anti-racism work. For the past two years, he has served as the middle school Equity Chair and recently became a member of the newly formed Equity Council. Alex is also the Faculty Advisor for the Dimensions Club, and this year he has taken on two new responsibilities as a member of the Student Affinity Committee and Operations & Technology Task Force.

Upcoming Events:

CL&D Parent Series with Dr. Heidi O'Gilvie
Date and Time: Monday, November 16, from 7:00-8:30 PM
Location: Session can be joined by clicking here (password: dalton)
Meeting ID: 427 565 3400

The session will be highly interactive and involve a series of small break-out groups to directly and candidly discuss issues surrounding anti-racist pedagogy and practice at Dalton. It continues the dialogue started in André Robert Lee's keynote event; for a link to the first event, click here.
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