October 2020 DEI Progress Report

Head of School Peter Quinn provided this update to the Peddie community as the Fall Term came to a close.

Throughout the fall term, Peddie has continued its work towards making the Peddie experience as inclusive and equitable as possible. Supporting the diversity, equity and inclusivity of the community is a goal inseparable from “the highest quality of citizenship.” In recent months, we have added specific goals for this year, in order to help focus the Peddie community on the work yet to be done.   

AIM Report

In January 2020, all Peddie students, employees, trustees, parents, and alumni within ten years of graduation were invited to take the Assessment of Inclusivity and Multiculturalism (AIM), a survey designed to measure school climate and community attitudes. This survey is available to Peddie through the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS), was designed for use by independent schools, and is used by several peer schools.  We chose it for its objective, thorough and broad-based approach. Analysis of our results was delayed by the pandemic, but we did receive the analysis, and our AIM committee has recently completed their study of the results, and delivered their recommendations.  You will see that there are many areas in which our school climate is healthy and supportive, and there are steps we can take to improve. You can read that summary here.

During the summer, we committed to more short-term goals in order to jump-start whatever recommendations would come from the AIM committee.

Listening Sessions

This summer, we were grateful to have more than 35 alumni and close to 50 students attend our listening sessions.  In many cases, there were common themes and ideas shared between the AIM recommendations and the suggestions from the listening sessions.  

The recommendations from the AIM committee, together with the suggestions from the listening sessions, will inform the work by several groups charged with affecting change: the curriculum committee, student life office, board of trustees, and the faculty.

DEI Director

Diku Rogers ’12 was appointed interim Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in August. Ms. Rogers served on the AIM committee and thus is fully conversant with the AIM results, the genesis of the recommendations, and the raw data which lead to those recommendations.  She is also working with Dr. Kari Hart ‘02 to define a system for reporting and responding to bias incidents, and with student leaders and adults to define the DEI committee (students, faculty and staff) which will help guide and support our programs.

Training Initiatives

Ms. Rogers has presented to the faculty and to the board of trustees. Ms. Rogers and Dr. Hart are currently leading two cohorts of Peddie faculty and the senior leadership team in the National SEED Project (Seeking Educational Equity and Diversity). SEED partners with schools, organizations, and communities to develop leaders who guide their peers in conversational communities to drive personal, organizational, and societal change toward social justice. 

Ms. Rogers has presented a training session for the faculty on the issue of implicit bias and microaggressions, and she presented to the student prefects as well.  She also brought two speakers to campus virtually, addressing different topics: healing and transformative justice in communities, and navigating identity in academic spaces and how culture and language influence art with multiple affinity groups.    

As is the case with our efforts and emphasis on citizenship, the effort to create a more inclusive and equitable experience for all students and adults at Peddie is a long-term commitment.  The steps we are taking this year are designed to bring everyone’s attention to actionable steps, continuing conversations, and progress.

As we work toward our goal to be the best version of Peddie we can be,  I am encouraged by the foundational work being done across campus towards supporting our diverse community.