- School Life
Dear Pembroke Hill Community,
We want to thank the many members of our community who have reached out to us to share their perspectives and experiences relating to equity and inclusion in our world, nation, city and school. We are resolved to continue to listen and to learn. Gaining a more thorough understanding of our culture - what we do well and where we need to improve - is essential.
What has become clear through all of the stories and comments we have received is that our community cares deeply about Pembroke Hill. They want to help do what is right for our school, but especially for the people who make up our community.
We wholeheartedly believe that we have a responsibility to our students to provide more equitable opportunities and experiences that will foster their understanding of each other, help them develop into thoughtful members of a diverse community and prepare them for an increasingly globalized society. Staying true to our core values of respect, compassion, scholarship and integrity mandates that we lead in this work and approach it with cultural humility, sincerity and determination.
To help facilitate this journey, we are partnering with Sophic Solutions, LLC, a Kansas City-based consulting firm. With their support, we are formulating a plan to further engage with our community, to continue the dialogue many of you have already begun with us and to ultimately make meaningful change.
As our first step, we are offering community conversations through Zoom that will be followed by a series of follow-up gatherings for all members of our school community. These sessions will give us an opportunity to listen to each other and develop a more meaningful understanding of others’ perspectives. We realize that people have differing experiences at Pembroke Hill, and the more we learn about others’ viewpoints, the more we will be able to move with compassion from where we are today to what we want to exemplify in the future.
The initial community conversations will be on Thursday, Aug. 13, at 11 a.m., and again at 6:30 p.m. (Links to join these conversations will be distributed prior to Aug. 13.) Open and honest dialogue is powerful. We sincerely hope you add your voice to this conversation and that we not judge each other, but truly listen to gain a better understanding for why they feel or think the way they do.
Additionally, we are creating a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Advisory Council to the Board of Trustees whose members will be multiracial and multicultural and will represent parents, students, faculty/staff, alumni and trustees. It will be co-chaired by Vicki McReynolds and Ed Stevens, both of whom are current parents and trustees.
This Advisory Council’s role will be to extend guidance, not set policy, to the Board and school administration across multiple functions, but especially in terms of diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging while keeping us accountable for our inclusionary work.
Last December, we sent faculty and staff, representing all divisions, to the People of Color Conference sponsored by the National Association of Independent Schools. Approximately 4,500 educators from around the world engaged in conversations surrounding intercultural conflict, leading diversity initiatives, dynamics of privilege and power, and racial, ethnic and cultural identity. Upon returning to Pembroke Hill, our attendees proposed ways for how we can improve.
The Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Advisory Council will work with the Board of Trustees and school administrators in implementing these recommendations along with future initiatives.
Charting the way forward is everyone’s responsibility. We need to use the energy and expertise of our alumni, parents, students, faculty and staff in our collective effort to make real, meaningful and sustainable progress. It is okay to be uncomfortable and to acknowledge that we don’t have all the answers. But, we need to delve into this work and have our actions make a real difference so that everyone in our school family feels they belong and that they can bring their true selves to our school. We must model what we expect of our students - listen, learn and improve - so that together, we cultivate the best in each, for the benefit of all.
Thank you for your dedication to the work ahead of us and to Pembroke Hill.