Exploring Lovett

Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging
 
 
Members of The Lovett School community share in mutually beneficial expectations, practices, and commitments to Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging (DEIB) which allow us all to thrive. As an inclusive Christian school, we are a community rooted in love and belonging for all, with a profound respect for diversity, service to others, and moral awareness. We share the knowledge that we are richer given the unique and individual identities within our Lion family. 

In the Fall of 2019, the Board of Trustees initiated a strategic planning process that allowed us to draw out many voices and perspectives across the community to create a culture of belonging that embodies our core values.

Our community wholeheartedly believes that Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging significantly enhance the outcomes and experiences of and in a Lovett education, independent of their background and or identity. We recognize that striving to be a diverse and inclusive community is an ever-evolving imperative that requires empathy, a growth mindset, and skill.

Review our Strategic Priorities Update for Fall 2021 here.

Our commitment to Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging is forever, and our work is ongoing. In order to hold ourselves accountable, we present several highlights to date organized by focus area:
 
 

List of 4 items.

  • Focus Area: Student Experience

    The Lovett School is committed to:

    • Creating a consistent culture and experience of inclusion, belonging, and connectedness for every student and family spanning the entire range of identities and backgrounds. Ensuring that all students feel heard, affirmed, and respected by employees, peers, and families alike; and where these same students are appreciated and heralded as part of what makes Lovett so special. 
    • Attract and retain a more racially diverse representation in the student and faculty populations as a core component of academic, programmatic, and organizational excellence.
    • Embedding culturally competent practices into the curriculum and co-curricular activities (i.e. school assemblies, summer reading lists, field trips, etc.) to establish the expectation that diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging are requisite values and skills for the entire Lovett community. 
     
    Initiative: Improve the community engagement systems for students and families, especially those new to Lovett.

    Earlier this year, the School created a new position for a  Chief Engagement Officer, which unites the Alumni Engagement, Civic and Global Engagement, College Counseling, Parent Engagement, School Counseling, and Student Success departments to ensure that the Lovett experience for students and families fosters a true sense of belonging. This unification of student life, parent engagement, and alumni engagement is designed to align the student journey and to build accountability for every Lovett student to feel known. 

    In the summer of 2021,  Dr. Dwan Henderson, Jennifer Boutté, Jayne Liu, and Sarah Griffin were selected to serve as Lovett’s K-12 Diversity, Equity, Inclusivity, and Belonging (DEIB) Coordinators. The DEIB team will establish a centralized approach to build capacity for one-school cultural competency and DEI learning experiences, train and oversee our affinity and alliance student and faculty/staff groups, create accountability and communication systems to support education and ongoing training around cultural competency, and develop best practice with our communication teams to transparently share our DEI efforts. 

    Initiative: Recruit and retain more Black students and faculty to Lovett, prioritizing diverse representation in the student and faculty populations as a core component of excellence.

    Progress: The Admission Office immediately committed to and engaged in the following processes: 
     
    • Conducted an audit of the application and admission processes and practices for equity. 
    • Organized focus groups and surveys for newly enrolled Black families to guide outreach and engagement. 
    • Consistently communicate with all prospective families that Lovett’s commitment to Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging is an essential strategic component of educational excellence. 
    • Continue to identify potential feeder schools which serve students who have not traditionally applied to Lovett. 
    • Hosted admission events to highlight the ongoing work being done throughout the Lovett community and engaged in open, honest dialogue about our opportunities to strengthen representation and the experience for all students and families.
     
    Under the leadership of our Chief Human Resources Officer, we have refined our recruitment strategy for hiring including adding the role of Talent Acquisition Manager. We are pleased to share that we have more than tripled the number of Black hires for available positions and added 12 new employees of color for the 2021-22 school year
  • Focus Area: Employee and Family Experience

    The Lovett School is committed to:
     
    • Defining a set of essential skills and clear definitions of cultural competency expectations for employees to support inclusion and identify the role that each member of the workforce plays in nurturing and sustaining an inclusive employee culture of belonging.
    • Ensuring that all employees are empowered with the skills to successfully navigate DEI conversations and practices in their classrooms and or departments, and amongst students, peers or families.
    • Developing a full sense of belonging in the Lovett community for families as part of the “Pride of Lions.”
    • Supporting and affirming families in the knowledge that their children will graduate with the knowledge and skills to thrive in a diverse environment.
     
    Initiative: Conduct a systems audit to establish success benchmarks for hiring and retaining a diverse and inclusive workforce as a core component of organizational excellence.

    Progress: We welcomed a new Chief Human Resources Officer in the fall of 2020 who has evaluated our existing processes and completed a Human Resources audit of our recruiting processes resulting in the formation of a Talent Acquisition Manager position. We welcomed the Talent Acquisition Manager in early November who is responsible for:
     
    • Refining expectations for recruitment of all new employees to include assessment for DEI skills in every organization role.
    • Conducting a systems audit to establish success benchmarks for hiring and retaining a diverse and inclusive workforce as a core component of organizational excellence.
     
    Initiative: Senior administrators make assessments of organizational Diversity, Equity and Inclusion needs and partner with the Board of Trustees to determine the necessary resource allocations for full support.

    Progress: This priority has informed a number of critical leadership roles and responsibilities. The Administrative Leadership Team is more representative of the broad diversity within the Lovett community.

    Initiative: Incorporate implicit bias training as core professional development for all employees, with particular focus on supervisors/managers and student/family facing roles.

    Progress: The DEIB team has and will continue to facilitate cultural competency and DEIB learning experiences, train and oversee faculty and staff leaders, create accountability and communication systems to support education and ongoing training around cultural competency, and develop best practice with our communication teams to transparently share our DEIB efforts. 

    Initiative: Utilization of Parent Support Groups (PSG) and/or other mechanisms to introduce cultural competency skill development opportunities to all K-12 families.

    Progress: We are redesigning Lovett’s parent education program to facilitate partnership. One component will include opportunities for further cultural competency skill development. 

    Initiative: Explore implementation of exit interviews when families decide to leave Lovett.

    Progress: Redesigned the feedback process for families who might be withdrawing from Lovett. Personal outreach is extended to parents when the possibility of withdrawal arises to gather feedback or offer support through the re-enrollment or withdrawal process. Withdrawal surveys are emailed to parents when the withdrawal notification has been received rather than waiting until the end of the school year. Parents have the option to respond to the survey anonymously or to identify themselves. Parents also have the option of meeting with an admission/enrollment team member to discuss their student and family’s experience. Feedback is shared with division leaders to ensure opportunities for improvement are embraced and facilitated.

    Initiative: Initiate strategic assessment of where additional family supports are necessary to drive growth and belonging across the entire Lovett community.

    Progress: The Lovett Board of Trustees, Senior Leadership Team, and LPA Grade Representatives are developing partnerships toward a sustainable practice of communication and feedback that ensures clarity in understanding the experiences of all Lovett families in DEIB initiatives and increases the universal experience of belonging and connection throughout the school community
  • Focus Area: Institutional Policy and Practice

    The Lovett School is committed to:

    • Implementing a consistent practice of cultural competency and skill development for major stakeholders which includes employees, students, and families.
    • Graduating students with cultural competency as one of their core skill sets to prepare them for participation in a diverse global culture.
    • Shifting cultural understanding about the role of DEI in supporting excellence in outcomes for all Lovett students and families. 

    Initiative: Develop the organizational structure to establish a Chief Diversity Officer position to offer broad organizational support to sustain academic, programmatic and organizational excellence.
     
    Progress: Lovett’s Chief Engagement Officer will lead the search in hiring a Chief Diversity Officer in 2022. In the interim, four Lovett employees are serving as Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging Coordinators to begin building systems and practices that foster a culture of belonging.
     
    Initiative: Develop an ongoing commitment for Board of Trustees and Senior Administrative teams to have annual professional development to ensure the sustained development of culturally competent leadership.

    Progress: Lovett’s Leadership Team engaged in a retreat with the Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging Coordinators in July 2021. The coordinators will continue to support the professional development of each Leadership Team member’s direct reports. In September and October, we welcomed Robert Greene of Cedar & Burwell to the Riverbank. He led a workshop with the Leadership Team and the Board of Trustees. Mr. Greene will continue his work one on one and collectively with Leadership Team members throughout the 2021-22 school year
  • Focus Area: Pedagogy

    The Lovett School is committed to:
     
    • Defining and operationalizing the “whole child” approach at Lovett.
    • Incorporating a shared pedagogical practice that centers the establishment of inclusive classroom climate and culture.
    • Revising Lovett’s pedagogical and moral/ethical commitment to multicultural curriculum so students emerge with increased critical thinking and research competencies to make sense of an increasingly complex world.
    • Developing a sustainable system and practice so faculty are better trained in cultural competency, culturally responsive teaching, and integrating DEI in the classroom.

    Initiative: Increase the clarity about what the outcomes of the Lovett experience should be. How can we identify a Lovett student and distinguish them from other local schools?

    Progress: After clearly defining the Whole Child Promise at Lovett, divisional and departmental leadership has dedicated significant time and energy into articulating the specific behaviors this definition demands. Across three divisions, teams have created data points for what the Whole Child Promise is and what it isn’t. The Whole Child Promise dictates that students learn by doing and reflecting on what was done. They explore provocations that allow them to actively grow understanding rather than simply recall information. Lovett students are expected to understand who they are, how their presence impacts others, and how they may use this knowledge for the common good.

    Initiative: Refine our systems about how to design, assess, re-engineer and innovate curriculum, e.g. creating a uniform approach to language and curriculum management; integrating a definition of and practice around culturally competent and responsive pedagogy; orienting metrics and KPIs around learning outcomes and not teaching inputs, etc.

    Progress: With new divisional leadership the essential K-12 nature of this initiative is in process. Forming a strong K-12 team is the foundational first team to thorough examination of curriculum and pedagogical practices. Departments have created a single, unifying purpose statement that articulates the “why” behind the subject matter, skills and competencies the discipline gives life to. The first meeting of K-12 academic leadership, MS and US Department Heads and LS Grade Level Leads, met for the first time in October and will meet for a full day retreat in early November to continue laying strong foundations and building competencies in leadership so they can launch this visionary work with their teams. 

    Initiative: Refine the definition of requisite skill sets for recruiting, hiring, developing, evaluating and promoting faculty.

    Progress: A full day executive leadership team retreat in the summer of 2021 was spent creating a shared set of hiring guidelines for faculty members. The processes and procedures allow divisional leadership to operate from a shared set of agreements and ensure training of hiring teams is in line with Lovett’s core values and mission. 

    A design team of employees across Lovett was convened in September to begin an evaluation of Lovett’s FED program and “Master Teacher Description” to ensure that both are artifacts of the Whole Child Promise. Divisional and Departmental Leadership has spent significant time coming to agreements about accountability measures so that there is consistency across the school in terms of basic expectations that center the experience of students. 
     
    Initiative: Develop a graduation expectation of student facility in cultural competency or a system to support the same, eliminating the disadvantage some Lovett graduates face as they enter an increasingly competitive college application field.

    Progress: With new divisional leadership and searches underway in two divisions, much of this work is in process. Defining cultural fluency competencies is the essential first step (in process) followed by training and education of K-12 teams. The core of this work began in August 2020 as teachers were focused on building their classrooms one domain at a time, beginning with climate and culture (relationship), then moving on to pedagogical practices, and finally to content, skills, and competencies. In order for teachers to know students they must increase their own understanding of self; this has been the focus of numerous weekly meetings.
 
 
The Lovett School is an independent, coeducational day school where children from Kindergarten through Grade 12 find the courage to explore and the drive to discover.

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