As stated in our letter titled: We Will Do More, we cannot be faithful to our Catholic faith and our mission of inclusive love unless we address racism, its sinfulness, its exclusion and its disrespect for human life. Members of our community are in pain, and when one suffers we all suffer. SHA acknowledges that we need to take action and improve. Below you will find updates on the actions that we have already taken and continue to focus on with the goal of making "the SHA experience" a more unifying, inclusive one for all community members.
In Spring 2019, Sacred Heart Academy and many other schools across the country made a commitment to “do more” to create a more inclusive and anti-racist community through a series of concerted efforts. The Sisters of St. Joseph made a generous donation to support these initiatives.
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Advisory Group
- As communicated in SHA's statements on anti-racism, a group of dedicated alumnae, parents and faculty members was convened as an advisory group. The purpose of the group is to create a resource of invested individuals who are committed to assisting Sacred Heart Academy in its mission to be a community of inclusive love. The group has held two meetings to date on August 12 and October 13 and will continue to offer guidance on diversity related to curriculum, college counseling, alumnae mentoring opportunities.
- In early November, the group provided constructive feedback and proposals related to the incorporation of DEI-focused goals into SHA’s Strategic Plan (originally published in June 2019).
- Future meeting topics are expected to include the establishment of a SHA Black Alumnae Affinity Group and an Alumnae Mentorship Program.
Newly Named DEI Internal Liaison, Mr. Richard Powers
- SHA Faculty member, Mr. Richard Powers, has been named as an internal liaison for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) initiatives. In this role, Mr. Powers will be a resource for students, colleagues and families. He will also work with the administrative team to advise on future DEI initiatives.
- In his more than 24 years at SHA, Mr. Powers has been a respected colleague and educator. His many relationships and deep understanding of SHA's mission make him an ideal person to support this important dimension of School life.
Faculty and Staff Professional Development
- Since the Spring 2020, faculty and staff have been reflecting, listening and learning from professionals including Dr. Julianna Mosely from the Office of Diversity at the College of Chestnut Hill in Philadelphia and Jeff Dess, CEO of Trill or Not Trill, who presented on “Leading with Heart in a Diverse Environment” to each student level.
- The first faculty meeting of the year was dedicated to DEI. Two alumnae from the DEI advisory group, Michelle Field Paige '90 and Maxine Broderick '90, spoke with faculty about their experiences as Black women at SHA.
- Academic departments have established DEI goals for the year.
- Dr. Marsha Darling from Adelphi University was scheduled to conduct a professional day on Cultural Competencies for all faculty and staff on November 20th.
- All faculty were invited to participate in the National Coalition of Girls Schools (NCGS) online program titled “Anti-Racism in Girls’ Schools.” SHA was proud to subsidize the cost for the participants.
- Faculty and staff will be offered the opportunity to participate in the Adelphi Diversity Certificate Program in 2021.
- Dr. Marsha Darling, professor of African, Black and Caribbean Studies at Adelphi University and the Director of the University's Center for African, Black and Caribbean Studies, presented "Diversity and Cultural Competence for Teacher Professional Development" to all members of the SHA community on Friday, January 8, 2021. The Mission committee worked to develop questions for reflection and discussion in facilitated small group dicussions following the presentation.
- Jeff Dess, CEO of Trill or Not Trill, presented on “Leading with Heart in a Diverse Environment” to each student level via livestream during the first week of school.
- Pictures and quotes have been strategically placed throughout the School building to raise awareness and reinforce an environment of diversity, equity and inclusion.
- An ongoing review of SHA’s Student Handbook continues to take place to ensure that all policies are fair and equitable.
Curriculum and Guidance
- SHA is committed to a comprehensive curriculum review to ensure it incorporates the richness of diverse cultures and races across all disciplines and for all students.
- One of the foci of the Guidance Department this year has been regular discussions on DEI and promotion of the Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU). Students and counselors have been participating in “Real Talk: Maryland Colleges Edition,” a (virtual) college series for Black Students.
Board of Trustees
- At the September 22, 2020 Board meeting, trustees and administrators agreed that DEI should embrace a variety of social issues in order to stay true to Sacred Heart Academy’s mission. Beginning with the October 8, 2020 meeting, SHA’s President and Principal will provide updates on DEI initiatives and long-term goals to the Board of Trustees at their recurring meetings.
- The nominating committee is committed to securing diverse candidates for the next installation of board members for the 2021-22 year.
- Revision efforts to incorporate DEI-focused goals into SHA's Strategic Plan document commenced in November 2020.
June 10, 2020 | We Will Do More: SHA's Statement on Racism
June 2, 2020 | SHA's Shared Statement with the Sisters of St. Joseph, Brentwood