Dear Sacred Heart Greenwich community,
I hope most of you have now had the opportunity to watch the Alumnae Media Network panel discussion on “Media for Social Change.” The event made me proud to be an alumna of this institution and as a parent, gave me hope that we can make changes at Greenwich that will impact all of our students and especially our students of color.
The Society of the Sacred Heart put out an important call on Juneteenth that resonates with the Board of Trustees, administration and incoming Head of School Meg Frazier. It said: “Let us listen. Let us pray. Let us recognize the centuries of oppression and disenfranchisement of black and brown persons. Let us wake up to our presumptions and our biases and confront them. Let us watch, read and, in alignment with our charism, educate ourselves. And, let all of these lead us to act with intention, courage and confidence – our “war cry” – to create just systems, a just society and a just world.”
At Sacred Heart, we have strived to live Goal III: Educate to a social awareness that impels to action. While this goal has long been core to our foundation, we have fallen short. With deliberate and honest discussions across all members of our community, we must come together to reflect humbly on what we have accomplished and with renewed focus on opportunities to do better. We must be intentional and specific in our efforts and hold ourselves accountable.
With this in mind, the Board of Trustees is standing up a new Board Committee: One Heart: Advancing Equity, Diversity & Inclusion. Its mission is to intentionally build and strengthen a more diverse and inclusive environment in which all students, faculty, and staff feel valued, respected, and connected to one another so that each can do his/her best work, share his/her ideas and perspectives, and have a consistent experience of belonging. The Committee will be co-chaired by Carmen Hughes P’27, ’31 and Sandie O’Connor P’19, ’23. It will be supported by an Advisory Group, which will draw on a diverse group of faculty, staff, students, alumnae, parents, and administrators for perspectives and subject matter expertise. The committee will communicate its membership, diversity and inclusion priorities, set initial objectives and timelines, and provide oversight on progress. We anticipate the committee's initial focus will be on curriculum, faculty training and hiring, student experience, and additional event programming to promote dialogue and understanding on social justice. We recognize this is the beginning of an ongoing effort to transform and evolve so that we truly embrace and live out Goal III.
In addition, and in agreement with the incoming Head of School, the Board of Trustees has decided to implement mandatory anti-bias training for all faculty and staff prior to the start of school. This training will begin to address both conscious and unconscious bias and promote awareness, change, and accountability. We are committed to on-going faculty professional development in these important areas.
In speaking regularly with Mrs. Frazier, I know that the path she sees toward institutional change is focused on listening and collaboration. We look forward to welcoming her to Greenwich on July 1st and working alongside her, all of you, and in collaboration with the One Heart Committee.
Chair, Board of Trustees