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Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, & Belonging

Diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging is an institutional priority at Holton-Arms.

You belong here. 

Holton-Arms cherishes the uniqueness of each of our members including current and former students, faculty, and staff.  We seek to create an inclusive environment that sees, values, and supports diverse identities and experiences, cultivates engaging discourse, and empowers our students to be thriving members of the global community.

The Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging (DEI&B) Roadmap is a living framework of our continuous review and renew of our curriculum and policies. This ever evolving roadmap is an overview of action steps towards each of the priorities in the Diversity Mission Statement and Holton’s commitment to anti-racist education.

Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, & belonging Mission Statement


At Holton-Arms, each of us is responsible for fostering an equitable, respectful, and just community.  We are committed to:

  • Discovering, developing, and valuing our full authentic selves.
  • Deepening awareness of personal and systemic biases and being accountable for the impact of our words and actions.
  • Developing an understanding of the historical origins and perpetuation of systems of power and privilege.
  • Engaging in open and brave conversations that promote growth, understanding, connection, and agency.
  • Embracing every individual as essential to the community.

(approved by Board of Trustees in Spring 2019; updated Spring 2021)

Principles of Dialogue

Holton-Arms is a community where we engage in brave conversations by seeking out, listening to, and learning from multiple perspectives and lived experiences. We believe that by upholding the inherent dignity of each person, including when there is disagreement, we enable one another to thrive. In order to practice these beliefs, we commit to:

Approved by the Board of Trustees April 28, 2021

Assuming the shared responsibility of fostering engagement and belonging

Participating in conversations that explore similarities and differences candidly

Viewing experiences of conflict as an opportunity to grow

Practicing humility, asking difficult questions, taking risks, and making mistakes

Taking responsibility for the impact of our words and actions

Reflecting on and engaging in restorative practices

Though we encourage our community to seek out differences of perspectives, we do not ask students or adults to legitimize degrading views regarding race, ethnicity, religion, ability, sexuality, or gender identity.

Gender Identity Inclusion Statement

(Approved by Board of Trustees in spring 2017; revised Spring 2023)

In keeping with our mission and history, Holton-Arms School is an institution dedicated to girls' education. Likewise, the School’s commitment to inclusivity is rooted in Mrs. Holton’s vision of an “education not only of the mind but of the soul and spirit.” This includes supporting children and adolescents in their task of growing into their authentic selves. To this end, we are committed to nurturing our students as they develop all aspects of their identity, including gender identity, both during their time as Holton students and beyond.

Our Community

Dear Holton-Arms Community,

In founding our School, Jessie Moon Holton demonstrated the power education has to liberate the mind. By creating a space for young women to live, learn, and lead together, she empowered her students to develop a strong sense of self and belonging in a supportive community. Today, diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging at Holton are deeply rooted in that vision and now, more than ever, are mission-critical for our students to thrive in the world beyond our walls. This means that students must come to know themselves, desire to know and understand others, and cultivate deep and lasting relationships across race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, religion, and ability.

In response to Holton’s 2015 AIMS Self-Study and Strategic Goals, our community committed to centering and prioritizing diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). At that time, I began my journey on the Senior Administrative Leadership Team as Holton’s first Director of Diversity and Global Education (now Diversity, Wellbeing, and Global Education). In this role, I serve as liaison to the Board’s Diversity Committee, leader of T.I.D.E. (Towards Inclusion, Diversity, and Equity, our 3-12 faculty/staff diversity committee), and facilitator of professional development and community education.

With intentionality, Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging is embedded in our educational philosophy “Learn Well, Live Well, Lead Well,” which integrates opportunities for students to develop cultural, social-emotional, and global competence in grades 3-12. In academic classes, Seminar, Homeroom, and Advisory, we are cultivating the consciousness, will, and skill set necessary to dismantle oppression and realize a more equitable, sustainable, just, and peaceful world.

As an institution that strives to respond to the needs of our community, we listen carefully to our students and graduates. In the summer of 2019, our students and alumni of color communicated clearly that we, as a community, were not realizing our mission for all students. We deeply regret the harm that our students and alumni of color have faced in our care over the years and are more resolute than ever in our dedication to ongoing antiracist and anti-oppressive education for our entire community. We commit to a continuous review of our programs, curriculum, policies, procedures, and practices in order to:

  • Teach a curriculum that acknowledges reality from multiple dimensions and through multiple perspectives.  
  • Honor the full humanity of every member of our communities from the Holton community to the global community.
  • Critically examine systems and actively challenge and dismantle those that perpetuate inequity and injustice.
  • Foster deep and lasting relationships and trust across similarities and differences.
  • Connect students with opportunities to develop and use their voices to shape a more equitable, sustainable, peaceful, and just world.

In this way we can truly become a learning community that educates the mind, soul, and spirit of each one of our students as Mrs. Holton intended.


Melissa Brown
Director of Diversity, Wellbeing, and Global Education

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