Programs and Initiatives
Board Diversity Committee
Established in during the 2018-2019 school year, the Diversity Committee of the Board focuses on developing the Board’s capacity to govern and lead for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. This committee of 25 (alumnae, faculty, staff, parents, and trustees), facilitates the Board’s understanding of how Diversity, Equity and Inclusion lives at Holton and in turn ensures the Board supports Diversity, Equity and Inclusion agency and action at the school.
Black Alumnae Group
The Black Alumnae Group, founded in the spring of 2019, is an affinity group for alumnae who identify as Black. This group provides a space to talk about the unique experiences of Black alumnae, to network, to provide support to current Black students, and to help continue to grow Holton as a welcoming and inclusive place. We welcome alumnae from other minoritized groups to consider establishing similar affinity groups.
T.I.D.E. (Towards Inclusion, Diversity, and Equity) is a school-wide faculty and staff committee led by the Director of Diversity, Wellbeing, and Global Education. T.I.D.E members are Holton’s lead learners around Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. They meet bi-weekly to engage in deep learning, respond to the needs of the community, and take action toward our Diversity Mission Statement by planning and facilitating anti-racist training for the administration, faculty, and staff. T.I.D.E members also participate in two all-day retreats that include curriculum planning and intensive facilitator training.
Student Affinity Groups and Allied Spaces
Holton offers a wide range of support and education for students, parents, faculty, and staff around issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion.
Upper School Allied Spaces
Many of Holton’s Upper School clubs are allied spaces for students. They function very similarly to affinity spaces in which the leadership and the majority of the participants share a common racial, ethnic, or cultural identity, but where students who do not identify may come to learn more about that particular group. The allied spaces in the Upper School are currently: Asian Club, Black Student Union, Jewish Culture Club, Spectrum, Latinx Culture Club, South Asian Culture Club, Iranian Culture Club, and Greek Culture Club.
Lower School Affinity Spaces
During the 2020 school year the Lower School launched affinity groups in the fifth and sixth grades called - Commons Threads (read more in this letter to Lower School Families | January 2020) –Faculty and staff of color met with students of color to provide space and time dedicated to positive identity development. During Common Threads meetings, participants met with Upper School members of the Black Student Union, the Asian club, and the South Asia Culture club and members of our Black Alumnae Group. These meetings were so successful that during the third trimester, we established an Upper School/Lower School Mentor Program that will continue during the 2020-2021 school year.
Middle School Affinity Spaces
In 2020-2021, Common Threads expands to include Middle School students.
Diversity Conference Student Steering Committee
The role of the Diversity Conference Steering Committee is to plan Holton’s annual Upper School and Middle School Diversity Conferences. These conferences are mandatory student-led initiatives to promote awareness of and action towards complex issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion for the student body. Through conversations and activities, the conference aims to engage students in relevant issues within the community and beyond.
Each year, the Steering Committee selects an overarching theme and sets it as the objective for the Conference. The planning process includes selecting potential speakers and facilitators, adapting activities, arranging the school space, and planning our retreat. The two-day facilitator retreat is an essential part of being a facilitator - facilitators not only get to help plan, choose, and participate in activities for the Conference, but also deepen their understanding of the Diversity Conference’s theme and make bonds with fellow facilitators.
“Let’s Talk About It” Forums
“Let’s Talk About It” hopes to foster student conversations about timely topics in our community related to diversity, equity, inclusion, and allyship, beyond the diversity conference. By hosting frequent forums, "Let’s Talk About It" encourages students to participate in difficult conversations, exchange meaningful dialogue with their peers, and explore beyond their own perspectives. The format of each forum varies and can encompass small-group discussions with guiding questions, as well as conversation following panels, relevant videos, and personal testimonials. Let’s Talk About It emphasizes the importance of listening and respecting each student’s opinions, keeping an open mind, and being accepting of mistakes rather than saying the ‘perfect’ thing. The goal is to normalize difficult conversations and create an environment that fosters growth, allyship, and advocacy.
Community Voices, established in 2013, is a subset of the Parents Association and an alliance of parents dedicated to learning and growing through the sharing of their unique perspectives at Holton. The group cultivates prospective families, welcomes new families, and hosts advocacy events around current diversity topics.