A Better Masters Archive

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Statement of Inclusion

The Masters School prides itself on being a diverse, inclusive community that honors and understands the uniqueness of each individual, allowing their perspectives to be valued and their needs to be understood. Fostering and embracing diversity, we support all individuals by celebrating our similarities as well as our differences, including but not limited to age, ethnicity, gender, ability, race, religion, sexual orientation, family structure and socioeconomic status. Those who work, live and learn on our campus recognize that building an inclusive community is a rewarding and ongoing challenge. The Masters School is committed to working collaboratively with students, faculty, staff and families by supporting its mission of being diverse individuals who gather to learn, to strive, to dare, to do — to be a power for good in the world.

The Masters School's Anti-Racism and Anti-Bias Action Plan

On Monday, July 13, 2020, The Masters School announced its anti-racism and anti-bias action plan, A Better Masters.

This page provides information on steps taken during the 2020-2021 academic year and progress to date regarding the School's action plan.

A Better Masters: The Masters School's Anti-Racism and Anti-Bias Action Plan

List of 7 items.

  • Governance

    The Masters School has made the commitment to diversify our Board of Trustees to ensure that the voices of its members and the decisions made by the governing body better represent the diversity of our community.

    Specific board actions include: 
    1. The Board of Trustees has prioritized the Committee on Trustees’ efforts to cultivate and recruit a greater number of board candidates of color. In spring 2021, the Board established and began implementing a diversification plan.
    2. In October 2020, the Board of Trustees created a committee on diversity, equity and inclusion. Status report: Completed.
    3. Since fall 2020, the director of equity and inclusion began attending all board meetings. Status report: Ongoing.
    4. In January 2021, all members of the Board participated in what will now become an annual diversity, equity and inclusion training session. This year's training was led by educator/facilitator Liza Talusan. Status report: Ongoing.
  • Admission

    Having a diverse student body has been an essential part of our community and its mission. We are continuing the School’s efforts to recruit, enroll, retain and support a diverse student population.
    The Admission team has increased its efforts to clearly communicate to prospective families the School’s mission to become an anti-racist and anti-bias community.

    Specific admission actions include: 
    1. Interviews with prospective students and their families currently include a direct reference to our commitment to being an anti-racist and anti-bias school. We feel strongly that openness about our commitment will reaffirm it within us, help us identify families that seek an optimally inclusive community, and help families understand the community they aspire to join. Status report: Ongoing.
    2. An anti-racist and anti-bias statement has been added to the 2021-2022 enrollment forms, and families will be required to sign it in affirmation. Status report: Completed.
    3. Beginning in the 2020-2021 admission cycle, the School has been holding well-attended admission programming and events for prospective families of color. Status report: Ongoing.
  • Racial Diversity Among Faculty, Staff and Administration

    Increasing the diversity of our faculty, staff and administration to more accurately reflect the identities of our students and families is and will continue to be a strategic priority in the hiring process. Each cohort of new teachers we invite to join our faculty must move us closer to attaining this goal. By September 2021, the School will complete a review of the previous three hiring cycles and will use this data to inform any modifications to our plan to recruit and retain faculty of color. In addition, the School is actively focused on retention efforts to ensure that our colleagues of color thrive in this community.

    Specific hiring and retention actions include:
    1. The Masters School has increased its efforts and success rate in hiring and retaining diverse members of its faculty, staff and administration. The School has offered all employees continuous anti-bias work, broadened networking practices in the hiring process, and increased intentional support for our employees on campus. Status report: Ongoing.
    2. In support of successful onboarding and retention, and in addition to the mentors that all incoming faculty are paired with, the School is offering new faculty and staff of color a colleague mentor of color beginning in August 2020. Informal mentoring meetings will take place once a quarter. Status report: Ongoing.
    3. In alignment with the hiring cycle at independent schools, in January 2021, the School launched a national search and hired an associate director of equity and inclusion who will begin in fall 2021. The associate director of equity and inclusion will report to the director of equity and inclusion. Status report: Completed.
    4. Masters hosted its second Diversity Hiring Open House on January 21, 2021, with plans to continue this event annually. Status report: Ongoing.
  • Policies and Procedures

    As a community dedicated to principles of diversity, equity and inclusion, Masters welcomes the thoughtful contributions of all individual voices. Members of the school community are expected to treat all people with dignity, respect and equity. Violations of these core values and expectations will be addressed promptly and in accordance with revised rules and policies included in the School’s handbooks.

    Specific action steps related to policies and procedures include:
    1. With the help of consultants who specialize in equity and inclusion, the School is undertaking a thorough review of its employee and family handbooks with a clear emphasis on anti-discrimination policies to ensure that they explicitly address acts of racism, bias and discrimination and clearly articulate appropriate discipline and restorative responses. Status report: Ongoing.
    2. In order to swiftly and properly address reports of racism, bias and discrimination, the School partnered with NAVEX Global Ethicspoint to establish an online incident report form for members of the community to bring forward incidents of racism, bias and discrimination. Reports made through this process are properly investigated according to revised protocols, in compliance with best practices and privacy laws, and in collaboration with the dean of students, the director of equity and inclusion and/or the director’s associate. Status report: Completed.
  • Curriculum and Pedagogy

    Starting this academic year, the School has launched a thorough and in-depth review of the grade 5-12 curriculum. 

    Specific action steps related to curriculum and pedagogy include:
    1. The School is committed to identifying and implementing the essential skills and competencies that will empower teachers and students to recognize and dismantle systematic racism, bias and discrimination. This anti-bias curriculum will continue to develop throughout the 2020-2021 school year by our director of learning initiatives; the diversity, equity and inclusion task force; and the Academic Committee. Task forces began meeting in November 2020. Status report: Ongoing.
    2. The School will continue to ensure its curriculum across all disciplines more fully includes voices and works from individuals and groups that have been systematically excluded, including material and content that reflects a greater diversity of thought and experience, provides challenging and relevant experiences to all students, and tackles essential contemporary questions of social and racial justice. The Curriculum Review Process was rolled out during a faculty professional development meeting on January 4, 2021. A progress report will be made in fall 2021. Status report: Ongoing.
    3. All employees will continue to participate in required professional development around issues of racism and other factors impacting equity and inclusion. This training will continue to be required in subsequent years. Status report: Ongoing.
    4. In fall 2020, the School's New Faculty Institute, a weeklong onboarding program for incoming faculty, was revised to more fully address issues of race and identity. The School added three new workshops in the 2020-2021 academic year on identity; diversity, equity and inclusion; and racism and anti-racism in the classroom. Sessions on similar topics are being planned for each academic year. 
    5. Starting in the 2020-2021 academic year, the School has prioritized anti-racism, anti-bias and anti-discrimination training in its professional development budget.
    6. In fall 2020, the School revised its “Guiding Principles for the Instructional Core,” which articulate the criteria for teachers to set goals and be evaluated, to include a demonstrated commitment to anti-racist and anti-bias pedagogy. This revision will be concluded by September 2021. 
    7. Faculty and staff participated in FACTUALITY , an eye-opening group exercise designed to address issues of privilege, racism and bias, during a professional development day on January 4, 2021.
  • Community and Belonging

    The policies, procedures and practices we put forth in this plan exist to support and strengthen a climate of belonging and inclusion at The Masters School. A healthy school climate is built through day-to-day interactions with one another and through the norms that are established and reinforced when we see, acknowledge and listen generously to one another. Deepening a sense of connection and belonging is essential to our ultimate goal to become an anti-racist and anti-bias community.

    Specific community-related actions include:
    1. Led by the director of equity and inclusion, the School created a diversity, equity and inclusion task force in October 2020 made up of various members of the Masters community to monitor progress and make ongoing recommendations to help take steps toward becoming an anti-racist and anti-bias community. The group meets regularly and reports to the head of school. Status report: Ongoing.
    2. Beginning in fall 2020, anti-racism, anti-bias and anti-discrimination training started for students at every grade level and covers the specific needs of a residential and multicultural community. Workshops and training will be offered and encouraged for at least one parent/guardian from each household. Training of various constituencies will continue to take place throughout the year, with the bulk taking place in the early fall. Status report: Ongoing.
    3. To help community members use one another’s correct names and pronunciations, the School created an online name bank in which all members of the Masters community have been invited to record their names. The name bank is available to faculty, staff, administrators and students. Status report: Completed. 
    4. The School hired a counselor of color who is available to meet with students in a confidential setting. Status report: Completed
    5. Since fall 2020, the School has supported a student-initiated mentor/mentee program for students of color who wish to establish connections with alumnae/i and student mentors. Status report: Completed. 
    6. Since fall 2020, the School has provided forums for members of the community to engage in restorative conversations about race. Status report: Ongoing. 
    7. Since fall 2020, the School’s service program, MISH, has dedicated more time and effort to raise awareness of, fundraise for and support nonprofit organizations founded by people of color and that include causes that focus on issues of diversity, equity and inclusion. Status report: Ongoing. 
    8. The School continues to look into participating in the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) Assessment of Inclusivity and Multiculturalism (AIM) survey every five years. The first AIM survey was conducted in 2017. Due to the pandemic, the date of the next survey will be forthcoming.
    9. Head of School Laura Danforth met with parents and students of color during two sessions in December 2020 to give an update on the A Better Masters action plan.
  • Reporting on Progress

    The Masters School is committed to holding itself accountable by transparently reporting the progress of this action plan regularly to all constituencies. 

    Reporting will be done in the following manner:
    1. The Board of Trustees’ committee on diversity, equity and inclusion will report on this action plan to the full Board during each scheduled board meeting.
    2. The School will provide a yearly written progress report on this action plan to the entire Masters community.
    3. The diversity, equity and inclusion task force will give students a progress report on this action plan at least twice annually during Morning Meeting.
    4. The diversity, equity and inclusion task force will give school employees a progress report on this action plan at least twice annually during all-school staff meetings.
    5. In its scheduled meetings, the Parent Association will offer presentations by the head of school, associate head of school, director of diversity, equity and inclusion, board members and/or external speakers to address issues of race and report on progress related to this action plan.

Past Initiatives

The execution of this plan will build upon initiatives that have been implemented during the past five years. For more information on our progress to date, please see below.

List of 13 items.

  • Diversity Ambassadors

    In the 2015-2016 school year, The Masters School formed the diversity ambassadors program, made up of students and faculty who are committed to raising awareness and educating the Masters community on issues of equity and inclusion.
  • Community Event on Race and Privilege

    In spring 2016, The Masters School hosted Masters Matters, a daylong program to bring the community together for a deep dive into issues of race and privilege.
  • Equity and Inclusion Office

    In fall 2016, The Masters School shifted what had previously been the director of transition and diversity to director of equity and inclusion, a senior-level administrator who reports directly to the head of school. In 2019, the School expanded its Equity and Inclusion Department to include divisional coordinators. 
  • Affinity Groups

    The Masters School has recently established the following student affinity groups: Students of Color Affinity Group (formed in 2017), Q+ (for LGBTQ+ students, formed in 2017) and the Asian Affinity Group (formed in 2018).
  • AIM Survey

    In 2017, The Masters School conducted the Assessment of Inclusivity and Multiculturalism (AIM) survey to assess the climate of the entire school community. The next AIM survey will be conducted in fall 2021.
  • People of Color Conference and White Privilege Symposium

    The Masters School began taking more faculty to the People of Color Conference (PoCC) in 2017; previously, only two chaperones who were accompanying students to the Student Diversity Leadership Conference attended. Since 2017, 21 faculty members and administrators have attended PoCC. In 2019, Masters began offering faculty the opportunity to attend the White Privilege Symposium (WPS).

    PoCC is a longstanding event organized by the National Association of Independent Schools to support students and educators of color and their allies. It is an empowering and inspiring for students and faculty attendees alike.
  • Professional Development

    The Masters School has provided professional development opportunities and training for our faculty and staff, specifically addressing equity and inclusion, including: 
    • The School hosted Dr. Derrick Gay, an internationally recognized consultant on issues of diversity, inclusion and global citizenship, in 2017.
    • The School hosted Alex Myers, a writer, teacher and speaker, in 2018.
    • The School hosted Tim Wise, an activist and writer.
    • The School has conducted school-wide professional development on implicit bias for all faculty/administrators and smaller professional sessions on diversity, equity and inclusion and restorative justice. 
  • Saturday Summit on Social Justice

    The Masters School co-hosted the first Saturday Summit on Social Justice in fall 2017. In 2019, 200 students, faculty and staff from Masters and nearby Fairchester schools attended and engaged in a daylong event dedicated to workshops and discussions surrounding these issues. Masters co-hosted a well-attended and successful virtual event for a fourth consecutive year in 2020.
  • Engagement Opportunities for Alumnae/i of Color

    The School recently hosted three events for alumnae/i of color to connect: an alumnae/i event in Annapolis where diversity ambassadors spoke on diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives at Masters in fall 2018, the Black Alumni of Masters (BAM) Affinity reception during Reunion 2018, and the Alumnae/i of Color Dinner in spring 2019.
  • Freshman Seminar

    The Masters School recently incorporated a unit on diversity, equity and inclusion into the required Freshman Seminar class.
  • Middle School Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Leadership Group

    Formed in 2018, the Middle School Diversity, Equity and Inclusion leadership group raises awareness around issues of diversity, equity and inclusion and fundraises for aligned causes and organizations.
  • Parent Association Equity and Inclusion Committee

    Formed in 2018, the Parent Association Equity and Inclusion Committee has hosted events such as a book discussion on "White Fragility" by Robin DiAngelo and “Everything We Want You To Know About Equity and Inclusion: A Student-Hosted Workshop for Parents,” which included presentations on microaggressions/implicit bias, privilege/socioeconomics, gender/sexuality ad ability/disability. The committee also hosted speakers Alex Myers and Stacey Tisdale P’23. 
  • Restorative Justice Disciplinary Model

    The restorative justice model is an option in the disciplinary process for the Upper School, per the 2019-2020 handbook.

Equity And Inclusion News

List of 3 news stories.