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Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, Access (DEIA)

St. Madeleine Sophie Barat

What is the good of teaching various subjects, of wasting time in learning them, if at the same time we cannot teach children the words of life and touch their hearts and their consciences?
Creating an inclusive and caring environment has been the hallmark of a Sacred Heart education since 1801, and is the metric by which we gauge our progress. We have learned many lessons along the way—namely that we, too, have an obligation to look at and honor the experiences of all students so that our culture reflects the rich traditions and heritage of historically underrepresented groups.

At Sacred Heart, we invite all students, faculty, and staff to bring their whole selves to the community, inside and outside of the classroom, because we know that the best learning environment is one in which students have the opportunity to participate in lively dialogue and the exchange of ideas with people from every walk of life. The future of our world and our planet depends on leaders who have the capacity to reach across artificial boundaries to build a world in which all human beings and the planet thrive. 

SHS Board of Trustees Commitment

List of 2 frequently asked questions.

  • Resolution: Promoting Racial Justice at SHS

    Re-committing to its 2004 resolution to address racial injustice in the school and school community, in fall of 2020 the SHS Board of Trustees proposed a more comprehensive and updated document around DEIA: Resolution from the Sacred Heart Schools, Atherton Board of Trustees Promoting Racial Justice. 

    Following an unanimous vote, this document was adopted and is now further serving to guide all DEIA-related work and initiatives undertaken by the school and school leadership.
  • Resolution: Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, Access

    Every Sacred Heart School in the United States subscribes to the Goals and Criteria of Sacred Heart Education.  Therefore, sensitivity to, and support of, the diversification of the campus at all levels is part of the essential nature of a Sacred Heart School. 

    Sacred Heart Schools, Atherton holds as its particular mission the inclusion of diverse people at all levels of campus life and the development of programs to support the unique needs of each student.
    To this end the SHS Board of Trustees adopts the following goals:
    • The Board seeks to diversify its own membership
    • The Board commits itself to support programs that edify all members of our community.
    The Board calls the administration to:
    • Commit to the recruitment of administrators, faculty, staff and students from a variety of ethnic and socio-economic backgrounds;
    • Develop programs that help retain and graduate students from a variety of ethnic and socio-economic backgrounds; and
    • Create an environment of support for all members of our community
    Specifically, in regard to students, it is the goal of Sacred Heart Schools that:
    • The financial aid program be sufficient to support each applicant on a need-blind acceptance basis;
    • No student be marginalized in any campus activity;
    • No student will be unable to attend school or a school activity because of financial constraints;
    • Campus activities be organized with an awareness of and respect for our community’s socio-economic diversity; and
    • Sufficient support programs be developed to help students achieve a “level playing field” in academics, social and extra-curricular activities.

Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion Initiatives

List of 3 frequently asked questions.

  • Restorative Justice Practices (All-School)

    Following our call to promote “the inherent dignity of the human person… and relationships characterized by inclusion and mutual respect” (Goal IV, Criterion 1) and to “practice informed, ethical decision-making and accountability” (Goal V, Criterion 4), Sacred Heart has introduced and implemented Restorative Justice Practices across a growing range of school spaces and activities. 
    Restorative Justice Practices include a set of beliefs and practices to help individuals cultivate, maintain, and repair community via means such as co-creating classroom and meeting space agreements, sharing circles, and establishing processes to repair and prevent harm in a community.
  • Ethnic Studies Requirement (SHP)

    Becoming part of the high school’s core curriculum, Ethnic Studies incorporates four key themes/units: Identity, Systems of Power, History and Movement, and Social Movements and Equity. Developed by SHP faculty, course content will respond to our Sacred Heart mandate to “prepare students to serve the common good in an interdependent world” (Goal III, Criterion 1) helping students develop “competencies such as critical consciousness, language facility and cultural literacy” (Goal III, Criterion 2).

    SHP’s Ethnic Studies course will launch first as an elective (AY 2024-25) and then as a sophomore requirement paired with Civics (AY 2025-26) - aligned with both important movements within California education and the State’s Ethnic Studies graduation requirement for all public high schools. 
  • Student Affinity Spaces (SHP & MS)

    Sacred Heart remains committed to supporting programs and providing opportunities for students to find - even create - spaces of belonging, so that our “school community reflects an ethos of joy, hope, and celebration” (Goal I, Criterion 3),  dynamically populated by students and families of “diverse races, ethnicities and backgrounds” (Goal IV, Criterion 6).

    Partnering with faculty and staff mentors, our middle school and high school students have helped launch and lead an array of student affinity groups based on shared experiences and identities, such those of gender, race/ethnicity, faith, and neurodiversity. In these thriving and dedicated spaces, students learn with and from one another, find and offer mutual support, and positively impact our larger school community - organizing school assemblies, teach-ins, rallies, cultural celebrations, and many other activities.

Educational Access Initiatives

List of 2 frequently asked questions.

  • Sophie's Scholars Program

    Created to both build a broad student population that will deepen the educational experience within the SHS classrooms and community, and to ensure and support student access and success through high school and beyond, the Sophie's Scholars Program (SSP) is an initiative composed of three main parts: the Middle School Cohort, attendance at SHP and college program.
  • Barat College Access Fund (BCAF)

    Awarded to select SHP students who have met program pre-requisites but who may not otherwise be able to enroll at college due to limited resources, recipients of the Barat College Access Fund are given financial assistance to supplement traditional college financial aid programs, in order to meet tuition and other related college costs and significantly limit—or eliminate—the burden of student and family loans.

DEIA Program Contacts

List of 5 members.

  • Photo of Kathryn Motroni-Fish

    Kathryn Motroni-Fish 

    Director of Mission & Ministry - SHS
  • Photo of Marissa Castañeda

    Marissa Casta├▒eda 

    Director Sophie's Scholars Program
  • Photo of Brisa Diaz

    Brisa Diaz 

    Director of Mission & Culture - LMS
  • Photo of Spenser Leverett

    Spenser Leverett 

    Student Services Coordinator, SHP
  • Photo of Cecilia Sobalvarro

    Cecilia Sobalvarro 

    Family Services Coordinator - OMCS

Sacred Heart Schools Atherton

Sacred Heart Schools, Atherton

150 Valparaiso Ave
Atherton, CA 94027
650 322 1866
Founded by the Society of the Sacred Heart, SHS is a Catholic, independent, co-ed day school for students in preschool through grade 12