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.
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 Schoolsthat:
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 and Committees
Established in 2004, the EJME program is an integrated preschool - 12th grade initiative focused on offering several services, programs, and workshops for students, parents, faculty and staff at SHS and for the outside community. EJME partners with others to build social awareness and help create a more authentic, multicultural campus community based on Christian values that are rooted in the Gospel. Efforts are also aimed at parent and caregiver support and students' academic success, leadership development, and identity formation as agents of change and as responsible and educated global citizens that care for others.
Named for the fourth commitment in our SHS Goals and Criteria - Goal IV: The building of community as a Christian value - the Goal IV Steering Committee is designated by the Board of Trustees with senior administrative support to:
enact the diversity & inclusion initiative of Vision 2025 (Strategic Plan);
be responsible for articulating, prioritizing, and measuring schoolwide EAI goals; and
commit to strategizing ways to modify our existing practices (or create new practices) that better align with SHS’s mission.
The purpose of the Racial Justice Task Force (RJTF) is to develop a strategic, institutional plan to promote racial justice at Sacred Heart with clear outcomes and metrics. Utilizing community input, including personal experiences shared by current and former SHS educators, students, alumni, and parents, we intend to help develop the institutional position with clarity ex ante, to be able to more fully, clearly, and expediently identify and address issues in our community as they arise.
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.
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.
The CSC is a group of educators who have gathered around and are committed to helping our students better navigate the rich but challenging cultural framework of our country. The CSC arose out of the realization that we were not fully addressing certain important needs of our students, recognizing that our students with more marginal identities often did not find themselves reflected in our curriculum. Many of these students did not feel as if they possessed valued kinds of knowledge or fluency in particular forms and rhythms of classroom discourse. At the same time, we also knew that this lack of diversity in our teaching even hindered many students whose identities aligned more closely with the norms of our school and its surroundings. Thus, this collective coalesced around the goal of helping all of our students by bringing them into fuller conversation with one another and with diverse sources and ways of knowing from which they might better develop their individual agencies and find connections across seeming differences.
A dedicated White Allies group was established about five years ago in response to many of our friends and colleagues of color continuing to feel less welcome, less supported, and less visible at Sacred Heart Schools than our values call for. Our goal is to align our professed values (compassion, understanding, inclusion and non-violence) more completely with our actual behaviors and practices.