We will unflinchingly challenge our assumptions and make necessary institutional changes to create a safe, equitable, and anti-racist learning community at Poly.
—John Bracker, Head of School

Statement on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Diversity of ideas, experiences, and identities within the school enriches the experience of everyone and inspires transformative teaching and learning. At Poly, we celebrate and value the uniqueness of each individual in the community to fulfill the school’s mission and vision.

An inclusive community fosters academic excellence and personal growth to ensure that all students are seen and heard, empowering every student to be authentic. Faculty and staff practice inclusivity and appreciation to create a safe learning environment where differing viewpoints and multiple perspectives are expressed and honored. Conformity of thought is not required. At Poly, we value all cultures and ethnicities and the richness they bring to our shared community. Poly strives to ensure all families experience a sense of belonging and are able to participate fully in the life of the school.

We believe all members of the Poly community share a collective responsibility to foster an equitable and just community. We strive to:
  • Value and create connections amongst all members of the community;
  • Weave the practice of diversity, equity, and inclusion into the curriculum and fabric of the school;
  • Seek and provide feedback to promote growth;
  • Approach decisions with integrity, kindness, and generosity;
  • Encourage empathy and see the best in each other.

A Message from the Board of Trustees on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

"These past seven months have seen tremendous challenges for the Poly community. The COVID-19 pandemic has required all of us to adjust rapidly to a shuttered campus while maintaining standards of academic excellence and community that epitomize Poly. We have also witnessed the agonizing evidence of systemic racism and the continued unjust treatment of Black people that have galvanized the Black Lives Matter movement. Furthermore, a candid exchange of experiences on social media's “Dear Poly,” has required us to examine whether Poly is actually fulfilling its mission of providing an equitable and outstanding learning environment for all of its students and alumni. This confluence of events has deepened our resolve to examine the existence of embedded inequity within the Poly community and to reconfirm our commitment to take concrete actions that eliminate systemic bias of all forms..."

2020-2021 Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Priorities

List of 4 items.

  • Culture and Dialogue

    In collaboration with Dr. Camille Rich, Rosetta Lee, Jen Cort and other diversity practitioners, Poly will conduct community conversations and forums in affinity spaces and the broader Poly community.
  • Curricular Review

    A K-12 curricular audit will be conducted through the lens of equity and inclusion. 
  • Education and Skill Building

    Anti-racist education and training for each Poly community group will be offered throughout the school year.
  • Recruitment and Hiring

    Develop strategy for recruitment, outreach, and hiring of faculty, staff, and administrators of color, including Poly’s inaugural Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. 

Alumni Reconciliation Sessions

In light of the current national focus and the role anti-Blackness has played in recent police brutality controversies, Poly is taking immediate action to create dialogue within our community. We will accelerate the formation of our Alumni-Affinity Groups and hold reconciliation sessions to explore the various forms of bias disclosed through social media. All Poly community members are invited to come together during these sessions and share their frustrations, disappointments, as well as ideas to address bias dynamics at Poly. The first reconciliation session was moderated by Dr. Camille Rich in August and focused on sharing truths about anti-Black bias and was an immediate and constructive place to start this conversation. Also, upcoming sessions in the Fall of 2020 will be organized to focus on anti-Latinx bias and anti-Asian bias, as well as upcoming forums for LGBTQ+, Jewish, Muslim, South Asian, and Middle Eastern community members. We are allotting time for these affinity groups to convene and appoint leadership to facilitate the forums.

For more information, please contact Katherine Vieser, Director of Alumni and Community Relations.

Parent DEI Committee Mission and Vision Statement

adopted April 2021

The Parent Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Committee is an alliance group committed to partnering with the broader Poly community to achieve shared DEI goals and objectives, and to inspire a culture of action surrounding topics of diversity, equity, and inclusion. We seek to bolster a parent community and learning environment where everyone feels equally recognized, valued, and celebrated.

We are committed to:
  • Facilitating continuous DEI education opportunities for parents
  • Uniting families around shared identity via affinity groups
  • Serving as a safe space to help surface inequities and opportunities for improvement within the Poly community

Parent Education Series

In recognition of our diverse learning community, Poly introduced parent education sessions specifically focused to meet the pressing needs of parent groups across grade levels. This new programming is based on the understanding that to strengthen the Poly community, we must acknowledge our distinct histories and experiences as a multiracial community. 
 
Reflecting upon what we have recently learned by listening and examining concerns surfaced on Dear_Poly and other social media posts, one of our primary goals is to ensure that our children and families of color equally feel that their experiences are central to the Poly experience. In response to immediate questions and needs of our parent community, we are excited to offer parent education sessions for Lower School, Middle School, and Upper School parents of color, as well as for the general parent group.

2020-2021 Parent Education Sessions

List of 5 items.

  • Talking to Youth about Heated Topics

    Date and time: Thursday, September 10, 5-6 p.m.
    Audience: Middle School and Upper School parents and guardians
    Young people bear witness to challenging or traumatic events in current events, media, and our local communities. They are often trying to process thoughts, feelings, and reactions without our explicit help and guidance - thereby increasing their confusion and anxiety. We adults have a natural instinct to protect our children from harsh realities and yet prepare them to navigate this complex world - is it possible to do both? What are ways to talk about identity, difference, and justice in age-appropriate ways? How do you reinforce your family's values without instilling disrespect for other perspectives? How do you coach them toward authentic and respectful dialogue across differences?

    Facilitated by Rosetta Lee
  • She’s Just Not Ready Yet: Finding The Right Time To Talk To Your Child About Race

    Date and time: Wednesday, September 16, 7-8 p.m.
    Audience: Lower School parents and guardians
    Some parents experience anxiety as they try to determine when and how to have constructive conversations with their children about race. Research shows these conversations are critical. In this session, Lower School parents have the opportunity to develop their capacity to introduce racial topics. They will learn how to address questions about contemporary social justice conflicts and redirect messages when a child articulates sentiments that could be perceived as biased.

    Facilitated by Dr. Camille Rich
    Read More
  • Black and Latinx Parents: Talking to Children About Police Brutality and Managing Children’s Anxiety in a Time of Racial Activism

    Date and Time: Tuesday, September 29, 2020, 7-8 p.m.
    Audience: Upper School Black and Latinx parents, and parents of Black and Latinx children. 
     
    This facilitated discussion will allow parents to explore the challenges they have faced in talking with their children about police brutality, as well as the related social activism and unrest reported in today’s news. The discussion will explore and identify age-appropriate ways to talk about current events with children and introduce activities to engage them in processing their concerns.
     
    Facilitated by Dr. Camille Gear Rich
  • Asian and Asian American Parents: How to Deal With Anti-Asian Bias

    Date and time: TBD
    Audience: Upper School Asian American/Asian parents, and parents of Asian American children.

    This session invites parents to discuss how they can help their children process the rising tide of anti-Asian bias in America triggered by COVID-19. Parents will benefit from support to help their children process negative interactions in public, stories heard on the news, or inappropriate comments from peers. The discussion will explore when it is appropriate to raise these topics and how to prepare a child who might have not previously faced these issues.
  • Affinity Groups in Schools

    Date and Time: Wednesday, January 6, 2021; 7-8 p.m.
    Audience: All K-12 parents and guardians
     
    Affinity Groups in school settings have long provided opportunities for members of historically marginalized communities to experience safety and comfort, affirmation, resilience, and empowerment. Poly parents and guardians can learn about their importance in building equitable and inclusive communities, what groups exist and are in formation at Poly, and how to launch or sustain new groups for families, faculty/staff, alums, and more. 

    Facilitated by Rosetta Lee, a diversity speaker and trainer on a variety of topics, the conversation on affinity groups in schools will focus on how we can best empower these groups. 


This school year, as we further develop our programming with more expansive, age-appropriate topics, we will announce sessions open to all Poly parents. We intend to create safe spaces for parents of color and white families for building structures of learning and discussions. These are examples of some upcoming topics:

Parent Education Topics in Development

  • Talking with Children about Police Brutality and Managing Children's Anxiety in a Time of Racial Activism - General Session for Allies
  • How Colorblindness Messages Harm Children
  • Moving Beyond Diversity Discussions

News from Poly's Faculty DEI Committees

List of 3 items.

  • Lower School

    The guiding principles of the Lower School DEI Faculty Committee are to ensure all students feel seen, heard, safe, and valued for their unique contributions to our community; and to help students learn about themselves and the world around them. In addition to their year-long goals to support professional development and incorporate social justice goals within each grade-level curriculum, the committee is currently working toward ensuring representation in the Lower School Library’s books and resources, and engaging faculty in conversations about identity, race, and privilege.
  • Middle School

    The Middle School Faculty DEI committee will focus its effort in three areas this year: faculty professional development and training, student DEI curriculum, and student affinity groups.With an acute awareness of the intellectual and social-emotional capacity of middle-schoolers, the faculty will engage in programming and initiatives that center their work around cultural competency and anti-bias work with students to foster empathy and inclusion. Affinity group space will also be created to purposefully and thoughtfully support every student’s ongoing development and understanding of their place in the world.
  • Upper School

    The Upper School DEI Faculty Committee helped launch SLIDE, the student diversity council for Student Leadership in Inclusion, Diversity, and Equity. SLIDE works in partnership with existing DEI cohorts like student affinity groups, while also serving groups and individuals who haven't yet found a space or voice. Members of SLIDE are resources to students for both interpersonal and campus-wide discussions on identity and marginalization, and take proactive steps to foster a school culture that values and provides each student the freedom to pursue excellence and express their true selves.

A Vision to Move Forward

As Poly moves forward, we do so with a new vision. We understand that diversity and difference only enrich our community. We believe that every student, parent/guardian, faculty, staff, and alumni share a responsibility to create a space of true belonging for all members of the Poly community. We are committed to providing our families with developmentally-appropriate tools, discussion spaces, and exploration experiences that will build confidence and belonging for every student at Poly.

From diversity to inclusion and equity

The importance of diversity work in independent schools