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Equity and Inclusion Year in Review, 2023–2024

By Dr. Chandani Patel, Director of Equity and Inclusion

In its third year, the Office of Equity and Inclusion continued to implement programs and initiatives towards cultivating a community where each member thrives.

Led by Dr. Chandani Patel, Rowland Hall’s director of equity and inclusion, this year the team included four divisional coordinators across the school and a part-time equity and inclusion intern. Collaborating with other key partners, the Office of Equity and Inclusion built capacity across the school so that more individuals share the responsibility for advancing an equitable and inclusive Rowland Hall community. This year in review highlights programs and initiatives we led this year, with the help of many partners, to foster a sense of belonging for all. 

We want to thank the students, faculty, staff, trustees, alumni, and parents/caregivers who have contributed to this work this year. We look forward to working with many more of you in the years to come.

Ongoing Faculty Support for 2023–2024

During the 2023–2024 school year, divisional equity and inclusion coordinators collaborated with and provided support to faculty colleagues to advance equity and inclusion in classrooms and divisions. Coordinators worked closely with Dr. Patel and division principals to identify key needs, design resources, and facilitate learning opportunities. The coordinators were Quincy Jackson ’16 (Beginning School), Samantha Hemphill (Lower School), Susan Phillips (Middle School), and Dr. Kate Taylor (Upper School).

We again hosted a national Seeking Educational Equity and Diversity seminar, led by fifth-grade teacher Jen Bourque, where participants considered how they can use their classrooms, communities, or workplaces to create a more equitable environment for all.

2023–2024 DEI Learning Communities and Affinity Groups

  • Belonging @ Rowland Hall Learning Community: This learning community convened a group of faculty and staff committed to advancing belonging for all community members at Rowland Hall. Organized around a set of topics related to equity and inclusion, the community met once a month and was open to all faculty and staff to come learn together. 
  • Student JEDI leaders: This group of Upper School students facilitated learning opportunities for Middle School peers, including on topics such as recognizing and respecting differences, and organized community-building programs, such as luncheons and movie nights, to bring students together across their identities. 
  • Inclusion, Outreach, and Equity (IEO) Committee: This committee of board members and administrators worked to identify and support strategic alignment centered on Rowland Hall’s priority to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion across the school community. 
  • Affinity groups: Twenty-one affinity groups—spaces that bring together people with common identifiers or life experiences—in the lower, middle, and upper schools built relationships and engaged members in shared learning (see list of groups below). A faculty and staff BIPOC affinity group, for those who identify as Black, Indigenous, and other People of Color, gathered to recognize cultural heritage months and build community. The White Antiracist Educators group met to discuss key readings related to equity and inclusion and ways to activate allyship. Three parent/caregiver affinity groups (listed below) also met throughout the year to build community and provide mutual support. 

Student Affinity Groups

Twenty-one affinity groups supported lower, middle, and upper schoolers this year:

  • Banana Splits, Lower School
  • Kids of Color, Lower School
  • Neurodivergent Club, Lower School*
  • Rainbow Club, Lower School
  • Arab and Muslim Affinity Group, Middle School*
  • Boys Affinity Group, Middle School*
  • Jewish Affinity Group, Middle School*
  • Neurodivergent and Allies Affinity Group, Middle School
  • Sexuality and Gender Alliance, Middle School
  • Students of Color, Middle School
  • Asian Affinity Group, Upper School
  • Black Student Union, Upper School
  • Christian Affinity Group, Upper School*
  • Girls of Color, Upper School
  • Infinity: Neurodivergent and Allies Affinity Group, Upper School
  • Jewish Affinity Group, Upper School
  • Latine Affinity Group, Upper School
  • Multiracial Affinity Group, Upper School
  • Muslim Affinity Group, Upper School
  • Queer Straight Alliance, Upper School
  • Queer/Trans People of Color, Upper School*

*New in 2023–2024

Affinity groups in the Lower School are requested by families, led by faculty mentors, and provide space to build community and support. Affinity groups in the middle and upper schools are requested by students and are student-led in terms of topics and activities. 

Parent/Caregiver Affinity Groups

  • Active Allies*
  • Families of Neurodivergent Students*
  • Families of Students of Color

*New in 2023–2024

2023–2024 Programming

  • MLK Week 2024: Weavers and Dreamers: This year’s MLK week theme, Weavers and Dreamers, invited us to consider—alongside storytellers, artists, and musicians—how our dreams of and for the future necessitate listening to each other’s stories, being in relationship with each other, and working toward a shared future. The program featured guest performers Micah Willis ’14 as well as Mama Charlotte and Ashley Finley from the Nubian Storytellers of Utah Leadership. We also celebrated long-serving board member and trailblazing community member Reverend Pastor France A. Davis as he retires from the Board of Trustees. 
  • Second annual STEM Symposium: Led by the Upper School Science Department, this annual program was designed to offer our Upper School students an opportunity to learn from researchers across a variety of STEM disciplines about their work. The program provided students with a lens into a diverse array of career pathways with the hope of igniting their curiosity and showcasing role models in our community. 
  • (*NEW*) All Affinity & Alliance Group Celebration: This end-of-the-year celebration was an opportunity for members of all affinity and alliance groups across the school to come together to build community and celebrate each other. Members of student, faculty and staff, and parent/caregiver affinity groups were in attendance. 
  • Pride Parade 2024: More than 100 participants from the Rowland Hall community marched in the Utah Pride Parade this year. The group was led by student members of the Upper School’s Queer Straight Alliance, the Middle School’s Sexuality and Gender Alliance, and the Lower School’s Rainbow Club. This year, we hosted a float-decorating party for students and families the evening before the event to help build community and add Rowland Hall pride to our float. 

Community Education & Impact

Educational Programs

  • Deliberate Dialogue on Indigenous Perspectives (October) was an opportunity for the community to explore the grounding principles that inform indigenous ways of learning and knowing. Participants learned about indigenous knowledge systems through music and art, resources created by indigenous communities, and discussion about education and indigeneity. The event was presented by Emily Quetone Khan, director of learning services, and her father, Tucker Quetone, who are members of the Kiowa Tribe and citizens of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma. 
  • Author Talk and Discussion with Kimberlee Williams (April) allowed participants to explore how to racially diversify their friend groups, how to show up for and with colleagues in ways that disrupt historic patterns, and how to intentionally and thoughtfully be in community with one another across racial differences.

Community Impact

  • Together with Director of Community Engagement and Impact Ryan Hoglund, Dr. Chandani Patel launched the Center for Community Impact, which the two will be co-directing. The Center is designed to educate, empower, and inspire individuals to become agents of positive change in their communities and beyond and will offer opportunities for Rowland Hall students to establish deep and reciprocal relationships with community partners.
Rowland Hall honors Rev. France A. Davis in January 2024.

Rev. France A. Davis was honored at this year's Weaver and Dreamers Event.
 

Rowland Hall's Upper School holds its second STEM Symposium in 2024.

Upper School students learned from researchers during the second annual STEM Symposium.
 

Rowland Hall hosts  its first Community Partners Breakfast in 2024.

The school's first Community Partners Breakfast was held this spring.
 

Author Kimberlee Williams visited Rowland Hall in 2024.

Author Kimberlee Williams held a community discussion in April.

Equity and Inclusion

Equity and Inclusion Year in Review, 2023–2024

By Dr. Chandani Patel, Director of Equity and Inclusion

In its third year, the Office of Equity and Inclusion continued to implement programs and initiatives towards cultivating a community where each member thrives.

Led by Dr. Chandani Patel, Rowland Hall’s director of equity and inclusion, this year the team included four divisional coordinators across the school and a part-time equity and inclusion intern. Collaborating with other key partners, the Office of Equity and Inclusion built capacity across the school so that more individuals share the responsibility for advancing an equitable and inclusive Rowland Hall community. This year in review highlights programs and initiatives we led this year, with the help of many partners, to foster a sense of belonging for all. 

We want to thank the students, faculty, staff, trustees, alumni, and parents/caregivers who have contributed to this work this year. We look forward to working with many more of you in the years to come.

Ongoing Faculty Support for 2023–2024

During the 2023–2024 school year, divisional equity and inclusion coordinators collaborated with and provided support to faculty colleagues to advance equity and inclusion in classrooms and divisions. Coordinators worked closely with Dr. Patel and division principals to identify key needs, design resources, and facilitate learning opportunities. The coordinators were Quincy Jackson ’16 (Beginning School), Samantha Hemphill (Lower School), Susan Phillips (Middle School), and Dr. Kate Taylor (Upper School).

We again hosted a national Seeking Educational Equity and Diversity seminar, led by fifth-grade teacher Jen Bourque, where participants considered how they can use their classrooms, communities, or workplaces to create a more equitable environment for all.

2023–2024 DEI Learning Communities and Affinity Groups

  • Belonging @ Rowland Hall Learning Community: This learning community convened a group of faculty and staff committed to advancing belonging for all community members at Rowland Hall. Organized around a set of topics related to equity and inclusion, the community met once a month and was open to all faculty and staff to come learn together. 
  • Student JEDI leaders: This group of Upper School students facilitated learning opportunities for Middle School peers, including on topics such as recognizing and respecting differences, and organized community-building programs, such as luncheons and movie nights, to bring students together across their identities. 
  • Inclusion, Outreach, and Equity (IEO) Committee: This committee of board members and administrators worked to identify and support strategic alignment centered on Rowland Hall’s priority to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion across the school community. 
  • Affinity groups: Twenty-one affinity groups—spaces that bring together people with common identifiers or life experiences—in the lower, middle, and upper schools built relationships and engaged members in shared learning (see list of groups below). A faculty and staff BIPOC affinity group, for those who identify as Black, Indigenous, and other People of Color, gathered to recognize cultural heritage months and build community. The White Antiracist Educators group met to discuss key readings related to equity and inclusion and ways to activate allyship. Three parent/caregiver affinity groups (listed below) also met throughout the year to build community and provide mutual support. 

Student Affinity Groups

Twenty-one affinity groups supported lower, middle, and upper schoolers this year:

  • Banana Splits, Lower School
  • Kids of Color, Lower School
  • Neurodivergent Club, Lower School*
  • Rainbow Club, Lower School
  • Arab and Muslim Affinity Group, Middle School*
  • Boys Affinity Group, Middle School*
  • Jewish Affinity Group, Middle School*
  • Neurodivergent and Allies Affinity Group, Middle School
  • Sexuality and Gender Alliance, Middle School
  • Students of Color, Middle School
  • Asian Affinity Group, Upper School
  • Black Student Union, Upper School
  • Christian Affinity Group, Upper School*
  • Girls of Color, Upper School
  • Infinity: Neurodivergent and Allies Affinity Group, Upper School
  • Jewish Affinity Group, Upper School
  • Latine Affinity Group, Upper School
  • Multiracial Affinity Group, Upper School
  • Muslim Affinity Group, Upper School
  • Queer Straight Alliance, Upper School
  • Queer/Trans People of Color, Upper School*

*New in 2023–2024

Affinity groups in the Lower School are requested by families, led by faculty mentors, and provide space to build community and support. Affinity groups in the middle and upper schools are requested by students and are student-led in terms of topics and activities. 

Parent/Caregiver Affinity Groups

  • Active Allies*
  • Families of Neurodivergent Students*
  • Families of Students of Color

*New in 2023–2024

2023–2024 Programming

  • MLK Week 2024: Weavers and Dreamers: This year’s MLK week theme, Weavers and Dreamers, invited us to consider—alongside storytellers, artists, and musicians—how our dreams of and for the future necessitate listening to each other’s stories, being in relationship with each other, and working toward a shared future. The program featured guest performers Micah Willis ’14 as well as Mama Charlotte and Ashley Finley from the Nubian Storytellers of Utah Leadership. We also celebrated long-serving board member and trailblazing community member Reverend Pastor France A. Davis as he retires from the Board of Trustees. 
  • Second annual STEM Symposium: Led by the Upper School Science Department, this annual program was designed to offer our Upper School students an opportunity to learn from researchers across a variety of STEM disciplines about their work. The program provided students with a lens into a diverse array of career pathways with the hope of igniting their curiosity and showcasing role models in our community. 
  • (*NEW*) All Affinity & Alliance Group Celebration: This end-of-the-year celebration was an opportunity for members of all affinity and alliance groups across the school to come together to build community and celebrate each other. Members of student, faculty and staff, and parent/caregiver affinity groups were in attendance. 
  • Pride Parade 2024: More than 100 participants from the Rowland Hall community marched in the Utah Pride Parade this year. The group was led by student members of the Upper School’s Queer Straight Alliance, the Middle School’s Sexuality and Gender Alliance, and the Lower School’s Rainbow Club. This year, we hosted a float-decorating party for students and families the evening before the event to help build community and add Rowland Hall pride to our float. 

Community Education & Impact

Educational Programs

  • Deliberate Dialogue on Indigenous Perspectives (October) was an opportunity for the community to explore the grounding principles that inform indigenous ways of learning and knowing. Participants learned about indigenous knowledge systems through music and art, resources created by indigenous communities, and discussion about education and indigeneity. The event was presented by Emily Quetone Khan, director of learning services, and her father, Tucker Quetone, who are members of the Kiowa Tribe and citizens of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma. 
  • Author Talk and Discussion with Kimberlee Williams (April) allowed participants to explore how to racially diversify their friend groups, how to show up for and with colleagues in ways that disrupt historic patterns, and how to intentionally and thoughtfully be in community with one another across racial differences.

Community Impact

  • Together with Director of Community Engagement and Impact Ryan Hoglund, Dr. Chandani Patel launched the Center for Community Impact, which the two will be co-directing. The Center is designed to educate, empower, and inspire individuals to become agents of positive change in their communities and beyond and will offer opportunities for Rowland Hall students to establish deep and reciprocal relationships with community partners.
Rowland Hall honors Rev. France A. Davis in January 2024.

Rev. France A. Davis was honored at this year's Weaver and Dreamers Event.
 

Rowland Hall's Upper School holds its second STEM Symposium in 2024.

Upper School students learned from researchers during the second annual STEM Symposium.
 

Rowland Hall hosts  its first Community Partners Breakfast in 2024.

The school's first Community Partners Breakfast was held this spring.
 

Author Kimberlee Williams visited Rowland Hall in 2024.

Author Kimberlee Williams held a community discussion in April.

Equity and Inclusion

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