As one of the very first independent schools in New England to enroll Black students, Shady Hill has a long and storied history of working towards racial equity and justice. This work is never done. Racism and white supremacy are deeply rooted in our society and are also present in our institution, demanding an ongoing, thoughtful, systematic response. We must examine our mistakes and missteps, and take responsibility for the pain and harm we’ve caused in moments when we did not live up to our racial equity mission. Through this honest and transparent assessment and analysis, we can repair relationships, build new systems and practices, and shift ideologies and culture to create a more equitable school.
Shady Hill is proud of its commitment to providing a sense of belonging for all students, and affinity groups are an important resource for building communities. Affinity group spaces provide opportunities for our students to connect around shared experiences. Our newest affinity group, called Gender-Expansive Kids, welcomes students from Beginners to Grade VIII who identify as transgender, nonbinary, gender non-conforming, or gender identity other than cisgender. In addition to our affinity group spaces, the Middle School has added a new program called Social Justice Spotlight. In pursuit of our mission to develop students who are “intellectually adventurous and wholeheartedly just,” all Middle School students this year, whether they attend an affinity gathering or not, engage in conversations and activities focused on diversity, equity, and inclusion during Social Justice Spotlight time. Aligned with the Shady Hill commitment to diversity, inclusion, equity, and belonging, the School announced in May 2021 to expand and rename the Office of Inclusion and Multicultural Practice to the Equity Office. In the fall, education consulting firm Diversity Directions virtually revisited the School to help assess and focus the mission of the Equity Office as we advance our work at Shady Hill.