Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
I am a heart open to others. - ESD Manifesto
Approved by Episcopal Identity Committee of the Board, January 6, 2022
Approved by the Board of Directors, January 13, 2022
The Board, in partnership with the school’s executive leadership, has worked to reaffirm our commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion at The Episcopal School of Dallas. This commitment is not new; it is an ongoing effort that was embodied in formal commitments made by the school in 1996, 2005, and 2015. Diversity, equity, and inclusion at ESD are defined as follows:
Diversity: Casting as wide a net as possible to attract and retain the best and most spirited people to work, teach, and learn at ESD so as to enrich our community through their variety of talents and perspectives.
Equity: Ensuring that all members of our community have the tools and the environment they need to succeed and be the best version of themselves.
Inclusion: Ensuring that every person at ESD feels a sense of being an integral part of our community and that they have their place within our broader school culture.
The goal of the Board in this work is to help the school achieve a fuller expression of its Episcopal Identity as grounded in the gospels and the teachings of Jesus, and to achieve its mission of igniting lives of purpose through the development of an educated conscience. In the baptismal covenant of the Episcopal Church, the faithful are called to “strive for justice and peace among all people and respect the dignity of every human being.” The commitments made herein are a further articulation of that call. Our Founding Rector and Headmaster, The Reverend Canon Stephen B. Swann, often proclaimed, “Every child is made in the image of a loving God,” to remind students, faculty, and staff of their roles in embracing and shepherding all in our community.
The children attending our school now will leave the relative shelter of ESD soon and live their most productive and fulfilling years at mid‐century. In order to be ready for that world they will need an understanding of the joy, strength, and value of diverse perspectives necessary to succeed in an increasingly diverse community. By having our work guided by these commitments, we believe each of our students will be better prepared to successfully live a life of purpose.
Therefore, the Board reaffirms our commitment, which includes a continuing effort to fulfill the following objectives:
- Be a school that reflects and values the diversity of our community in all its forms, including but not limited to race, ethnicity, religion, gender, sexual orientation, socioeconomic background, and political viewpoint.
- Ensure that all students and employees feel like they belong at ESD, are fully included in the life and culture of the school, and have a safe environment in which to become their best selves.
- Ensure that all students and employees feel respected and valued regardless of who they are or what they believe.
- Ensure that the faculty and staff have the training necessary to teach, in the classroom and by example, the tenets of our Episcopal Identity, including around diversity, equity, and inclusion.
- Ensure that all students and employees are treated fairly and have equitable access to opportunities at ESD.
In order to achieve these objectives, we have asked the school administration to ensure that ESD will continually:
- Unify the ESD community, especially around our shared belief that every child is made in the image of a loving God.
- Review and enhance the structures and systems within the school to encourage an increase in diversity in our community.
- Be proactive in ensuring that the curriculum reflects multiple perspectives and all school policies are nondiscriminatory and free of bias.
- Ensure that teachers are able to understand cultural differences when planning lessons and managing classrooms.
- Collaboratively engage the voices of faculty, staff, students, parents, and alumni in a diverse, equitable, and inclusive school community.
- Review the implementation of these efforts, including soliciting input from the school community.
The Board understands that we live in a highly politicized world with many sources of information and misinformation. In some circumstances, this can lead to misconceptions about the school's direction. To address potential misconceptions, we note specifically that our commitment and objectives are:
- Not a change in our Mission or departure from our Episcopal Identity.
- Not a devaluation of our teaching of the Gospel.
- Not a curriculum change to teach that being part of an ethnic or racial group makes a person responsible for systemic problems, or to cast blame on or shame any member of the community for actions that took place in history.
- Not the teaching of Critical Race Theory.
- Not a mandate that the school encourage children to question or not question their sexual identity or sexual orientation.
- Not the introduction of a political agenda into the classroom or chapel.
- Not a devaluation of the concept of merit in determining student achievement.
Since we are a community with a variety of perspectives on these issues, it is imperative that all community members communicate with each other in accordance with the principles of honor, respect, and integrity. Our Code of Conduct states: “We take pride in making a commitment to these higher ideals and hold each other accountable when we fall short.”
We want all students, faculty, and staff to know that we are one body, one school, regardless of our differences.