Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI)
It's critical everyone feels safe and supported as part of the Meridian family. We want a better world for everyone and believe that diversity makes us all stronger. This ethos of equality exists deep in the core of the International Baccalaureate's mission: to develop inquiring, knowledgeable, and caring young people who help create a better and more peaceful world through intercultural understanding and respect. We recognize that this starts with us, both as individuals and together as a school community.
Anti-discrimination work is ongoing work. We highlight what's happening right now:
- We have created a DEI Coordinator position.
- We have engaged an equity consultant who is leading our growth process.
- We are working on our equity vision statement to guide our work through the upcoming years.
- Staff training is happening now and will continue to remain a priority in coming years.
- We hosted student assemblies in secondary to start the conversations about discrimination at Meridian.
- We have held grade-appropriate discussions with our primary students in their Counselors Specials classes.
- We sent an Open Letter to TPRI regarding a passage on voting rights and the erasure of history regarding voting rights for people of color.
- We’re in the process of identifying on-campus and community advocates and additional resources for students.
- We host listening sessions and general meetings/updates for members of our community throughout the year.
- March 30 at 5:30 pm - Asian/Hawaiian/Pacific Islander families listening session
- April 22 - Spring Parent Meeting
"… Equity includes addressing the concerns and needs of those who are most affected while maintaining support to those who are not. Racism does affect all of us, creating divisions between groups of people because of misinterpretation of differences. I pray that we can find common ground."
- Find Conversation Starters
- Look in our newsletter archives (The Lion) to review two updates from Head of School Rick Fernández on where we stand regarding our equity work.
- The Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI) Committee (part of the Advisory Council) is working through how we can positively impact our school culture. This group includes staff, parents, alumni and students. If you’re interested in learning more, please email Monique Swain.
- The Meridian Alumni Collective has come together to offer input into Meridian’s path forward in three areas: student support, faculty training, and disciplinary procedures. On July 10, the open letter titled, “To Meridian: A Call for Change,” was sent to the Meridian Board and Administration with 54 alumni signatories. The alumni who supported the call to action represent Meridian’s 2018, 2019, 2020 graduating classes and reflect the diverse and thoughtful student community at Meridian. The overall goal of the Meridian Alumni Collective is to ensure that the complex identities of our local community are uplifted, celebrated, and validated in everyday academic life at Meridian.
- The Conversation Continues: Race Matters ran from June to October 2020, led by Monique Swain and her husband Lenard. The conversations centered on race relations and cultural diversity within the Meridian community and were an outlet for sharing, hearing, and exploring personal experiences and viewpoints from parents, students, and staff. Fill out this Google Form if you’re interested in attending when the conversations resume.
Professional Development and Staff Training
- We are partnering with Paul Gorski and other Equity Literacy Institute (ELI) professionals to help facilitate our community through several sessions during the 2020-2021 school year. ELI will guide us through the process of developing shared language around equity/inequity while individuals learn to apply anti-bias and equity commitments to their roles at Meridian. ELI will also assist with a student equity audit.
- We are reviewing staff hiring, training, and retention with a focus on equity.
- Dr. Angela Ward delivered the keynote address in a week of professional development with a thoughtful presentation of how best to support our students in a time of social unrest.
- We are determining where we can add concentrated equity training later in the year.
- Meridian staff have formed a “Better Together Book Club” to support the hard work further developing our school community as one that embodies educational equity for all students and promotes a culture that values, includes and respects all races equally.
- In another opportunity, “Exploring Equity through the Art of Film,” staff come together through the shared experience of watching and then discussing selected films focused on American Black experiences through history to modern times
Our relationship with Law Enforcement
On financial or legal arrangements: Meridian World School has no financial or legal arrangement with the RRPD, nor do we employ a School Resource Officer (SRO).
On safety: We work with several organizations, including local law enforcement and the I Love You Guys Foundation, in training for crisis response and post crisis reunification. We follow the Standard Response Protocol and Standard Reunification Method. Most calls to the RRPD made in the past have been required under state statute to inform police of potential threat situations.