Nichols School Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Mission Statement, Adopted March 2020
Nichols School commits to being a courageous community, grounded in equity of process and outcomes, where we can all safely and authentically be ourselves and therefore accept the challenge of our collective growth.
Diversity refers to population demographics and multiple identities represented in our school.
Nichols School welcomes differences and values the full engagement of individuals within our communities whose differences include – but are not limited to – age, ethnicity, family makeup, gender identity and expression, learning ability, physical ability, race, religion, sexual orientation, and socioeconomic status.
All Nichols students will have access to opportunities and customized support. This cultivates their emotional intelligence, creates an authentic sense of identity, and allows them to grow to their full academic potential.
Nichols School will be a welcoming, increasingly more diverse community that prioritizes belonging for all constituencies and supports students, faculty and staff as they pursue their collective growth.
In recent years, Nichols faculty and staff worked collaboratively to develop a Portrait of a Nichols Graduate. Consistent with the school's mission and DEI statement, we aspire that all students will grow in mind, body and heart, embrace challenge and discover their unique sense of self.
The Portrait of a Graduate outlines the core competencies Nichols School instills in students to prepare them for the work of life.
Communication is the skillful, effective, and respectful exchange of ideas with others. Nichols School students develop communication skills as they are given opportunities to respond to others' ideas with clarity and respect. Nichols students are taught to communicate in the following ways:
They seek out and listen actively to a wide variety of opinions and perspectives.
They contribute ideas clearly and with attention to audience across a broad range of media and in different contexts.
They participate respectfully in open exchange of ideas.
They write and receive feedback on their writing frequently and learn to formulate their ideas clearly for different intended audiences.
Nichols students will be prepared - mind, body, and heart - to listen to others with respect, to be compassionate, and to engage in debate with an open mind.
Creativity is the ability to imagine and to realize new possibilities. Nichols School students learn to envision and act upon answers to questions, solutions to problems, and artistic inspirations. Nichols students develop creativity in the following ways:
They respond critically and imaginatively to existing work, including their own.
They identify previously overlooked problems and areas of need and respond with creative solutions.
They develop and understand their own creative process.
They master the tools and techniques needed to achieve their creative goals.
They learn to work collaboratively with others towards common goals.
Nichols students will be prepared - mind, body, and heart - to add their own unique contributions to society and reflect on the process of their creativity and the impact of their creations.
Engagement refers to a Nichols School student's interaction with the community and the world. Nichols students become engaged as they learn to participate actively in their communities. They learn to be open-minded, curious, and informed global citizens in the following ways:
They develop an understanding of civics, democracy, and the responsibilities of a citizen.
They learn about and develop an appreciation of different cultures, histories, religions, languages, and peoples.
They interact with the environment and develop an awareness of the interconnectedness of living beings.
They participate in meaningful dialogue with others and reflect critically on varied experiences and perspectives.
They promote equity for all people by understanding and responding to the conditions that create, sustain, and maintain inequity.
Engagement means Nichols students are prepared - mind, body, and heart - to pursue the highest ideals of character and service into a life lived with purpose.
Development means learning to care for one's own physical, mental, and emotional health. Nichols School students embrace challenge, build character, and nurture a holistic sense of self. Nichols helps students to develop in the following ways:
They learn to understand the behaviors that promote lifelong physical, mental, and emotional health.
They develop character, resilience, and self-awareness by reflecting meaningfully on their own identities, cultures, values, biases, and privileges, and by taking responsibility for their actions.
They actively pursue and cultivate their own interests, passions, and skills.
Development means Nichols students will be prepared - body, mind, and heart - to pursue a balanced and healthy life. Carrying into all they do the highest ideals of character and service, they will meet our complex and challenging world with confidence, resilience, and empathy.
Our Common Language
Consistent with our core competency of communication is discovering a shared language, a platform on which relationship building stands. Too often, work around inclusion, community, and belonging gets detoured because the same terms may have different meanings depending on who is communicating. The results can be confusion, misunderstanding and distrust.
To that end, we aspire to grow a common language for our community. Building our inclusive language cultivates an environment where all members of our community can engage, create, think, communicate and develop meaningfully and effectively.
Members of our faculty growth coaching team and student support team provide relevant professional development for faculty to successfully implement a multi-tiered system of support to meet the needs of all students.
Ongoing and consistent communication is critical to successfully meeting the needs of all students. Advisors meet weekly with students and are often the first to communicate with students to address any academic or behavioral challenges. Team Leaders meet regularly with Division Heads, Dean of Students, and Social Worker to explore appropriate supports for students. Faculty members communicate concerns with advisors, parents, and team leaders. A regular cycle of communication and feedback allows for a lattice of support that ensures all students can succeed and also feel an authentic sense of belonging.
Our Board of Trustees, senior leadership, faculty and staff continues to grow their knowledge assessing and using data. Standardized testing, student and faculty climate surveys, and assessments to measure student growth are utilized to identify gaps, trends, and areas in need of intervention. Continued professional learning is specific to best practices using data.
Our Board of Trustees, senior administration, faculty, and staff strive to use data to inform decision making and problem solving. Specifically, our faculty continues to grow in their use of data to improve learning, performance, and outcomes for all students. Data is used to identify and analyze opportunity and achievement gaps as well as inform appropriate interventions.