Diversity, Equity, and Inclusivity at Gunston
The Gunston School promotes a welcoming and tolerant environment that values the inherent dignity and worth of every individual. We recognize, honor, and celebrate the rich diversity that exists within our community and our world, and we seek to engender in Gunston students the cultural competence to embrace diverse ideas, perspectives and individuals. This includes, but is not limited to, diversity of race, ethnicity, language, nationality, gender, gender identity, physical and mental ability, learning style, religion, class, and sexual orientation, as well as of societal and world views. Our overarching aim is to prepare our students to navigate successfully as scholars, citizens, and leaders in a diverse global society.
Consistent with the essential core of Gunston’s mission and philosophy, Gunston seeks to recruit and support a diverse student body, and our community consists of students and families from a broad range of socioeconomic and cultural backgrounds. Overall, approximately 18% of Gunston students identify as students of color, and each year Gunston welcomes onto our campus international students from Europe and Asia who make up 11% of our student body. These talented young men and women, all of whom are living and studying far away from their family and support network, bring an extraordinary diversity of perspectives and experiences to our campus. Meanwhile, approximately 61% of students receive need-based financial aid from Gunston. Gunston has recently completed an institutional strategic planning process driven by our Board of Trustees and supported by the administration, faculty, and community. Echoing the language of our mission and philosophy, a prominent goal of the plan reinforces our commitment to global citizenship:
“We seek to engender in Gunston students the cultural competence to embrace diversity of race, culture, nationality, language, as well as of societal and world views.”
See how we are promoting diversity, equity, and inclusivity at Gunston:
With the aim of developing both cultural competence and global awareness, Gunston pursues a curricular vision of “windows and mirrors.” In practice, our robust course curriculum is a place where our diverse community of students can see their values and cultures reflected in their coursework while also having the opportunity to explore a diverse and often unfamiliar array of perspectives and identities.In addition to the core curriculum, students have the opportunity to take a wide range of electives on topics including Asian History, African Literature, Comparative Government, and Feminist Rhetoric, among others.
Gunston students are also encouraged to explore the development of their own identities through a comprehensive curricula offered through Gunston’s Wellness, Gunston Experience, and College 101 courses. We feel confident that a child’s Gunston education prepares them to interact positively with their peers who have a variety of values, cultures, and experiences.
The Student Diversity Leaders of Gunston is a student-led (and student-founded) club that promotes equity, inclusivity, and diversity at Gunston. Each week, student leaders meet to discuss current events at local and global levels. Students also have the opportunity to attend conferences where they form friendships and connections, discuss social justice issues, and share knowledge with one another. In addition, the Student Diversity Leaders of Gunston plan and execute both Unity Day and Global Awareness Day.
Each year, Gunston devotes a day to expanding and challenging our perspectives as a community. This almost entirely student-planned day offers Gunston students an opportunity to examine their relationship with the world around them, to reflect upon their values and identity, and to prepare for the unique demands of a globalized economy. Global Awareness Day 2018’s theme was “Finding Your Voice, Finding Yourself” and featured celebrity vocal coach Jennifer Hamady as the keynote speaker. Prospective students and parents are also invited to campus to take part in the day’s events.
Each year, Gunston students attend the Baltimore Student Diversity Leadership Conference which is sponsored by the Association of Independent Maryland and DC Schools (AIMS). This conference offers Gunston students an opportunity to build connections with their peers on the Western Shore. Together students share their perspectives on the role of diversity in schools and the role of student leadership in promoting diversity and inclusivity in schools. Last year, Gunston students led a workshop on immigrant experiences on the Eastern Shore.
NAIS Student Diversity Leadership Conference/People of Color Conference
The SDLC/PoCC Conference is NAIS’s annual conference devoted to improving and enhancing the intercultural climate in independent schools. Each year, several Gunston students and faculty attend this conference where they build skills in self-advocacy and cross-cultural engagement, share knowledge, and network with peers from around the world. This year’s conference theme will be Equitable Schools and Inclusive Communities: Harmony, Discord, and the Notes in Between.
Faculty and Staff
Gunston intentionally seeks to recruit and retain a diverse faculty to support our student body. Our faculty represent a variety of cultures, languages, racial and socioeconomic backgrounds, as well as religious and political beliefs. We believe that having adults of various histories brings the complexity of the non-academic world into our school. Currently, 13% of Gunston’s faculty and school leadership identify as persons of color.
Bias Event Protocol
DEFINITION OF ‘BIAS EVENT’
Gunston defines a bias event as an act, either intentional or unintentional, of bigotry, harassment, insensitivity, or intimidation involving a member of the Gunston community that a reasonable person would conclude is directed at a member or group within the Gunston community based on race, ethnicity, language, nationality, gender, gender identity, physical and mental ability, learning style, religion, class, or sexual orientation.
Speech or expression that is consistent with the principles of academic freedom does not constitute a bias event.
BIAS EVENT RESPONSE STEPS
A bias event report is submitted to the Director of Global Programs and Diversity who also serves as Gunston’s Bias Response Coordinator.
The Bias Response Group is convened in a timely manner.
The Bias Response Group investigates the event to determine how and why the event happened. The focus should remain on addressing the impact of the event rather than its motivation.
The Bias Response Group will communicate with relevant parties and the wider community as necessary to provide accurate information and dispel misinformation.
Disciplinary action will be recommended according to Gunston’s existing policies regarding bias to ensure an equitable and just response.
The Bias Response Group will suggest educational programming within the grade levels or sports teams where the event occurred or for the campus more broadly.
The Bias Response Group will review and assess the school’s response to the event, making recommendations as necessary to address future events.