Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
At Mill Springs Academy, it is an essential part of our mission to graduate individuals who openly accept others, understand the power of words, accept themselves and their uniqueness, and foster positive working relationships.
We commit to intentionally creating a safe physical and emotional space in which to learn, grow, feel included, thrive, and teach. We strive to work together with all stakeholders, including the Board, Administration, Staff, families and their students, to create programs and policies that further positive change, understanding, and connection in our Community in the areas of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.
We feel this approach fully complements and supports MSA’s overall mission of teaching students with learning differences when we create an environment that also celebrates our diversity in the areas of race, color, ethnicity, national origin, religion, gender, sexual orientation, adoption, socioeconomic status, age and (dis)ability. As a result, we become a community of individuals who are more knowledgeable and intentional thinkers, and our students are better prepared as they take their next steps in the world.
- DEI consultant Nishant Mehta, Partner at Storbeck Search & Associates, was brought in for a training session on a systematic approach to creating diversity, equity and inclusion framework. Administration leadership and Academic Council members attended.
- MSA performed a survey for staff and students to gain a more accurate picture of our demographics.
- In order to explore how to bridge where we are to where we want to be, we are also in the process of preparing the NERCHE self-assessment rubric for the institutionalization of DEI in the following areas: philosophy and mission, faculty support, curriculum, staff support, student support and administrative leadership.
- Allocated funding to send our teachers to training to help them better integrate DEI principles into the classroom.
Progress in MSA’s DEI Framework
- Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Committee was formed with members spanning faculty, administration, the board and a parent liaison.
- Funding secured for the NAIS Assessment of Inclusivity Multiculturalism (AIM) Survey.
- PoCC conference this year, being held virtually meant we were able to send 14 attendees from Faculty, administration, the board and a parent liaison
- Sent six students to the Student Diversity Leadership Conference (SDLC) in December.
Curriculum and Activities
Mill Springs values our students and teachers continuing to grow, understand and embrace the differences in our school, our communities and our world. We support this by offering a wide variety of programs and activities that are intentionally designed to foster a sense of belonging in each individual and offer leadership opportunities:
- Integrating social justice into our curriculum
- Working closely with the directors and teachers to develop a keener sense of what each child needs to flourish
- Offering courses in Diversity and Social Justice, Holocaust History through Literature, Music and Film, as well as cultural explorations during MSA’s Winter Learning Program.
- Organizing trips to the Center for Civil and Human Rights and cultural museums, workshops, student-led lunch and learn opportunities and speaker series.
- Providing ongoing training to faculty and staff from the Anti-Defamation League, the NAIS People of Color Conference, and a variety of other workshops.
Our students regularly participate in:
• Our annual Celebration of Differences Day - with workshops by teachers, students and outside speakers
• International Day - an event to learn more about our diverse world and cultures
• The NAIS Student Diversity Leadership Conference (SDLC)
Other activities and programs we’ve offered in the past have included:
• Diversity Club
• A winter break tour of Western Europe, focusing on their WWII experience
• Other winter learning trips around the world, including to the Galapagos Islands and Australia.
• An exchange program with Little Wound (Lakota) School, Pine Ridge Reservation, South Dakota.