Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at Griffin School

We celebrate diversity, honor individuals of all identities, and pursue justice in our school community and beyond.

We are deeply committed to cultivating a community of citizens who are equipped to recognize and dismantle systems of oppression and injustice in the world within and outside our walls. As a college prep school, we know a large part of our work goes far beyond preparing students to be academically successful in college; it is our responsibility to produce students who value diversity, respect people of all identities, and who are actively and demonstrably anti-racist.

At Griffin, we believe:

  • Diversity is the truth; the historic, systemic erasure of diversity is the lie, and we must work proactively to reverse it.
  • Understanding diverse perspectives is going to be necessary for survival and success in the next century.
  • Academically, socially, and psychologically, diversity (in terms of ethnicity, culture, nationality, gender identity, sexual orientation, ability, religion, political affiliation, and socioeconomic status) is beneficial for everyone; a diverse school environment helps teachers teach more effectively, better prepares students to be leaders in their communities, and activates empathy.
  • We inherited a society that was built on white supremacy, which confers unearned privilege on white people. It is our responsibility to empower white students to dismantle that privilege and/or use it to elevate the voices of marginalized people.
  • We cannot expect the erosion of racism to occur without taking direct action. In the words of Angela Davis, “in a racist society, it is not enough to be non-racist, we must be anti-racist.”

 

Members of Griffin’s Diversity & Equity Council

Initiatives and Efforts In Progress
Via parallel efforts of staff, students, and our board, the Griffin community has affirmed diversity, equity, and inclusion as areas of primary focus going forward, and we have dedicated time, funding, and resources to doing this work individually and collectively.

SCHOLARSHIPS: Griffin provides scholarship funding each year in order to make our school community accessible to students from a broad array of socioeconomic and cultural backgrounds. Specifically, in 2019, we committed to intentional and explicit fundraising specifically to fund scholarships for students of color from underserved communities. To that end, we have worked with Breakthrough Central Texas, an organization building a path through college for low-income students.

NATIONAL SEED PROJECT: We have partnered with SEED (Seeking Educational Equity and Diversity), a social justice organization that trains educators and other professionals to lead their communities through conversations and workshops that promote understanding of identity and pursuit of equity. The majority of our staff has participated in professional development workshops with a local SEED leader. Additionally, two of our staff members have been accepted to attend SEED’s New Leaders Week in Summer 2021, where they will receive training to lead diversity workshops at Griffin.

CURRICULUM: We have worked intentionally to build our curriculum by decentering a cisgender white male narrative and elevating the voices and experiences of people of color and other marginalized identities.

  • In our English Department, students read diverse texts including ​House on Mango Street ​by Sandra Cisneros,​ ​Purple Hibiscus​ by Chiminanda Ngozi Adiche, Unaccustomed Earth​ by Jhumpa Lahiri, ​Everything I Never Told You​ by ​Celeste Ng, and ​Between the World and Me​ by Ta-Nehisi Coates (as well as many others).
  •  I​n U.S. History, students explore secondary sources beyond the traditional textbook including ​An Indigenous History of the United States, An African American and Latinx History of the United States, A Queer History of the United States, ​and ​A Black Women’s History of the United States.
  • We have a Skills Workshop program in which teachers provide meaningful guidance to students of each grade level in areas of importance to college and adulthood preparedness. In our Discussion Skills Workshop, educators facilitate our sophomores in respectful, constructive conversations about current events, especially those related to diversity, identity, and how oppressive frameworks like systemic racism affect marginalized communities.
  • In Health—another of our Skills Workshops—students are empowered to question the values, stereotypes, and expectations that come with being an American teenager. Within the curriculum, they are introduced to oppressed and marginalized identities, and learn about the ways that those identities intersect to create a full spectrum of humanity. In discussion, students explore gender and sexual identities, various modes of expression, and the laws and policies that govern them, thereby ensuring students develop awareness and respect for all identities.

DIVERSITY & EQUITY COUNCIL: Griffin’s Diversity & Equity Council (DEC) is a student-led social justice group working to achieve diversity and equity in our school and in our larger community. DEC was founded by two creative, audacious, activist students as a way to get together with other justice-minded students to discuss identity, racism, and oppression, to do work confronting inequality, and to actively promote diversity and inclusivity at Griffin. ​Follow DEC on Instagram.

QUILTBAG: Griffin’s LGBTQ+ club is an expressly inclusive student-led organization created to ​provide a safe space for EVERYONE (LGBTQ+ members and allies). Leaders host engaging, uplifting, often LGBTQ+ themed activities and events (such as our signature Homecoming Out dance), as well as lead lessons and discussions about current or historic issues facing LGBTQ+ communities.

SOCIAL JUSTICE BOOK CLUB: Griffin staff who identify as white worked through Layla Saad’s ​Me and White Supremacy​, a workbook designed to challenge white folks to “recognize your privilege, combat racism, and change the world.” Next, they will read ​So You Want To Talk About Race​ by Ijeoma Oluo.

GENDER IDENTITY RECOGNITION: We affirm the gender identities and expressions of all members of our community. For example, we have normalized the communication of personal pronouns in introductions and correspondence.

COMMUNITY EVENTS: Students and staff build a yearlong calendar of events that are designed to expose the community to diverse experiences and new ideas. These events include monthly movie parties showing films by and highlighting the experiences of marginalized people, multicultural celebrations of a variety of holidays and traditions, and an annual Day of Learning and Service to honor Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s legacy.

2020 MLK Day of Service at Griffin, morning keynote address from Dr. Ron Johnson, historian and professor at Texas State University.

Areas to Grow

At Griffin, we recognize that this work is ongoing and never complete. With that in mind, at Griffin we would like to:

  • Continue to diversify the student body so that Griffin grows to be a truly multicultural environment, where new students not only feel welcomed but already see themselves represented in the community.
  • Train all students in anti-racism on a regular basis.
  • Build authentic connections with diverse communities in our area and beyond.
  • Offer more cultural events that are created and led by robust groups of students and staff of the culture being celebrated.
  • Intentionally hire from diverse backgrounds to maintain and increase diversity within the Griffin staff.