Our Path Forward

Dear St. Catherine’s Family,
 
St. Catherine’s is on a journey to be a part of dismantling systemic racism. Black lives matter, and we stand in solidarity with our Black students, families, faculty, staff, and alumnae. Over the last week, we have engaged in important conversations. We thank you for sharing your personal experiences, thoughts, and feedback with us. Our listening continues, and we will offer more opportunities for our community to engage in crucial discussions with one another. In the spirit of a growth mindset, we will grapple with essential questions such as what do we need to learn, as well as what do we need to unlearn. 

Our Path Forward
To advance this work, we have identified four areas of focus for our path forward: Listening and Learning, Curricular and Community Education, Representation, and Equitable and Inclusive Campus Climate. 
 
Listening and Learning 
As educators in an all-girls’ school, we understand the importance of “her story.” Just as we elevate girls’ and women’s voices, we must fully apply that same vigor to elevate diverse female voices in intentional ways. Recognizing that individuals have different preferences for communications and interactions, we provide these opportunities for our community to engage with us:
  • We will host Zoom meetings for Middle School and Upper School girls. In addition, we will offer Zoom meetings for alumnae and Zoom meetings for parents. Dates, times, and additional details will be shared soon.

  • Participate in a survey.

  • If you would like to have a personal conversation with one of us, please email us directly (email addresses are provided below). 


Curricular and Community Education
In order to dismantle systemic racism, we are starting a comprehensive review and audit of the academic curriculum to ensure marginalized voices and accurate histories are represented at every grade level. We will leverage expertise and resources from a variety of thought leaders, including the Virginia Diversity Network (VDN), Virginia Association of Independent Schools (VAIS), National Association of Episcopal Schools (NAES), Council for Spiritual and Ethical Education (CSEE), and National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS). We plan to continue our partnerships with Dr. Rodney Glasgow and Liz Kleinrock, anti-bias and anti-racist educators. Our ultimate goal is to hire a full-time Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI), recognizing that this process will need to engage Incoming Head of School Cindy Trask. In addition, we are increasing funding for professional development and racial education training for the 2020-2021 school year, starting with faculty and staff and expanding to students and families. 
 
Representation
We still have much work to do in this area. This past year, we hired six diverse faculty and staff members out of 13 new employees. We are taking a hard look at where gaps exist in Black representation and other ethnicity representation in classrooms, across divisions, and in decision-making circles. We will utilize the wealth of knowledge and experience of our alumnae in a more formalized and consistent format. Our goal is to form a group of alumnae leaders to engage with us in this important work. Recognizing the needs of our students, School librarians have engaged with the girls and made powerful changes in diverse book selections and resources provided to students, faculty, and staff.
 
Equitable and Inclusive Campus Climate
In addition to all of the work and action plans identified above, we expect all members of our School to demonstrate anti-racism in their words and interactions and to be held accountable for their actions. Using our Diversity Statement, we will revisit language in the Honor and Disciplinary Code and the Parent and Student Handbook. We will provide greater support to our student affinity groups on campus, including Lower School Inclusion, Middle School Medley, and Upper School Unity, and will collaborate with them in conversations and initiatives to remove bias and racism from our daily interactions. We will continue to host vibrant guest experts and speakers on campus who challenge our thinking and broaden our perspectives related to identity and race. 
 
This is the work that we are called to do, guided by our Episcopal identity, our educational mission, and our shared humanity.  
 
Sincerely yours,  
 
Terrie Hale Scheckelhoff, Ph.D., Head of School 
Sue Baldwin, Assistant Head of School & Chair of DEI
Lara Wulff, Ph.D., Director of Upper School
Annie Kapetanis, Ed.D., Director of Lower School
Tonya Walker, Director of Middle School
Frances Yeatman Doyle '85, Interim Director of Middle School, 2020-2021
Laura Spratley Birdsey '96, Director of Alumnae Affairs
Debbie Andrews Dunlap '70, Director of Development


St. Catherine's Diversity Statement
St. Catherine’s School is committed to providing an inclusive educational environment. We actively engage students, families, faculty and staff from diverse backgrounds and experiences. Our school community respects the differences in ethnicity, race, religion, sexual orientation and socioeconomic status. Consistent with the School’s mission, St. Catherine’s fosters in our students, and expects from all others, respect for the dignity and wholeness of every person.

Approved by the Board of Governors, 2012.
 
Whom to Contact
Lower School
Dr. Annie Kapetanis, Director of Lower School
Gina Friend, Assistant Director of Lower School
Rachen Forrester Sterling '88, Lower School Counselor

Middle School
Tonya Walker, Director of Middle School
Frances Yeatman Doyle '85, Interim Director of Middle School 2020-2021
Jenn McIntosh, Assistant Director of Middle School
Laura Gorsuch, Middle School Counselor
Linda Stoller, Middle School Counselor

Upper School
Dr. Lara Wulff, Director of Upper School
Frazier Aronhalt, Dean of Students
Dr. Karen Brockenbrough, School Psychologist

All School
Dr. Terrie Scheckelhoff, Head of School
Sue Baldwin, Assistant Head of School and Chair of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
Rev. Becky McDaniel, School Chaplain
Laura Spratley Birdsey '96, Director of Alumnae Affairs
Debbie Andrews Dunlap '70, Director of Development
 
 
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