Assessment of Inclusivity & Multiculturalism 

Dear Norfolk Collegiate Community,

As outlined in our strategic plan, “Building an Even Better Experience,” one of our promises to current and future generations of Norfolk Collegiate students and families is a continued commitment to individual well-being and a strong sense of community and belonging. We believe that an inclusive and respectful learning environment is an essential condition for educational excellence. We also understand that diverse perspectives lead to enhanced critical thinking and greater understanding of the global society in which we prepare our students to live, learn and work.

To assess and support the inclusiveness of our school community for all members, our Well-being & Community Task Force has partnered with the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) to administer the Assessment of Inclusivity and Multiculturalism (AIM). Over the past year, this comprehensive process has included online climate surveys and a series of discovery focus groups comprised of a cross-section of our constituency groups.

We know that the work of creating a vibrant and diverse learning community requires continual attention and action. In the key areas of overall morale and satisfaction with the school’s approach to multiculturalism and inclusivity, we are in the healthy schools range as identified by NAIS. As cultivating an inclusive and supportive learning community is central to our institutional mission, we will strive to be among the highest performing schools in the nation in this regard. And while we are pleased to learn that Norfolk Collegiate performs favorably in key measures as compared to peer independent schools in the NAIS survey, a thorough analysis of the data collected has also identified areas for further work:

  • Provide more professional development opportunities for faculty and staff related to inclusivity and multiculturalism.
  • Create adult education programming for our entire school community and opportunities for facilitated discussions.
  • Enhance opportunities for students to develop cultural competencies. 

Look for upcoming events and programming related to these important initiatives and read more about our AIM process here.

I would like to thank everyone who has been a part of this important work to support our school’s commitment to the well-being of all members of our community. If you have any questions about the AIM process, please feel free to contact Jan Weintraub, Well-being & Community Task Force Chair, at jweintraub@norfolkcollegiate.org or at 757-625-0471, ext. 1605.

 

Sincerely,
Scott G. Kennedy
Headmaster

 

AIM Overview

After the project was introduced during the winter of 2017, members of all constituency groups (students in grades 4-12, parents and guardians, trustees, administrators, faculty, staff, and alumnus/a) were invited to take online climate surveys. Out of the 1,753 persons who were invited to participate, 662 persons took the online climate survey yielding an overall 38% return rate.

The AIM Climate Survey Summary Review identified the following snapshot of key themes in comparison to other schools:


During the spring and summer of 2017, additional information was gathered during discovery committee meetings which involved discussions facilitated by taskforce members. A total of 126 persons participated in the following groups:

  • Admissions & Financial Aid
  • Alumni Involvement & Investment
  • Faculty & Teachers with Teaching & Learning
  • Parent Involvement – Lower School
  • Parent Involvement – Middle School & Upper School
  • School Governance & Leadership with Policy & Administration
  • School Publications & Environment
  • Staff Involvement & Life
  • Student Life – Adults
  • Student Life – Lower School
  • Student Life – Middle School
  • Student Life – Upper School

Listed below you will find some of the overarching themes from the discovery committee discussions:

  • Members of our school community across constituency groups appreciated the opportunity to be involved in the AIM process and expressed gratitude for the school’s willingness to engage in this work. During discovery committee sessions, many participants spoke of an interest in seeing and in being part of future group discussions about topics related to inclusivity and multiculturalism.
  • Overall, our school is doing a good job of creating an authentically welcoming place for persons from different backgrounds and/or with different beliefs. Members of all constituency groups enthusiastically reported that they find our faculty and staff to be supportive and helpful.
  • Although older students and adults within our school community acknowledge that efforts are made to foster the promotion of inclusivity and multiculturalism within our school, they cited the need for an enhanced school-wide approach.
  • In all facets of the project, members of all constituency groups cited the need for more diversity among faculty, staff, and our Board of Trustees.
  • Members of our faculty, staff, and Board of Trustees cited the need for more opportunities for trainings related to inclusivity and multiculturalism.

During the 2017-2018 school year, an analysis of the data collected from the online surveys and the discovery committees was completed, findings were reported, and attention is being paid to items that were identified as high priority concerns. Plans are being made to address needed work in these areas, and periodic updates will be provided.