Our commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion informs all of the work that we do at Park, and is exemplified in our curricular and non-curricular offerings and experiences. The following are just a few examples of Park School programs designed to embrace and empower our community:
This highly successful program is a mentoring and diversity initiative that promotes multicultural education, leadership, and community building throughout the school. The program pairs Lower School students from diverse backgrounds with Middle or Upper School buddies. Students meet individually with their buddies on a weekly basis and participate as a group in a variety of social activities throughout the year. Parents take part in a number of events, including a Thanksgiving dinner in the fall for all partners and their families. The program currently involves over 125 participants, and several members of Park's faculty and administration serve as liaisons to programs for the three divisions.
Started in 2007 by a group of Lower School faculty members, the Common Bonds program provides opportunities for students of color to meet and forge connections with one another. These after-school gatherings, held five to six times a year, create a space for students to affirm their individuality while also building lasting friendships across Lower School grade levels that are sustained through their time at Park. For more information about the Common Bonds program, see the fall 2017 edition of Cross Currents.
The Middle School Affinity, Alliance, and Advocacy (AAA) program uses affinity group spaces and cross-group experiences to facilitate explorations of identity, culture, power, and privilege. The program is designed to encourage allyship development and self-advocacy within our community. Participants gain perspective, awareness, a sense of community, and empathy, and become equipped and empowered with language and tools to navigate any possible discomfort that may arise when addressing difficult aspects of diversity, equity, and inclusion.
All eighth grade students take part in the Advoc8 program, a multi-disciplinary project designed for students to use skills and knowledge developed during Middle School in order to take on roles as advocates for change. During Advoc8, students choose a topic about which they are passionate and, with faculty and peer collaboration, create an individual or group project, which culminates in the creation of authentic, innovative, solution-oriented advocacy. Recent projects included developing volunteer activities for the League for People with Disabilities, a documentary studying racial bias, and developing a campaign to increase the use of composting in the Middle School.
Students and faculty from Park School, Baltimore City College High School, City Neighbors High School, and Cristo Rey fundraise, study, and prepare for a trip through the South visiting sites and meeting people that were – and are – important to the Civil Rights Movement. What they experience is used as a springboard for discussion about activism and ways we can tackle current civil rights issues in Baltimore and beyond. This program has taken place annually since 2004.
Upper School students have formed several groups, including the Black Female Forum and Black Male Forum, the Asian Student Affinity Group, Hispanic-Latinx Student Coalition, the Pride Club, and the Student Diversity Leadership Council. The work of these groups includes sponsoring special days of speakers and seminars, such as Upper School Diversity Day, the Lunar New Year Celebration, and AIDS Awareness Day.
To commemorate Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, the Park community joins together each year to mark the date in a number of ways: guest speakers, on-campus activities and workshops, film screenings and discussions, service opportunities in the greater Baltimore community, and fixing meals or sandwiches to be delivered to soup kitchens throughout the city.
These programs and activities allow families to find special ways to honor Dr. King and work together to help people with great needs in the greater Baltimore area.
The Cultural Diversity Film & Discussion Series has been meeting since 1995. The purpose of the group is to provide a forum for parents, faculty, students, and members of the community to celebrate multiculturalism and to achieve a greater understanding of diversity issues.
A partnership between the Office of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion and the Board Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Committee, parent diversity affinity groups are Park parents who meet in small groups to discuss diversity topics. The goals for parent affinity groups are: 1) to have ongoing small group discussions for parents of diverse experiences and backgrounds, and 2) to offer feedback that can inform Park School initiatives, programming, and planning.