Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
With over 50% students of color, Grace Episcopal Day School is among the most racially and ethnically diverse independent schools in the region. While our diversity feels organic, the fact is that it is the result of a 60 year commitment to being a truly inclusive and diverse learning community.
Anti-Racist Action Plan, 2020-2021
Early last year, Grace parents and administrators came together to form a collaborative task force focused on articulating Grace’s ongoing strategy and commitment to issues related to diversity, equity and inclusion. This summer, our group -- including Head of School, Jen Danish; Assistant Head of School for Academics, Pam Yarrington; and parents Nicole Lee, Jessica Boritz, Sheena Jacob, Denise Robinson, and Angela Wigglesworth -- met to craft a plan that would set in motion specific goals and areas of focus for the coming year.
June 2, 2020 statement from Head of School Jen Danish:
"As we grapple with the insidious persistence of racism and injustice in our country, I miss Grace and all of you even more and with an ache I cannot shake. The death of more Black people at the hands of the police continues and it reminds us that the ongoing scourge of racism in our country is the real pandemic we are facing. Add to this the unfair toll this virus is having on Black and Brown communities and it is overwhelmingly clear that we have so much work to do to break down and bring real change to a society that hurts some communities more than it helps."
Read all of Jen's letter and access a list of resources for parents and educators here.
The Concept of “Grace”
Grace in the Christian faith tradition is defined as ‘the love and mercy given to us by God because God desires us to have it, not because of anything we have done to earn it.’ In the words of Head of School Jen Danish, “Grace Episcopal Day School honors young children and encourages their moral and cognitive growth because they are children of God – because they exist – and not because of where they come from, or where they live, or what they do.” Our commitment to that notion of God’s grace has created a school that is truly inclusive and diverse.
To understand the depth of Grace Episcopal Day School’s commitment to equity and diversity, one has to understand our history. In 1959, white flight was changing the demographics of Washington, DC. Our founders, the women of Grace Episcopal Church, dreamt of a school for children of all races and religions. Our present aligns with our past.
The Student Experience
Grace is a welcoming community in which students feel that they belong. Given our diversity, that may be a remarkable assertion. But it is because we are so diverse that everyone feels included. By encountering difference, children strengthen their sense of self and their empathy for others. By finding affinity, children feel like they belong. Growing up among students who are like us in some ways, and unlike us in others, builds self-confidence, ease, and a feeling of well-being. In sum, our diversity enables us to achieve our ultimate goal – to affirm each student’s identity as we challenge them to connect with the wider world.