A coeducational day school serving students JK-12


Eleannor Maajid is Latin's Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. She will explain more about the institutional goals for diversity, equity and inclusion. 

How did Latin come up with the goals?

Based on all of the feedback that Latin received, in addition to the climate assessment that was taken in the spring of 2020, we took all that data and we were able to put the goals in five different categories. There's the category of representation, accountability, professional development, education, inclusion and curriculum. As we go through these goals, you will see things that you will think, “Oh, well, I thought they were already doing that. Or how could they not have been doing that already?” I just want you to know that this is something that these are goals that are, there are some ongoing goals that we've always been working on, and that we recognize from all the information that we've been given that we need to spend more time really focusing in on these goals because we do need to do better in these areas. You're going to see some things that you may be surprised to see, or that you may have questions about. And again, we are open to feedback if you have it.

Goal - Representation: Hire and retain more faculty and staff of color.

The first goal is in the representation bucket, which is around hiring and retaining more faculty and staff of color. When I think about hiring or retaining more faculty and staff of color or we do need to do a better job of hiring and also retaining our faculty and staff of color. We're at about 22% faculty and staff of color. And we have about 39% students of color throughout the school. It is our goal to increase the number of faculty and staff of color. One of the ways that we can do that is by conducting implicit bias training for everyone who is involved in our hiring process and having everyone have the same goals around hiring, the same understandings around hiring and why we hire the way that we do and what kinds of things we need to question about our processes. We are going to work with department chairs, staff directors, senior administrators, etc., to work on implicit bias training. We also want to review the places where we actually receive our resumes and our potential leads for teachers and staff. Because sometimes those talent equity acquisition sources don't always have the representation that we're looking for around faculty and staff of color. Based on the climate assessment data, you'll see here that there was a expressed need for more Asian teachers in the lower school. And then in the climate assessment, again, more expressed needs for Black and Latino teachers in the middle and upper school. We also want to continue evaluating and create additional internal support structures to retain faculty and staff of color. So not only is hiring important, but retention is important as well. And our current faculty and staff of color, are going to be essential in that process, accountability.

Goal - Accountability: Create a culture of accountability for racist and discriminatory behavior.

This is one of them I mentioned earlier about the students who were part of demanding accountability. This is the place where so many of their goals came from. Their demands came from around accountability, right? So creating that culture for accountability, for racist and discriminatory behavior. We have done that in many ways. We've actually kind of started some of that process already with the implementation of the bias incident reporting in the middle and the upper school. And we have found, and we have started to have conversations around introducing restorative justice practices, which feels like the right collaboration between the incidents of bias reporting and the restorative justice practices. That feels like a good way to bring that educational piece into our community. And so we are making efforts in those ways as well. And then making sure that there are educational pieces for faculty and staff, as well as students and really everyone around the school, because we also recognize that this is not just accountability for our faculty and staff and our students, but it's accountability for everyone in our community.

Goal - Inclusion: Create strategy for improving feelings of inclusion for Black and Latino/Latinx students.

If we're going to create an inclusive space, we have to be better about holding each other and our community members accountable. And then also making transparent the policies and practices related to that. So everyone has an understanding of what they should and should not be doing and how we as a school will handle that. We look at inclusion. Here's one that is probably the hardest to measure and the goal that we'll take more creativity and more time and more effort really around creating the strategy for improving feelings, for inclusivity, for Black and Latino, lead next students. This came directly from our climate assessment data. Dr. Derek Gay has already spoken to our faculty and staff, our senior admin team and our board and a part of our parent association. And we'll speak to the rest of the community in December to share the climate assessment results. But in the climate assessment, it was very clear that our black and Latino students were having a very different experience from any of the rest of their peers. And so it's tough to measure inclusion, but we are working with the ways around, and you can see the action steps here, evaluating feedback mechanisms, audit current support structures, and then evaluate the programs and initiatives through those lenses of protecting and incorporating the perspectives of these underrepresented identities. So this is one that, again, it doesn't stop any work that we're doing in any other way, but it does say this is something that we really need to focus on, because this is very important right now in our community professional development and education. You will see you've seen throughout the action steps that there seems to be some kind of professional development, some kind of education in each of our different goals, but it's really important for us to have that as its own bucket, to make sure that we are focusing and giving it the attention it needs.

Goal - Professional Development/Education: Embed DEI work into Latin’s culture by committing resources to programming and education for all constituencies.

So around embedding DEI, work into our culture by committing resources to programming and education for all constituencies. And so we have already been doing this for a number of years, but also ramping up in ways and really tailoring it to what we need right now. And so parents at work with the parent association board of trustees, alumni board is something that we are going to continue to implement and where it's not they're actually implemented and then continue to provide those, the training for our larger parent guardian community. And then the intentional onboarding for new employees parents and guardians and students upon their arrival to Latin. And then we have already started to incorporate DEI professional development for faculty and staff and admin that is embedded into their, their day, like their school day, their workday and we can hope to continue to make that something that is ongoing.

Goal - Curriculum: Examine and adjust curriculum to better reflect/represent/include underrepresented perspectives school wide across all disciplines.

And the last one is curriculum, and that's around examining and adjusting curriculum to better reflect, represent, include underrepresented perspectives. School-wide across all disciplines. This also was a very big theme within the demanding accountability demands. They really, you know, in the classroom, do students feel a connection to what they are learning, are their identities represented in our curriculum and what do we need to do better in order to make sure that happens? And so we adopted teaching tolerance as social justice standards in 2017. But we want to continue to work with our faculty to make sure that is incorporated in a way that is felt by all students. And also that all teachers are able to teach in their classrooms. And then we want to look at our scope and sequence of our diversity equity and inclusion work throughout the curriculum and find out where we need to do more in that way. And maybe, you know, where we need to get more professional development education for our teachers.

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Latin's Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Goals and Actions Steps


Eleannor Maajid is Latin's Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. She will explain more about the institutional goals for diversity, equity and inclusion. 

How did Latin come up with the goals?

Based on all of the feedback that Latin received, in addition to the climate assessment that was taken in the spring of 2020, we took all that data and we were able to put the goals in five different categories. There's the category of representation, accountability, professional development, education, inclusion and curriculum. As we go through these goals, you will see things that you will think, “Oh, well, I thought they were already doing that. Or how could they not have been doing that already?” I just want you to know that this is something that these are goals that are, there are some ongoing goals that we've always been working on, and that we recognize from all the information that we've been given that we need to spend more time really focusing in on these goals because we do need to do better in these areas. You're going to see some things that you may be surprised to see, or that you may have questions about. And again, we are open to feedback if you have it.

Goal - Representation: Hire and retain more faculty and staff of color.

The first goal is in the representation bucket, which is around hiring and retaining more faculty and staff of color. When I think about hiring or retaining more faculty and staff of color or we do need to do a better job of hiring and also retaining our faculty and staff of color. We're at about 22% faculty and staff of color. And we have about 39% students of color throughout the school. It is our goal to increase the number of faculty and staff of color. One of the ways that we can do that is by conducting implicit bias training for everyone who is involved in our hiring process and having everyone have the same goals around hiring, the same understandings around hiring and why we hire the way that we do and what kinds of things we need to question about our processes. We are going to work with department chairs, staff directors, senior administrators, etc., to work on implicit bias training. We also want to review the places where we actually receive our resumes and our potential leads for teachers and staff. Because sometimes those talent equity acquisition sources don't always have the representation that we're looking for around faculty and staff of color. Based on the climate assessment data, you'll see here that there was a expressed need for more Asian teachers in the lower school. And then in the climate assessment, again, more expressed needs for Black and Latino teachers in the middle and upper school. We also want to continue evaluating and create additional internal support structures to retain faculty and staff of color. So not only is hiring important, but retention is important as well. And our current faculty and staff of color, are going to be essential in that process, accountability.

Goal - Accountability: Create a culture of accountability for racist and discriminatory behavior.

This is one of them I mentioned earlier about the students who were part of demanding accountability. This is the place where so many of their goals came from. Their demands came from around accountability, right? So creating that culture for accountability, for racist and discriminatory behavior. We have done that in many ways. We've actually kind of started some of that process already with the implementation of the bias incident reporting in the middle and the upper school. And we have found, and we have started to have conversations around introducing restorative justice practices, which feels like the right collaboration between the incidents of bias reporting and the restorative justice practices. That feels like a good way to bring that educational piece into our community. And so we are making efforts in those ways as well. And then making sure that there are educational pieces for faculty and staff, as well as students and really everyone around the school, because we also recognize that this is not just accountability for our faculty and staff and our students, but it's accountability for everyone in our community.

Goal - Inclusion: Create strategy for improving feelings of inclusion for Black and Latino/Latinx students.

If we're going to create an inclusive space, we have to be better about holding each other and our community members accountable. And then also making transparent the policies and practices related to that. So everyone has an understanding of what they should and should not be doing and how we as a school will handle that. We look at inclusion. Here's one that is probably the hardest to measure and the goal that we'll take more creativity and more time and more effort really around creating the strategy for improving feelings, for inclusivity, for Black and Latino, lead next students. This came directly from our climate assessment data. Dr. Derek Gay has already spoken to our faculty and staff, our senior admin team and our board and a part of our parent association. And we'll speak to the rest of the community in December to share the climate assessment results. But in the climate assessment, it was very clear that our black and Latino students were having a very different experience from any of the rest of their peers. And so it's tough to measure inclusion, but we are working with the ways around, and you can see the action steps here, evaluating feedback mechanisms, audit current support structures, and then evaluate the programs and initiatives through those lenses of protecting and incorporating the perspectives of these underrepresented identities. So this is one that, again, it doesn't stop any work that we're doing in any other way, but it does say this is something that we really need to focus on, because this is very important right now in our community professional development and education. You will see you've seen throughout the action steps that there seems to be some kind of professional development, some kind of education in each of our different goals, but it's really important for us to have that as its own bucket, to make sure that we are focusing and giving it the attention it needs.

Goal - Professional Development/Education: Embed DEI work into Latin’s culture by committing resources to programming and education for all constituencies.

So around embedding DEI, work into our culture by committing resources to programming and education for all constituencies. And so we have already been doing this for a number of years, but also ramping up in ways and really tailoring it to what we need right now. And so parents at work with the parent association board of trustees, alumni board is something that we are going to continue to implement and where it's not they're actually implemented and then continue to provide those, the training for our larger parent guardian community. And then the intentional onboarding for new employees parents and guardians and students upon their arrival to Latin. And then we have already started to incorporate DEI professional development for faculty and staff and admin that is embedded into their, their day, like their school day, their workday and we can hope to continue to make that something that is ongoing.

Goal - Curriculum: Examine and adjust curriculum to better reflect/represent/include underrepresented perspectives school wide across all disciplines.

And the last one is curriculum, and that's around examining and adjusting curriculum to better reflect, represent, include underrepresented perspectives. School-wide across all disciplines. This also was a very big theme within the demanding accountability demands. They really, you know, in the classroom, do students feel a connection to what they are learning, are their identities represented in our curriculum and what do we need to do better in order to make sure that happens? And so we adopted teaching tolerance as social justice standards in 2017. But we want to continue to work with our faculty to make sure that is incorporated in a way that is felt by all students. And also that all teachers are able to teach in their classrooms. And then we want to look at our scope and sequence of our diversity equity and inclusion work throughout the curriculum and find out where we need to do more in that way. And maybe, you know, where we need to get more professional development education for our teachers.

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Explore Our News & Stories

Lower school students looking at a computer

In a world where students are spending a significant part of their school day online, it is now more important than ever to develop thoughtful and empathetic digital citizens from a young age. 

Fourth grade students are studying what it means to be a considerate digital citizen and maintain a positive digital footprint with Fiona Deeney, Latin’s lower school computer science and technology integration specialist. A digital citizen is someone who develops skills to responsibly use technology, including digital devices and online media platforms. When individuals share information online, they leave a digital footprint. A digital citizen is someone who develops skills to responsibly use technology, including digital devices and online media platforms.

After the students learned the basics of online safety and digital footprints, they were tasked with creating a graphic that encompassed these lessons. In order to complete the assignment, they researched a credible digital media platform to build their piece–Pic Collage was a popular option among the students.

Hear more about what it means to be a responsible digital citizen and how to manage a digital footprint from fourth grade students Colleen C. ’29 and Annabelle W. ’29.

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Jessie Heider

Get to know Jessie Heider who has been Latin's partner from Athletico and athletic trainer since 2010. In January, Jessie officially became the first full-time in-house athletic trainer at Latin. 

Education 

B.S. in Athletic Training - Purdue University
M.S. in Health Education & Promotion - University of Cincinnati

Position and years at Latin

Athletic Trainer - 10 years

Favorite Quote: 

"Today me will live in the moment, unless it's unpleasant, in which case me will eat a cookie." –Cookie Monster

What are your favorite things about Latin? 

There is such a close sense of community at Latin. One of my favorite things about working here is being able to connect with and get to know so many different people.

What are the best parts of your job? 

It’s rewarding to help kids through the rehabilitation process and then get to see them successfully return to their sport after experiencing an injury. I also love that every workday is different… it keeps me on my toes!

Why did you decide that you wanted to work at a school? 

I always found the idea of working at a school appealing because I knew it would give me the opportunity to be involved in so much more than just athletics. At Latin, I’m lucky enough to work with both athletics and our Latin 360 program. It’s also fun to be able to support our students in other ways, such as helping with senior projects or attending dance shows and plays.

What was the last good book you read? 

"American Dirt" by Jeanine Cummins

What are your hobbies and interests? 

I love spending time with my dog, Piper, playing fantasy football and following Purdue sports (Boiler Up!). I’m also excited to get back to traveling again once the pandemic is over.

What was your first job?

I worked as an Athletic Trainer for Women’s Lacrosse at the University of Cincinnati while in grad school, but working at Latin was my first “official” job after finishing school.

What’s your favorite place you’ve ever visited? 

Banff National Park in Alberta, Canada

What's the best advice you've ever heard?

Be present. Try not to focus on what happened in the past or what will happen in the future. Enjoy the “now.”

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US Chess Team  in the Learning Commons during the State Final

On February 12-13, the upper school chess team competed virtually in the Illinois High School Association (IHSA) state finals and finished in first place in Division 1A.
The students who represented Latin were Waleed B. '21, Matthew S. '21, Mark M. '21, William F. '21, Eli E. '23, Anton S. '23, Collin D. '22, and Maxwell L. '23. The tournament took place online, but participating teams had to play from the same location—the Romans competed from the upper school's Learning Commons. This is the first time in Latin history that the Romans have won the division title.

ABOUT THE UPPER SCHOOL CHESS TEAM: This academic team meets four times a week for practice and competes in the Chicago Chess Conference composed of catholic schools, including St. Ignatius, St. Patrick, De La Salle, Marist, Br. Rice, etc. After the conference play, they compete in sectionals. Then if they qualify, they play in the state championships.  

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Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Hopeful. Excited. Inspired. These are just some of the words that described the way students, faculty and staff felt after participating in the conversations and presentations during Latin’s Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Commemoration on Wednesday, January 20.

Upper school students began the morning at assembly with an inspirational rendition of “Lift Every Voice and Sing” by J. Rosamond Johnson and James Weldon Johnson sung by Latin’s upper school chorus. 

The assembly was anchored by the amplification of student voices answering thought-provoking questions. Upper school affinity groups, including Black Student Union (BSU), Latin American Student Organization (LASO), Chronic Illness and Disability Alliance (CIDA), LGBTQ+ Affinity, Asian Student Alliance (ASA) and White Identities and Anti-Racism Affinity (WIAA), discussed their answers to the question, “What would an equitable and inclusive community look like at Latin?”

Learn more about Latin’s institutional goals and action steps for DEI from Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Eleannor Maajid in this episode of the Latin Learner Podcast. Co-Head of LASO and junior at Latin Caroline C. ’22 echoed the sentiment that many affinity groups offered in their reflection of the question: “An inclusive and equitable community to me acknowledges that from the start this institution might look very different to new incoming students but makes an effort to make everyone aware that their culture shouldn’t define whether they speak up in class or not or be given looks down the halls. No one should be told to tone down their culture.”

The student groups also answered these questions: “Why is it vital for students to be able to organize? How do equity-focused student groups improve community and hold them accountable?” The upper school’s Student Diversity and Equity Committee (SDEC) and Demanding Accountability groups provided insight into this area. SDEC is dedicated to fostering a safe, inclusive environment at Latin and promotes dialogue across all perspectives. Demanding Accountability is a group focused on holding the Latin community accountable for creating the space that the community says they want Latin to be.

These student groups noted that student organizing is important because they have a relevant perspective with insight into injustices that sometimes only students can see. Co-head of Demanding Accountability Kazi S. ’22 was quoted during the presentation, “When students aim for equity, we can be the prosperity of not only ourselves but everyone around us.” When students aim for equity, we can be the prosperity of not only ourselves but everyone around us.
Kazi S. '22, Co-head of Demanding Accountability

In continuing with the assembly’s theme of amplifying student voices some of the other student groups that presented included Student Government, Identity Coalition for Latin (ICFL), “Discourses” and “The Forum.” An inspirational morning concluded with remarks from English Teacher and Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Coordinator Brandon Woods: “We stand ready to listen to you, to partner with you and most importantly, to be challenged by you. You have the ability to make change that you might not even know yourselves, so we stand ready to help you do that and for you to guide us and lead us.”

During the middle school assembly, Educational Consultant Dr. Derrick Gay leveraged Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s iconic "What Is Your Life's Blueprint?" speech to frame Latin’s 2020 I can practice peace.
I can try again, rather than give up.
I can care for my community. 
Mindful affirmations from the book "I Can Do Hard Things" by Gabi Garcia
Middle School Climate Assessment findings. "The idea was to invite you to reflect on your life's blueprint, meaning who you are, your actions, your behaviors, your legacy, your purpose and how we can link your purpose to creating a more inclusive school... a more inclusive world," Dr. Gay explained to the students. He also noted that this speech was written by Dr. King for middle school students. Hear more about the history behind the speech and listen to an excerpt.


In honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., lower school students engaged in various peace-related activities during the month of January. They also participated in an all-lower school read of “I Can Do Hard Things” by Gabi Garcia. As part of the MLK Day commemoration, students selected a personal photograph or designed an affirmation poster that connected to one of the following lines from the book:

  • “I can practice peace.” What is something peaceful you do for yourself or for others?
  • “I can try again, rather than give up.” What is something challenging (a “hard thing”) that you are learning to do or have learned to do? 
  • “I can care for my community.” What is something that reflects a way that you contribute to or care for your community?

At the lower school assembly, students listened to Dr. Gay read “I Can Do Hard Things” and then watched a video featuring the photos and student work.

Lower school students

Although the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Commemoration at Latin looked much different this year than in years past, students, faculty and staff found a sense of hope, excitement and inspiration from the day’s events.

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