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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Join upper school students Molly and Ella and Ms. Merrell, science teacher and Global Online Academy site director at Latin, to learn more about the GOA offerings and the benefits of taking a GOA class.

TRANSCRIPT

Amy Merrell  0:15  
Besides being exposed to a topic that isn't offered at Latin, so just exposure to different things, taking courses from teachers from different schools and with students from different schools, I think opens your eyes to different viewpoints, increases your collaboration, because you have to collaborate with people in different time zones and different schedules. And I think that's a skill that will help students even after Latin.

Molly 0:41  
The favorite part of my class was, you know, of course, the different community of GOA. I got to meet so many different people. But I also really enjoyed getting to take more control over my learning. And I think it helped me build more skills.

Ella  0:57  
So my class, because it was about specifically medical problem solving, we did a lot of kind of patient presentations where you would do some research into the symptoms and then present a possible diagnosis. And then also some group projects that we do a similar concept, but with people from around the country.

Amy Merrell  1:16  
Hi, my name is Amy Merrell. I am a science teacher and the site director for Global Online Academy here at Latin.

Ella 1:20  
I'm Ella Reese-Clauson. I'm a senior.

Molly 1:22  
And I'm Molly McKee, and I'm a junior.

Amy Merrell  1:23  
So Global Online Academy or GOA is a consortium of about 120 schools from around the world that offer a variety of online classes to students. And so the classes are taught by teachers from those 120 schools. So Latin students have the opportunity to take these courses, and learn from teachers from all over the world. And with students from schools all over the world. These courses are counted just like Latin courses are so they go for a grade and are on transcripts. GOA is started in 2012. And when it started, we had less than 15 students enroll. And we have just it has gotten progressively bigger interest has grown as GOA has gotten bigger. And so we are now at total for this year we have 62 students enrolled for both semesters. And so I think it's grown quite a lot. They've also opened summer opportunities as well. So that is another place that GOA has grown. Sophomores, juniors, and seniors can take classes. And there is a wide variety of classes. So I'm not going to go over all of them. But they're some of the most popular ones are the psych classes. So Neuro Psych, Abnormal Psych and Positive Psychology. Prisons and criminal law is another really popular one, as well as there's a variety of computer science classes that students decide to take. And some new ones that students are in there's been growing interest in are Intro to Investments, and also Entrepreneurship, which are two kind of newer additions that students have taken.

Molly  3:14  
So I considered taking a GOA class just because well, first of all, I liked all the options, and after sophomore year, I wanted to pursue a similar topic, because I took Nazi Mind the first semester. And I was really interested in like everything that we learned about in that class. But I think the main thing that pushed me to taking a GOA was a COVID and the pandemic because it opened up so much free time in my schedule, and I thought GOA would be a great way to fill it.

Ella  3:44  
Adding on to that, I think that also like Ms. Merrell mentioned, the specificity of the courses was really appealing to me because I think that at Latin we have some really great general courses whereas GOA helps you to go kind of into more niche subject areas. I took Medical Problem Solving one which ended up coincidentally having Ms. Merrell as a teacher.

Molly 4:06  
I took Introduction to Legal Thinking, and I'm signed up for a criminal law one next semester because I liked the first one so much. GOA classes can fit into my schedule a lot and really nicely just because it's not as rigid of a structure like normal classes. It has a lot more independent learning and a self-regulated working pace, I guess. So it was like really easy to fit it into whenever I had free time.

Ella 4:33  
So my class, because it was about specifically medical problem solving, we did a lot of kind of patient presentations where you would do some research into the symptoms and then present a possible diagnosis. And then also some group projects that we do a similar concept, but with people from around the country.

Molly 4:53  
I think with GOA you get a much wider variety of project types than you would in normal classes. I had debates with other students or wrote example legal documents. And I feel like I never actually wrote an actual essay, which is something you would expect to do in a typical class. So it's nice to get a different variety. The favorite part of my class was, of course, the different community of GOA. I got to meet so many different people. And, I think it was also, at least in my class, it was everyone's first time taking a GOA. So, everyone was kind of like in the same boat and we were all experiencing the thing, this class for the first time. But I also really enjoyed getting to take more control over my learning. And I think it helped me build more skills.

Ella 5:44  
I really enjoyed the class I took. And I, like, Molly, really enjoyed the aspect of collaboration, especially with people from other time zones, which was very difficult to navigate, because we all had very different schedules. But it was really cool to meet people who had different kinds of work styles and schedules and being able to learn to collaborate. And then also, I was really interested in the course material. So I loved all these kinds of diagnostic presentations. I think that if you have a specific interest in one kind of genre, or subject, then I would absolutely recommend taking a GOA because it helps you to go much more in-depth into that one topic. And, it's just an all-around really great way to have a much more flexible class. And to learn that kind of whole new skill set.

Unknown Speaker  6:38  
The only challenging part of GOA I found was the time differences. I think everything else was really great. Especially with the material that I was learning about, I got to hear a lot of different perspectives and I feel learning with other people from different countries, you get a lot more out of it than you would with just taking the class with people from the US. Definitely agree with what Ella said, I think it's a great way to explore your interests further.

 

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Upper school student athletes

Latin’s Athletics Department celebrated the following seniors who have committed to the next chapter of their athletic career: 

  • Alice M. ˈ23 will be running track & field at Harvard University
  • Carly W. ˈ23 will be playing field hockey at the University of New Hampshire 
  • Akili P. ˈ23 will be running cross country and track & field at University of Michigan
  • Megen S. ’23 will be playing basketball at University of Illinois at Chicago 
  • Ago G. ˈ23 will be rowing at Yale University

Congrats and Go Romans!

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Thomas Hagerman, Head of School
Over the past four months, I have been asked frequently about my educational philosophy and how I intend to implement it here at Latin. Recognizing that there are many audiences for this answer, I would like to differentiate my response.

The one-word version: Engagement.

Mabel Slade Vickery founded Latin School of Chicago with a shared vision of developing a school that is inclusive, student-centered, and interdisciplinary.

Enduring understanding comes from meaningful content combined with a powerful social context. In other words, when students are exposed to interesting and relevant curricula in a stimulating learning environment, they remember the information longer, have a richer conceptual understanding of it, and are able to transfer that knowledge to other situations.

The five-word version: Student-centered approach to learning.

In order for students to best engage in learning, their unique aptitudes and needs must be recognized and understood by the individual students, their teacher(s), and parents/guardians. Perhaps the most effective and well-researched student-centered approaches are proficiency- and/or standards- based learning. These entail an individualized approach to instructing children, along with assessments that demonstrate ongoing, formative progress. Rather than simply reducing a student’s nuanced or inchoate understanding of a concept into a summative and overly simplistic letter grade, the focus of feedback should ensure that everyone involved in the scaffolding of a student’s success has a good understanding of where they are on a continuum of mastery on a particular skill or concept. Final scores may complement this understanding, but not supplant it.

A more extended version: A progressive education approach to learning.

Mabel Slade Vickery founded Latin School of Chicago with a shared vision of developing a school that is inclusive, student-centered, and interdisciplinary. In part, her views were influenced by the “founders” of the progressive movement, namely John Dewey and Francis Parker. They rejected the rigidity of the one-size-fits-all approach of the past and, instead, focused on responding to the interests of students and individualizing curriculum and instruction accordingly. While idealistic in some ways, it was also grounded in pragmatism. Dewey once famously said, “Education is not preparation for life. Education is life itself.” As such, his practices and teachings included an emphasis on the development of community, civic engagement, and active citizenship. Schools as communities was a radical, but important shift in the history of education to personalize and contextualize the learning experiences for children, teachers, and families. 

During graduate school, I had the good fortune to learn from many influential progressive education pioneers, including:

John Locke–Truth and knowledge come from experience;

Jean-Jacques Rousseau–Rote learning and memorization are not ways children retain information;

Johann Pestalozzi–Learning requires a holistic head, heart, and hand approach;

Friedrich Fröbel–Play and experimentation are essential elements of learning; and

Maria Montessori–Methods of assessing students must be authentic, intentional, and multi-dimensional.

Our promise to Latin families is that we will prepare your children to pursue their passions and lead lives of purpose and excellence.

These individuals and so many others helped to shape and influence my own approach to teaching students and leading schools. Collectively, these philosophers, educators, researchers, and practitioners created a tapestry of both important aspirations and practical strategies that have impacted my work over the past 30 years. Perhaps the most significant aspect of my interest in joining the Latin community was the understanding that these were shared beliefs and values.

Of course, having a philosophy and translating it into action are two different things. As a Head of School, it is important to keep our vision at the forefront of decision-making, articulate goals for both curriculum choices and instructional approaches, evaluate programmatic success using a variety of high-quality metrics, address areas that need improvements or corrective actions, and provide appropriate resources and supports to accomplish these lofty aims. Embedded in this approach is supporting our teachers, who are experts in their fields and child development, and ensuring that our parents remain active partners and advocates on behalf of their children. 

Our promise to Latin families is that we will prepare your children to pursue their passions and lead lives of purpose and excellence. We fulfill this commitment by believing in the inherent possibility of every child, fostering a sense of individual and collective agency, instilling a sense of social responsibility, and encouraging our students to dream–then make those dreams a reality!

 

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