Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Rising to the Challenge

Our Thacher community—and indeed our entire world—finds itself at a confluence of unprecedented challenges: a global pandemic, repercussions of climate change, a paralyzed economy, a racial justice uprising, a divided nation, and more. At Thacher, we believe a path forward is a collaborative effort, where people of diverse backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives can and must come together to envision and design a community where all members can thrive and realize their full potential. We believe that this work can be successful if we anchor it in our School mission and philosophy and build upon the pillars of honor, fairness, kindness, and truth. We also recognize that our mission and values alone are not sufficient to bring about the community to which we aspire, so we challenge ourselves—on both individual and on institutional levels—to remain committed to growth, equity, and to fostering in our students the desire and skills to be courageous, empathetic, and civically-engaged citizens.

A Moment of Reckoning and Opportunity for Growth
Throughout the summer of 2020, we engaged in heightened listening, learning, and critical self-reflection. Our resulting renewed commitment at Thacher led us to take critical steps in the ongoing work of making our community a truly just and equitable one. This summer, Head of School Blossom Beatty Pidduck CdeP 1992 published a list of commitments. Since then, the School has begun the long term strategic work of fulfilling those commitments. Below is a digest of those commitments, the work that has been accomplished, and that which remains to be done. 


Commitments

Actions Taken

Implement anti-racist and anti-bias education and accountability at all levels of the institution.
At the start of the fall trimester, UCLA professor Dr. Gaye Theresa Johnson guided our faculty through the first of a year-long series of antiracist and anti-bias professional development trainings. She is also currently working closely with the History Department, the director of DEI, and the director of studies to enrich Thacher pedagogy through antiracist and anti-bias lenses. Additionally, Dr. Johnson—on sabbatical from UCLA—is in residency on campus this year as our visiting Anacapa Scholar and teaching a sophomore Latin American History course.
Hire additional BIPOC faculty and increase their representation in leadership roles at Thacher. Thacher has partnered with Strategenius and its founder, Orpheus Crutchfield, to collaborate in auditing all aspects of recruitment, hiring, support, and retention, with a focus on BIPOC. Additionally, Strategenius is leading Thacher’s national search for the next dean of students. 
Hire a therapist of color who specializes in issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI).
Thacher has added several therapists to our nine-person counseling staff, which now includes professionals whose backgrounds and areas of specialization reflect the diversity of our student body.
 
Create a multicultural resource center on campus.
Beginning in January 2021 we will bring students and adults together under the direction of Equity Meets Design, to use a design thinking process in creating a new multicultural resource center.
Engage an external DEI consultant to provide a full audit of our institutional policies and practices, as well as conduct a complete inventory of our curriculum. The School has partnered with Equity Meets Design to ensure that our policies, practices, courses, and co-curricular programming are equitable, inclusive, and reflect the diversity of the lived experience of our student body. The goal is to intentionally and actively identify and uproot biases and oppose racism and other forms of oppression. The work will be done in close collaboration with a team of Thacher stakeholders and the results of this work will be shared with the community.
Assemble a DEI Task Force to guide our ongoing work and to hold the School accountable. 
This team, currently in the development stage, will consist of representatives of all School constituencies. They will work in close partnership with Equity Meets Design, the head of school, and the director of DEI to be active participants in assessing, advising, and designing the path forward and in holding the School accountable to its commitments to racial equity and inclusion.
Never stop doing the work. We recognize that the work of manifesting our values throughout School life is constant and continual work; the administration, board, faculty, and staff are committed to this perpetual project.


Related Work
In concert with the above commitments and the strategic work being done to meet them, the School has taken immediate action on many other fronts, including the following.
  • The Thacher Board of Trustees created its own DEI task force to direct its ongoing DEI development and growth plan. The board is also working with Dr. Derrick Gay, who is helping them develop their DEI framework and practices and supporting them in their critical role as stewards of the School. 
  • Many faculty members focused their curricular efforts over the summer on expanding and deepening the DEI commitments and content of their courses.
  • We have expanded our Spanish language translation and communication services for families.
  • The School provided support and resources to faculty and staff to attend DEI professional development conferences and workshops. 
  • Over the summer of 2020, the School conducted alumni listening sessions to facilitate healing and restorative process and continues to partner with our Alumni Council in moving forward. 
  • We have refocused our dorm programming to bring more focus to DEI matters and make increased use of outside experts to help our students develop their cultural competencies and equity literacy. 
  • The campus community—students and adults—is engaged in a year-long process of community growth and restoration.
  • We are working within our faculty and staff, parent, and alumni bodies to develop affinity spaces that support our DEI efforts and the Thacher community as a whole.

—Head of School Blossom Beatty Pidduck

Thacher’s mission calls us to practice the art of living for the greatest good. To do so we must learn to listen deeply, to hear what our community—what our world—is asking of us, and to take action. That is the work in front of us.

List of 1 members.

  • Photo of Matt Balano

    Matt Balano 

    Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion; English Teacher
    805-640-3201 x215
    University of California, Santa Cruz - BA
    Bio

DEI News

Affinity, Alliance, and Interest Groups

As in so many areas of Thacher life, the School works to provide students with tools and opportunities to become empathetic and courageous leaders and inclusive community members. In this way, our students, the organizations they run, and the adults who support them play an important role in our diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts, and we offer a variety of options for engagement in this work. (The descriptions that follow are based on each group’s mission statement.)

List of 12 items.

  • Black Students Union (BSU)

    BSU offers a safe space for all of Thacher's Black students, where they may discuss racial issues, globally and within Thacher. It also offers a casual place for members to get to know each other and hang out.
  • First Generation/Year Students Coalition

    This group provides a space for students who are totally new to the boarding school world to talk about their experiences and hear from older students about how to find success at Thacher.
  • Jewish Student Union

    JSU provides a space to support Jewish students on campus and offer activities open to the community to learn about the Jewish faith.
  • Latinos Unidos (LU)

    Latinos Unidos is an organization that works to create a comfortable space for Latinos of all backgrounds as well as to educate the Thacher community by celebrating and affirming Latino culture.
  • Multi-ethnic Student Association (MESA)

    MESA provides a space of community for students of multi-ethnic, multi-racial, or multi-cultural backgrounds so that they may be able to celebrate and engage with all aspects of their beautiful coexisting identities.
  • Spectrum (LGBTQ+)

    Spectrum operates at two levels. A confidential group provides support, solidarity, and a safe space for those student who identify as LGBTQ. "Spectrum for all" exists to educate the community and create opportunities for allies to stand in solidarity with the LGBTQ community.
  • Student Disability Union (SDU)

    SDU educates and advocates for those with disabilities at Thacher and the greater world. Members also hold confidential meetings for mutual support.
  • Student Diversity Council (SDC)

    This organization comprises of representatives of the various affinity groups and others with an interest in furthering conversations and connections across difference.
  • Thacher Asian Student Society (TASS)

    TASS aims to create a safe, inclusive space for the wide range of identities under the terms Asian and Asian American to celebrate Asian and Asian American cultures, discuss current issues, foster allyship with other affinity groups, and educate the Thacher community.
  • The Association of White Anti-Racist Educators (AWARE)

    This is a group for white faculty and staff who are interested in educating themselves and taking action as allies in the effort to understand and dismantle racism.
  • United Cultures of Thacher (UCT)

    This group organizes events to promote and celebrate the diversity of the Thacher community. 
  • White Students Against Racism

    This is a group for white students who are interested in educating themselves and taking action as allies in the effort to understand and disrupt systemic racism.
Notice of nondiscriminatory policy as to students: The Thacher School admits students of any race, color, national, and ethnic origin to all the rights, privileges, programs, and activities generally accorded or made available to students at the School. It does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national, and ethnic origin in administration of its educational policies, admission policies, scholarship and loan programs, and athletic and other School-administered programs.