District Diversity Statement Adopted 2004
On December 13, 2004, the New Trier Board of Education approved a proposed Diversity Statement. The idea for a diversity statement arose from a suggestion that New Trier increase awareness of and support for diversity at the school, and that we be more vocal in professing our commitment to recruiting and supporting a diverse employee population. The Diversity Statement is as follows:
In service to the democratic ideals of justice and equity, New Trier Township High School District 203 is committed to delivering a progressive educational and work environment for all students and staff in the areas of diversity and social justice. We believe it is the responsibility of academic institutions to offer students a diverse set of experiences and perspectives that will better prepare them to successfully navigate the rapidly globalizing world community of the 21st Century. To reflect more holistic and realistic perspectives of the world at large, we are committed to actively recruiting, supporting and retaining people of diverse backgrounds across each level of our school district. Providing a diverse experience for our school community is further evidence of our dedication to our motto, "to commit minds to inquiry, hearts to compassion and lives to the service of humanity."®
A diverse school community includes representation by individuals of varying race, color, religion, national origin gender, sexual orientation, age, ancestry, marital status, and disability.
Working Definition of Equity
Educational equity strives for fairness in both expectations and opportunities for success for all students and staff. A school engaged in equity:
- acknowledges that students begin with different resources;
- seeks to meet students' individual needs;
- counters the stereotypes students experience that
limit their access to opportunities,
diminish their sense of acceptance and belonging, or
lower their academic expectations; and
- confronts systems of advantage and disadvantage based on race, cultural background, gender identity, sexual orientation, ability, socioeconomic status, religious belief, and other forms of identity.
Civil Discourse and Critical Thinking Statement, Adopted October 2020
New Trier Township High School believes that a fundamental aspect of our mission is to develop critical thinkers who can navigate a complex world through civil discourse, respectful inquiry, engaged listening and open consideration of multiple perspectives. Key to fulfilling this charge is the cultivation of a school environment in which all students feel welcome and free to explore a wide range of ideas. Our firm commitment to this principle reflects not only New Trier’s obligation to prepare our students for their future but our belief that the open exchange of ideas lies at the core of a democratic society in which individuals are accountable for their actions and treat one another with dignity, compassion, and respect.
Yearbook Statement 2020
In the spring of 2019, as stories about racist photographs in college yearbooks made national news, New Trier High School faculty, staff, students, and administrators questioned whether similar images may exist in our school's 118-year history. In response, New Trier's Civics and Social Justice class, the Voices in Equity student group, and other student volunteers decided to examine New Trier yearbooks dating back to the school's founding as part of a class project. They discovered examples of early racist cartoons and jokes as well as photographs of students in blackface, of students and faculty in Native American headdresses and face paint, and of students in costumes meant to represent other cultures either in school productions or during dress-up days such as Halloween.
Yearbooks are only one snapshot of the history of an institution; they do not give the entire story of the past. However, reconciling the photographs, cartoons, and writings found in our yearbooks with our mission of inquiry, compassion, and service and our commitment to equity, inclusion, and safety for every student and staff member is difficult. Two contradictory themes emerge when we look at our past. First, we see acts of compassion and service that we hope our current students emulate. Second, we see students, staff, and the school abiding by harmful, foregone social norms. We hope that each generation learns from the one before it, and while we must do all we can to make our schools safe and inclusive every day, we know that even now our words and actions may not reflect the knowledge and understanding of future generations.
For our students and alumni whose identities are represented in these images, they are unnerving and alarming. We regret the fear, exclusion, and pain these images cause. Rather than removing or censoring these images, we will maintain them in our historical archives and attach this statement to those archival copies. It is important that we acknowledge this part of our past so that we are thoughtful of how we are representing our values for today and for future generations. We are and will continue to be committed to making New Trier High School a place where everyone feels safe, welcomed, and respected regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, ability, or religion. Equity is deeply embedded in New Trier 2030, our strategic plan, and each year we will commit to concrete goals that will advance our efforts in areas such as climate, professional learning, systems and practices, curriculum, and student voice.
We wish to thank the students who spent hours reviewing more than 100 yearbooks and who presented their thoughtful work, along with their suggestions on how to acknowledge and learn from these images from our past. We look forward to continuing our work with students, staff, parents, community members, and alumni to make New Trier a safe and welcoming school with equitable opportunities for all.
Dr. Paul Sally, Superintendent, July 2020