Our Philosophy

At Pace, we believe that a diverse and inclusive learning environment is key to quality education, and that cultural fluency and compassion are hallmarks of a 21st-century leader. Beyond ethnic, cultural and religious diversity, the Pace student body embraces diversity of interests. Our students do not define themselves by one attribute; rather, we encourage them to explore and cultivate a multitude of activities through which they can interact, relate and connect with students of many backgrounds.

Pace’s diversity programming includes: faculty workshops; a Diversity Speakers Series; partnerships with local schools and community agencies; an eighth-grade Civil Rights trip; the Isdell Center for Global Leadership, with study abroad opportunities for students in all divisions; Step Up to Bullying, a comprehensive bullying program in partnership with the Anti-Defamation League; and parent programming. Our diversity initiatives are supported by curricular offerings and student organizations.

Program Goals

Pace Academy’s diversity program strives to:

  • Prepare students to succeed in an ever-changing and diverse world;
  • Create awareness in our community around the importance of diversity;
  • Commit to a diverse and inclusive culture that becomes the destination for great scholars;
  • Engage and inspire students, parents and faculty about the benefits of diversity for everyone

Diversity Programming

Curricular Offerings

Courses such as eighth-grade Holocaust studies, AP World History, Hitler’s Germany and Western Philosophy explore diversity from historical and academic perspectives. In the Lower School, students enhance their Spanish-language skills and understanding of Hispanic cultures during National Hispanic Heritage Month, and every spring, Middle School students travel on a Civil Rights trip.

Diversity Speakers Series

Throughout the year, students hear from notable speakers about issues of diversity.

Faculty Workshops and Conferences

Pace faculty and staff participate in professional development related to issues of diversity. Faculty and staff from all three divisions serve on a diversity committee, and in-house diversity workshops take place frequently.

Isdell Center for Global Leadership

The ICGL connects our curriculum with specially designed international experiences that enliven and expand learning. Curriculum-based study tours and video conferences enable Pace students to develop a sophisticated international and cross-cultural appreciation of societies near and far.

Pace Academy Board of Diversity (PABD)

PABD consists of more than 50 Upper School students. In support of the school’s mission to create prepared, confident citizens of the world, PABD strives to educate and learn how to educate others on issues of diversity, equity and inclusion. The group meets weekly to discuss a variety of diversity-related topics, plan programs and activities, and create signature events for each division of the school.

Step Up to Bullying

The Step Up to Bullying program provides anti-bullying education for Middle School students, and promotes and supports an inclusive and respectful school environment.

Community Involvement

While Pace Academy’s Isdell Center for Global Leadership provides student volunteer opportunities through the school’s nonprofit partners, Pace’s diversity program encourages community involvement as well and facilitates the following partnerships and programs:

Keeping Pace

In 2006, Pace began offering Keeping Pace, an academic summer program for the youth of Atlanta’s Peoplestown neighborhood and its surrounding communities. Its mission is to provide an enriching, fun and stimulating program for middle-school students.

National Center for Civil and Human Rights

Pace was the first organization to partner with the National Center for Civil and Human Rights following its 2014 opening. The affiliate partnership provides frequent, age-appropriate visits to The Center for students, as well as admissions and membership discounts for Pace families. Pace teachers participate in The Center’s professional-development programs, and students and alumni may apply for Pace internships within The Center’s Interpretation Department. The Center also assists Pace faculty with curriculum development, and the school benefits from The Center’s ties to individuals and organizations on the forefront of civil and human-rights debates.

Diversity Every Day

As part of the Lower School's celebration of National Hispanic Heritage Month, students participated in The Pulsera Project, which raises funds for struggling families in Nicaragua through the sale of colorful hand-woven bracelets.

This year, students raised a record $2,890.95, bringing Pace's four-year total to $8,200. "Pace remains in the top five pulsera-selling schools of all time, and we're so grateful for our continued partnership," says Pulsera Project Co-Founder Chris Howell.

National Hispanic Heritage Month recognizes "the histories, cultures and contributions of American citizens whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central and South America."

To celebrate this year's event, from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15, Lower School students participated in The Pulsera Project, which raises funds for struggling families in Nicaragua through the sale of colorful hand-woven bracelets.

In addition, National Hispanic Heritage Month activities have been incorporated into classroom activities, and a Hispanic Heritage-themed lunch was served in the cafeteria on Oct. 3. The menu included traditional foods from Argentina, Bolivia, Mexico, Ecuador and Costa Rica.

On Oct. 30, Calo Dance Studio will present a workshop to teach students about the rich tradition of dance in Spain and Spanish-speaking countries, as well as Spanish language, through interactive musical exercises, dancing and singing.

Multicultural Connections

In May, Life Trustee Dr. Stephen Dawkins and his wife, Arnika Dawkins, opened their home to host a Multicultural Family Reception honoring the Class of 2017.

The evening, co-sponsored by the Pace Academy Alumni Office and the Office of Diversity, brought together graduating seniors of color and their parents to reflect on their time at Pace and to discuss ways to remain connected to the school going forward. Mark Johnson '94, a member of the Pace Academy Alumni Board and chair of Leadership Pace 2017, helped facilitate the discussion with more than 40 attendees.

"We hope that this will become an annual event to celebrate and honor the multicultural students in every senior class," says Director of Diversity and Inclusion Joanne Brown.

An Exercise in Civil Discourse

Black History Month activities kicked off in the Upper School with a Feb. 1 performance of Defamation The Play. The production, "a riveting courtroom drama that explores the highly charged issues of race, religion, gender, class and the law," asks audience members to act as the jury, ultimately encouraging thoughtful discourse. Following the performance, Upper School students were encouraged to participate in a talk-back session with the cast.

Meet the Director of Diversity & Inclusion

Joanne Brown joined Pace’s admissions team in 2014 as the associate director of Upper School Admissions. In addition to her admissions duties, Brown mentored students through our Admissions Ambassadors, Ninth-Grade Transitions and Middle School Advisory programs; served on our Faculty Diversity Committee and Mental Wellness Taskforce; and chaperoned several Isdell Center for Global Leadership study tours.

In 2017, Brown transitioned to her current role as director of diversity and inclusion. She oversees Pace’s diversity efforts in its Lower, Middle, and Upper Schools by supporting students, faculty and Pace families. Brown also facilitates diversity programming and ensures that the school’s curriculum reflects the diversity of local and global communities.

To learn more about the diversity program at Pace, contact Joanne at Joanne.Brown@paceacademy.org or 404-266-4422.

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