Diversity, Equity & Inclusion
At Pace Academy, we believe that a diverse, equitable and inclusive learning environment is key to a quality education, and that cultural fluency and compassion are necessary components of creating prepared, confident citizens of the world. We are dedicated to developing the whole child. We respect others and their unique ideas and beliefs. Our commitment to a diverse, equitable and inclusive culture is reflected in a community in which our differences are embraced, and students, parents and faculty have a sense of belonging.
Our Recent Progress
At Pace, the work of diversity, equity and inclusion is never done. Our motto, To have the courage to strive for excellence, calls us to continuous self-reflection—a process that requires listening, learning, and taking meaningful and informed action, particularly in regard to diversity and inclusion.
Much work remains, but as a school community, we have made progress. In recent years, growth has taken place in the following areas:
Increased Staffing for the Office of Diversity & Inclusion
Pace Academy has announced two personnel changes to elevate programming and support around the areas of diversity, equity and inclusion across the school. With the start of the 2020-2021 school year, Joanne Brown, currently Director of Diversity and Inclusion, will serve as Chief Equity and Inclusion Officer. Dr. Troy Baker, currently Director of Athletics, will become Director of Student Life, a new position on Pace Academy’s administrative team.
Increased Racial/Ethnic Diversity
During the 2019-2020 school year, students of color made up 27% of our overall student body. This represents an upward trajectory that Pace has consistently maintained around the enrollment of students of color. Students of color represented 42% of all new enrollees and, specifically, 42% of our Pre-First class were students of color. Amongst our faculty and staff, 26% were individuals of color—a percentage that will continue to grow. We believe that the Pace community should reflect our global community, and we acknowledge that we are called to do more.
Increased Geographic Diversity
While 85% of our students live within 6 miles of Pace, our school draws outstanding students from 79 different zip codes in our region.
Our programming efforts continue to grow and develop to better support our school community. Current programming includes: faculty diversity committees in each division; Community of Change, a forum for parents to discuss current events and tackle tough topics with their children; student and faculty affinity groups; Pace A.W.A.R.E. (Pace Alliance of White Anti-Racist Educators); a speakers series which has featured guests such as Dr. Ibram X. Kendi; active student-led groups such as the Pace Academy Board of Diversity, the Black Student Alliance, the Hispanic Student Alliance, the Gender & Sexuality Alliance; partnerships with the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), Teaching Tolerance and the National Center for Civil and Human Rights; faculty and staff summer reading and book clubs (White Fragility was this past year’s book; we’ll tackle The Person You Mean to Be this summer); ongoing professional development for administrators, faculty and staff.
A Broader Curriculum
A faculty’s approach to curriculum—history, in particular—is inextricably tied to the professional-development programming in which faculty members participate. To effectively teach, our faculty must understand how our country’s history of systemic oppression impacts systems in place today and convey that understanding in their classrooms. We also acknowledge the value of including books that are written by authors who are Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) and feature characters who are BIPOC.
To that end, examples of recent additions to our curriculum include a unit on diversity and inclusion in our required ninth-grade transitions class; The African-American Saga, an Upper School course offered to juniors and seniors; the eighth-grade Civil Rights Trip; the Lower School Read4Respect program; and the ADL’s No Place for Hate curriculum.
During the 2020-2021 school year, all sixth graders will take a new course entitled Engaged Citizenship: Race, Justice, Leadership, while eighth graders will take Holocaust and Civil Rights Studies, an update to the eighth-grade Holocaust Studies course.
Increased Financial Aid
An increase in need-based financial aid provides us with more socio-economic diversity. Ten years ago, we focused our financial-aid efforts on the Upper School. Today, we award nearly $4 million annually to students in our Lower, Middle and Upper Schools. Students receiving financial assistance represent 14% of our student body. Included in this is the Pace Academy Access Fund, which provides needed financial support for working families that would miss the traditional financial-aid cutoff.
Increased Alumni Engagement
The Association of Black Pace Alumni was founded in 2018 and has engaged in opportunities with our current students. The group funded and launched the Clyde L. Reese III ’76 Diversity Leadership Award this past spring. The award, named in honor of one of Pace’s first Black graduates, recognizes a sophomore who demonstrates a commitment to a diverse and inclusive community at Pace.