Greens Farms Academy is a PreK-12, coed school in Westport, CT

Equity and Inclusion

In Our Own Words

A message from Shanelle Henry, Director of Equity and Inclusion 
Private school students in class.

I am so excited to be a member of this community! I feel privileged to work in a PreK–12 educational environment where our students are urged to explore their place in — and potential impact on — the world. Our mission calls upon us to prepare students for a life of purpose. This can (and should) be defined in many different ways, and that compels us to continue to do no less than our very best to maintain our commitment to fostering a diverse and inclusive community that values the identities, perspectives, and experiences of all its members. Our motto, “Each For All,” demands nothing less.

One of the most critical elements of equity work in schools is strong and courageous leadership. The charge of shepherding a school’s equity and inclusion efforts is both complex and rewarding. It is my aim to ensure that all constituencies on campus, from our youngest learners to our most tenured faculty and staff, have an opportunity to be part of the voice and structure of what makes GFA unique. GFA is home to thousands of stories, and those stories — and the voices that tell them — make us strong.

We are writing the next chapter of what it means to be Greens Farms Academy.

Each for All.

Shanelle Henry,
Director of Equity and Inclusion

Equity and Inclusion at GFA

Recommended Reading

the person you mean to be book cover

Director of Equity and Inclusion Shanelle Henry invited the GFA community to join her in reading The Person You Mean to Be: How Good People Fight Bias, an inspiring book by Dr. Dolly Chugh. Chugh is a Harvard-educated, award-winning social psychologist at the New York University Stern School of Business, and also the parent of children who attend independent schools in NYC. While she is an expert in the unconscious biases and unethical behavior of “ordinary, good people,” she is also, admittedly, trying just as hard as everyone else to be the person she means to be.

Through the compelling stories she shares in the book, and her research findings in unconscious bias, as well as work across psychology, sociology, economics, political science, and other disciplines, Chugh offers us practical tools to respectfully and effectively talk politics with family, to be a better colleague (and teacher) to people who don’t look like you, and to avoid being a well-intentioned barrier to equality.

Throughout this school year, Henry will offer opportunities to engage in discussions about this book.

Equity & Inclusion Team

At Greens Farms Academy, we embrace, honor and affirm all members of our school community across race, age, gender identity and expression, ethnicity, family composition, ability/disability, learning styles, religion, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, and other characteristics that construct our unique identities. We seek to ensure that all aspects of school life — including curriculum, admission, retention, hiring practices, and support for students, families, and employees — reflect our commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Each for All

GFA’s commitment to building and nurturing an inclusive community is core to our mission. We believe:

  • a diverse faculty, staff, and student body benefits and enriches all members of our community and is critical to meeting our educational aim of preparing students for their futures;
  • our curriculum and co-curricular program must teach our students global competency and to espouse the habits, skills, and attitudes necessary to live and thrive in a multicultural and interconnected world;
  • our community must be a place where all voices are heard, respected, and valued.

Listen to GFA Director of Equity and Inclusion Shanelle Henry discussing the Day After Election Guide on the podcast Third Space with Jen Cort: 

Listen here

SUMMER 2022: August 2-5
IDSJ Logo

 


 

Coyle Scholar: Julie Lythcott-Haims

In Our Own Words

Affinity Group at GFA

By Shanelle Henry
Director of Equity and Inclusion

Just before winter break, GFA hosted an affinity event for Black families. On Sunday, December 5, more than 30 adults and children gathered in the McGrath Gallery to get to know one another, and share experiences and ideas to increase support for current and prospective Black families and students at GFA.

Read More about Identity, Affinity, Family
Ronaldo John Friday Speaker

By Ronaldo John
Faculty, World Languages

"I’ve had to break many barriers in an effort to connect and to make the best experiences for myself. Today I stand before you all ... hoping that I will inspire you all to embark upon this journey with me, to remove yourself from your comfort zone, to embrace the feeling of discomfort and use it as a steppingstone to engage in thoughtful conversations with your classmates, friends, and colleagues, black and white alike.”

Read More about A Single Step
Julie Lythcott-Haims, Ben Gott

By Ben Gott
MS English, Equity and Inclusion Coordinator

Traditionally, the third week in January has provided an opportunity for GFA students, faculty, and staff to come together as a community to celebrate the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. However, the reality of COVID-19 meant that such large gatherings would be impossible this year—so the GFA Equity & Inclusion team decided to completely reinvent and reimagine our program for 2021.

Read More about Lighting the Path Forward
Martins Big Words

Kindergarten teacher Katie Mack and third-grade teacher Jennifer Ferreira
helped continue the conversation about identity in their classes, helping students better understand the Martin Luther King Day holiday, defining words including equal, fair, equity, race, racism, and advocate

Read More about Celebrating Our Differences
Live Girl event

By Katherine Stidolph '21

LiveGirl is a Connecticut-based nonprofit organization that builds confident leaders who embrace diversity. Their mission is to empower and equip the next generation of brave, inclusive leaders with the skills, community, and connections so that ALL girls may thrive and make a positive impact on the world. This conversation series has been thoughtfully designed to engage students and their parents in racial justice advocacy. 

Read More about Inviting Others to the Conversation
Ben Gott

By Ben Gott
MS English, Equity and Inclusion Coordinator

My friend and colleague in the Middle School, Kathleen Nicholson, often talks about the fact that she refers to herself as a “middle school teacher,” not a “science teacher.” Though we all consider our subject matter to be an important part of the work we do each day, Middle School teachers often find ourselves engaging with students’ joys, concerns, problems, and successes as much as we find ourselves teaching them math, science, or English. 

Read More about Welcoming Challenging Conversations