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

Equity and Inclusion

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.

Coyle Scholar
January 26, 2021: Julie Lythcott-Haims

JulieLythcottHaimes
"What It Means to Be Black in White Spaces"

In this powerful talk on identity and community, Julie Lythcott-Haims will share her experience as a Black and biracial woman growing up in white spaces. She found that even as she accomplished so much—graduating from Stanford University and Harvard Law School, working as a corporate lawyer and as Stanford's first-ever dean of freshmen—she still couldn't escape the grip racism, discrimination, and microaggressions had on her sense of self. In this talk, she will share how she found self-acceptance through the healing power of community. Her story is deeply personal, but its message is universal: people from marginalized communities will recognize echoes of their own experiences, and allies will learn how they can better show up, listen, and advocate for others.

In Lythcott-Haims' Real American: A Memoir, she writes a powerful and award-winning reflection of identity, belonging, and community, and details growing up Black and biracial in white spaces. She shares the role that racism, discrimination, and microaggressions took on her self-worth, and how she found acceptance through community.

To purchase a copy of Real American: A Memoir, click here.

We Are GFA

By Bob Whelan
Head of School

Over the last month, we have witnessed yet again how the nation’s long legacy of racism continues to damage and destroy the lives of Black and Brown people. We also have witnessed a vital and impassioned national conversation about inequality, racism, and the notable absence of a just and fair society for all. 

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By Shanelle Henry
Director of Equity and Inclusion

On June 19, in honor and recognition of the history of Juneteenth, I extended an invitation to Black alumni to gather in affinity and amplify their voices and concerns as Black alumni of GFA. The conversation was raw, painful, and revealed deep and long-held wounds. Paraphrasing Dr. King’s question (above), I asked the group: “What is it that GFA has failed to hear?”

Read More about Alumni Perspectives: Acknowledge the Inequities
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

Our GFA Values

By Bob Whelan
Head of School

As the events of the last few days, following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, have been unfolding in the news, I keep thinking about the impact they are having on our kids. I've been thinking about our black students and our students of color, their families, my colleagues of color, their loved ones, and how this must feel. I'm thinking about our white students and their families, and what they are thinking as they seek to make meaning of this as they consider race, injustice, and their place in the world.

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Equity and Inclusion at GFA

As part of its commitment to fostering cultural competency, GFA has engaged Dr. Derrick Gay more than a dozen times in the last three years to work with students, faculty and staff. Gay is an internationally recognized consultant to businesses, educational, arts, and philanthropic organizations around the world on issues of Diversity and Inclusion, and Global Citizenship. He joined the GFA Board of Trustees in 2018. Read more:

Fostering a Culture of Inclusion

It is striking that a man often invited to speak at diversity conferences doesn’t like the word diversity. Dr. Derrick Gay points to the inherent problem in calling some people “diverse,” as it assumes there is a normal, and that they are different from it. “Let’s either reclaim the word diversity,” he says, “or chuck it and talk instead about inclusivity and community.” 

Recently he brought his message of inclusivity to the GFA community and will continue the discussion throughout this school year.

Read More about Fostering a Culture of 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.

RESOURCES FOR FAMILIES, FACULTY AND STUDENTS

Upcoming Events

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GFA Voices

 

Director of Equity and Inclusion
Equity and Inclusion Coordinator
Ben Gott

Jennifer Ferreira
Lower School

Equity and Inclusion Coordinator

Michaela Pembroke
Upper School

Equity and Inclusion Coordinator

Katie Mack
Lower School

Equity and Inclusion Coordinator

Chris Meatto
Upper School

Equity and Inclusion Coordinator
Ben Gott

Ben Gott
Middle School