Greens Farms Academy

An Independent Co-Ed Day School For Grades PreK-12

Equity and Inclusion

Let's take care of each other. With this mantra as our priority, we can watch our special community become even stronger.
Patrick Howard '19
Upper School Student Council Chair

Dear GFA community—

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

Program for Students

Lower School

  • Teaching Tolerance Projects: curricular units at each grade level aligned with Teaching Tolerance standards
  • Life Skills: exploration of identity and diversity through the Life Skills curriculum

Middle School

  • Workshops: Regular grade-level work with students during advisory, assembly, and afternoon times addressing identity, empathy, diversity, and inclusion
  • English Readings: Readings in English classes exploring identity and equity
  • Spoken Word Poetry: A weekend Spoken Word Poetry program in collaboration with Horizons @ GFA and visiting poets
  • Spectrum Club: A student-led group that discusses identity and fostering inclusion. Conversations explore social identifiers like race, culture, and gender in an effort to learn more about their role in students' lives and experiences.

Upper School

  • Ninth Grade Teaching Tolerance Seminar: a required, seven-week seminar program exploring Teaching Tolerance standards
  • Courses: A number of courses throughout the curriculum focused on equity and inclusion
  • Conferences: students attend the national Student Diversity Leadership Conference and several other workshops throughout the year
  • Equity & Social Justice Seminar: a Saturday program at GFA bringing together current students and alumni from traditionally underrepresented backgrounds

Clubs:

QUEST (Questioning, Understanding, Educating (about) Sexuality Today)

QUEST is the Upper School Gay/Straight Alliance. It seeks to ensure that GFA is, indeed, a safe space for students of all sexual orientations. Through various activities and presentations, such as LGBT History Month, Ally Week and Day of Silence, the students in QUEST seek to provide information to their peers and promote honest and open dialog about issues concerning sexual orientation.

LEAD

LEAD is an inclusive student club dedicated to improving our community and exploring equity and inclusion issues.

School-wide

  • GFA Voices: Twice per year, we bring together students, parents, faculty, and staff to hear stories from our community focused on heritage
  • MLK Day Celebration: Annual all-school assembly with speakers, music, and discussion

The Team

Director of Equity and Inclusion

Shanelle Henry

Shanelle Henry

Building an inclusive community is everybody’s job, and several faculty members have taken the lead as division Diversity and Equity Coordinators to organize and spearhead our efforts:

UPPER SCHOOL
MIDDLE SCHOOL

Griffen Stabler

Griffen Stabler

LOWER SCHOOL

Jane Verlin

Jane Verlin

We also have in place a Faculty Staff Committee on Equity and Inclusion, which meets several times throughout the year to discuss program, policy, and practice around diversity, equity and inclusion.

Learn More About Shanelle Henry

Shanelle Henry joined the GFA community in 2018 as the school’s new Director of Equity and Inclusion. An educator and leader in her field, Henry has spent much of the last 20 years working on issues of equity, diversity, inclusion, and social justice in independent and public schools, colleges and universities, non-profit, corporate and law enforcement agencies and corporations.

Read More about Learn More About Shanelle Henry

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.

Inclusion in Action

Why I Do This Important Work

By Shanelle Henry
Director of Equity and Inclusion

I imagined myself standing at an intersection in the woods with a decision to make. Which road would I choose: I could continue to be immobilized by anger, which in fact changes nothing, or I could pursue a path of forgiveness and understanding.

Read More about Why I Do This Important Work