MA Prioritizes Inclusivity, Belonging and Collective Wellbeing
Moravian Academy recently published a new strategic plan. Today, I am pleased to offer more insight into one of our initiatives: “Foster an environment that prioritizes inclusivity, belonging, and collective wellbeing throughout our community.”
An early step in advancing this strategic plan initiative this year is to develop an all-school DEIJB strategic plan that includes a comprehensive assessment of curricular materials, equity training for all constituents, and opportunities for personalized adult learning. The school is partnering with national expert, Nishant Mehta of MehtaCognition, to assist us with this work. Mr. Mehta has already conducted training for the Board of Trustees and senior leadership team. He has introduced himself to our faculty, and at 7:00 PM on Wednesday, November 15, he will engage with our Director of Community, Inclusion and Belonging, Cristina Usino, in the third of our monthly MACES series to talk about his work with Moravian Academy this year. We encourage everyone who can to join the zoom meeting.
If schedules prevent your attendance tonight, the session will be recorded for viewing later. In the spring, Mr. Mehta and his team will visit our campus and meet directly with members of the community.
Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, Justice, and Belonging at Moravian Academy
Individuals thrive when they feel psychologically safe, that they belong, and that they can be authentically who they are. When these conditions are not in place, the environment can be stressful and toxic–getting in the way of inspired and innovative learning. Rooted in the Moravian traditions of inclusivity, Moravian Academy strives to provide a holistic and joyful environment that promotes and prioritizes mental and physical well-being.
The oldest version of what is now Moravian Academy harkens back to 1742, when Moravian Seminary for Girls was founded. “Sem” merged with Moravian Preparatory Academy in 1971 to form Moravian Academy, and then the Swain School merged with the school in 2020, keeping the name “Moravian Academy." Our commitment to inclusivity and belonging has carried through the growth of our school from its original Moravian founding.
There are many traditions that point to this. Looking to Moravian history, the Northern Province of the Moravian Church has focused extensively on inclusivity. In the 2018/2020 Resolutions on Social Issues by the Northern Province Synod, topics as wide ranging as the environment, human aging, immigration, and human sexuality/gender identities were discussed. When addressing issues that could potentially be divisive, they leaned into their motto, “In essentials unity, in non–essentials liberty, and in all things love.” This motto inspired their thinking and ultimately shaped their focus on honoring an individual’s freedom of conscience and embracing inclusivity as their approach.
When furthering the inclusivity, belonging and collective wellbeing initatives at Moravian Academy as a main tenet of the strategic plan, we will be guided by these same ideals as the Moravians. As a school, it is important that we foster an environment where young people can walk onto their campus and feel a sense of belonging. Adolescence in particular can be a very challenging time for young people as they wrestle with big questions about their identity and their place in the world. Our vision calls us to help young people answer the questions, “Who am I, and who can I become?” In order for this to happen, they first have to feel that they can be themselves and be valued and respected for exactly who they are and not what they or others think they should be.