Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Justice

Diversity Statement

Hawken School’s steadfast commitment to diversity in all of its forms is rooted in our mission of “forward-focused preparation for the real world through the development of character and intellect.” We honor the dignity of every human being, and we respect and value differences including but not limited to race, ethnicity, gender, socioeconomic status, sexual orientation, political and social values, culture, religion, and physical ability. We believe that this commitment to diversity, equity, and social justice is vital to the realization and cultivation of character and intellect in our students.

Through our policies, programs, and practices, we actively promote a culture of respect, social awareness, and moral responsibility. Employees are expected to model and encourage intellectual growth and curiosity through the open and respectful exchange of ideas, thereby empowering students to think critically, challenge assumptions, engage in creative and collaborative problem solving, and learn from one another.

We affirm our commitment to introducing the next generation to “a higher plane of life” and believe it is the responsibility of every member of our community to act with integrity, empathy, honesty, kindness, and compassion, ensuring that all constituents feel welcomed, accepted, respected, and valued. We understand that striving toward cultural competency is not always easy work; it requires a high level of personal awareness, ethical courage, and intellectual challenge. It also demands that we value all that makes us unique, explore perspectives that challenge our own, and initiate and engage in candid and courageous conversations. Our motto of Fair Play demands nothing less.

Work Plan

Inclusive Pedagogy 
Faculty and administrators actively seek out and develop programming and partnerships that engage students both socially and intellectually in issues surrounding diversity, inclusion, and social equity. The goals are to identify the skills and behaviors that lead to success for all students and to implement classroom practices that will help develop and support these skills and behaviors.
  • Lower School: second grade holiday project, Fostering Hope; second grade International Day; fourth grade read-a-thon for Downs Designs; fifth grade Cultural Garden project; fifth grade year-long study of Fair Play
  • Middle School: 4 full-day service days connected with organizational themes (8th grade adds 2 days of service internships); Chapel Grapple – a year-long project that addresses themes relating to social equity or ownership for our actions; Hawken-Haibara partnership; Facing History and Ourselves network school; Insights immersive classes with equity, diversity and environmental components; Facing History Holocaust unit; Facing History Choosing to Participate unit; TPRS learning language through storytelling program, exposing students to different kinds of people, cultures, and socio-economic classes; 6th grade dignity unit; 7th grade short story unit; 8th grade art as social commentary unit
  • Geller Fund for Service Learning allots funding for 4th – 8th grade service/philanthropic work
  • Upper School: Service Day twice a year; Integrated Service Learning program; Class offerings/Intensives: Homelessness; Immigration; Gender, Culture, and Power; immersion trips to Nicaragua, Vietnam, Chile, etc.
Faculty Hiring
Hawken administrators, faculty, and staff will continue to identify and implement processes to grow our network of highly skilled, diverse candidates. We will also assess how we recruit, hire, and retain faculty of color in order to better reflect the racial diversity of our student population.
  • Partnerships with Strategenius, NEMNET, and Independent School Gender Project
  • Attendance at Carney’s Diversity Recruiting Fair, Nemnet Fair, People of Color Conference, and ISACS Diversity Summit
  • Founding member of the NEO Diversity in Education Recruiting Event
Access and Affordability
Hawken continues to prioritize funding and outreach in order to streamline the experience of applying to and attending Hawken School in order to make it more manageable and affordable. This issue is critical to making our diversity, social equity, and inclusion plan fully functional and meaningful. 
  • The Affordability Initiative (hawken.edu/affordability)
  • Parents’ Association support through underwriting events, all-community book reads, speakers, and upcoming “Hawken Flea”
Inclusive Student Culture
Hawken teachers and administrators encourage student outreach both within and outside our school walls in an effort to develop a common understanding and language around issues of race and socioeconomic class and to allow for more student-led diversity and social justice initiatives. We also continually look to bring speakers to our campuses who serve as role models, inspiring students to embrace an inclusive culture.
  • Middle School Martin Luther King Legacy Program organized and implemented entirely by Middle School students 
  • Facing History and Ourselves student leaders in the Middle School
  • Speakers and presentations: Todd Lieberman ’91 screening of Wonder; Roberta Kaplan ’84 on Supreme Court gay marriage issue; Jennifer Bricker, “Finding the Hero Within”; Alex Sheen, “Because I Said I Would”
  • The Identity Project, an Intensive class for Upper School students, enabling participation in the Student Diversity in Leadership Conference
  • Tutoring and chess coaching at Citizens Leadership Academy
  • Affinity groups currently being established at the Upper School 
Inclusive Adult Culture
Administrators help to facilitate the expansion of opportunities for faculty and staff to work together across divisions in an effort to develop a professional culture that values and seeks contributions from all members.
  • Faculty Work Days – Debby Irving; Professors Sam Sommers and Keith Maddox; Rosetta Lee
  • Professional Conferences including the NAIS People of Color Conference, White Privilege Conference, The Equity Exchange, Independent School Diversity Seminar, and NAIS Equity Design Lab: Exploring Culturally Responsive Teaching
  • Lower and Middle School social equity discussion every 6 weeks
  • Upper School Diversity Committee
Inclusive Family Culture
The Parents’ Association along with administrators and faculty actively seek out ways to engage all parents in an effort to create meaningful connections and relationships that are sustained over time.
  • Formation of Parents of Color groups, currently in progress
  • Faculty-staff book read in partnership with the Hawken Parents’ Association and Facing History and Ourselves – Another Brooklyn by Jacqueline Woodson; Brown is the New White by Steve Phillips ’82 and Waking Up White by Debby Irving.
  • Topics for parent education including Jacqueline Woodson speaker event (all-school), Women and Information Technology (all-school), Learning Differences (Lower School), Conversations with Children on Big Topics (Lower School)
An independent, coeducational, college preparatory day school, toddler through grade 12

Lower & Middle Schools, 5000 Clubside Rd, Lyndhurst, OH 44124
Birchwood School of Hawken, 4400 West 140th Street, Cleveland, OH 44135 

Upper School, PO Box 8002 (12465 County Line Rd), Gates Mills, OH 44040
Mastery School of Hawken, 11025 Magnolia Dr, Cleveland, OH 44106

Gries Center, 10823 Magnolia Dr, Cleveland, OH 44106

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