Hawken School’s original rule book nearly one hundred years ago consisted of two words: Fair Play. Signs depicting the motto were hung in every classroom, and if the spirit of Fair Play was violated, the sign would be temporarily removed from the walls.

Today, you will still find Fair Play signs on the walls of all Hawken classrooms – a reminder of our school’s emphasis on the importance of character. The concept of Fair Play remains at the core of our community’s collective consciousness, along with our founder James A. Hawken’s original goal for his students: “That the better self shall prevail and each generation introduce its successor to a higher plane of life.” These guiding principles and shared beliefs, which apply to academic, athletic, personal, social, and professional conduct, keep our community grounded in integrity, accountability, and respect. 
Hawken’s mission calls upon us as individuals and as a community to periodically examine and evaluate the content of our character and culture through a new lens – the feminist movement and the civil rights movement being perhaps the most notable historical examples. Today, we find ourselves at a similar pivotal point in our story as we prepare our students for an increasingly global world while honoring our commitment to Fair Play. As one senior comments, “Fair Play is something you have to cultivate and nurture. It’s not like some magic. It’s something you have to work on.”

The Board of Trustees clearly see the wisdom in these words, as they recently added a new priority to the 2018 strategic plan: Deepening Fair Play: Diversity, Equity, and Social Justice. Click here to read more about Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Justice.

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

Early Childhood, Lower, and 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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