"We are created to be models of God’s love and grace. We are created to serve God in Christ in all persons, regardless of origin, background, ability, or religion. We are created to “strive for justice and peace among all people and [to] respect the dignity of every human being.”
Friday, October 16, 2020
An Update from the Episcopal Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Task Force
Dear Episcopal Community,
In June of 2020, an appeal was made to Episcopal School of Baton Rouge by our alumni, parents, faculty, and staff to look inwardly and honestly about the history and future diversity, equity and inclusion within our community.
The administration, alongside our Board, heard the concerns and decided that a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Task Force consisting of the Episcopal school community along with a Board committee was needed to address them. Board Chair Chris Kiesel outlines the intent. “The Board has formed a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Committee in order to ensure that Episcopal’s policies and procedures in this area are fully aligned with the school’s Mission & Ministry Statement (to develop the whole child – spiritually, intellectually, morally, physically and artistically) and the Episcopal Church’s Baptismal Covenant (to ‘strive for justice and peace among all people and to respect the dignity of every human being’). We have a responsibility to our students, faculty and administrators who learn, teach and lead at Episcopal, to support their participation in a vibrant, compassionate and safe community that supports one another’s differences, embraces each other’s commonalities, and strengthens every community member’s ability to learn from each other, even when we are challenged to grow and think differently. Valuing inclusion and fostering a sense of belonging enhances our students’ experiences and better prepares them to contribute in meaningful ways to their communities beyond Episcopal. The DEI Committee’s established goals will guide our work in this regard.”
To effectively steer our efforts, Episcopal welcomes New Roads native Dr. Katrice Albert to help lead this work with our community of teachers, students, parents and alumni. Dr. Albert brings a wealth of experience in this area, combined with knowledge of our local community. She previously served as the Vice Provost for Equity, Diversity and Community Outreach at LSU. She has also worked with Episcopal in the past as a guest speaker with the Cornerstones program that preceded the Center for Service Learning. In addition, she has served in executive capacities with national organizations such as the NCAA and the University of Minnesota System. Dr. Albert is the founder and managing member of Third Eye Consulting Group.
Dr. Albert graduated magna cum laude from Xavier University of Louisiana with a bachelor of science in psychology. She earned her master of science in counseling psychology from the University of Southern Mississippi. She completed her doctoral degree in counseling psychology from Auburn University and completed her clinical internship in psychology at Boston Medical School’s Center for Multicultural Training. We look forward to partnering with Dr. Albert.
The efforts of the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Task Force will fall under the umbrella of the Episcopal Quest for Peace Program. In 2018, Episcopal introduced the program with the goal of helping students of all ages make connections between academics, everyday life and their moral obligation to make the world a better place. This year the theme of our work will be "Enriching Lives, Widening Circles."
As we move forward with Dr. Albert, we will continue to identify meaningful learning opportunities for our teachers and students. This year, as we have done in the past, we will send an Episcopal contingent to the National Association of Independent Schools’ People of Color Conference and Student Diversity Leadership Conference.
Episcopal School of Baton Rouge is committed to this work. We are a Christian community whose mission integrates spiritual formation into all aspects of the educational experience in a graceful and inclusive way. Episcopal schools have been established, however, not solely as communities for Christians, like a parish church, but as diverse institutions of educational and human development for people of all faiths and backgrounds. Episcopal schools are populated by a rich variety of human beings, from increasingly diverse religious, cultural, and economic backgrounds. Even the most diverse of Episcopal schools are created to be communities that honor, celebrate and worship God as the center of life.
We thank the Task Force members for their commitment to this work and to ensuring that Episcopal is a diverse, equitable, and inclusive community. We are also grateful to families who have inquired about supporting Episcopal’s DEI initiatives. Those interested can choose to direct their eFund gift by selecting “Spirituality and Service Learning” and then stating the desire to designate a gift to “DEI” in the comments section.
The Episcopal community can expect future updates from Dr. Albert and the Task Force as we move forward with this effort.