Foote School's commitment to the values of diversity, equity and inclusion is longstanding and continuously evolving. Through professional development and listening to the lived experiences of our families, Foote faculty and staff continually strive to create an environment where every child and family feels respected and seen for who they are, and celebrated for their individual contributions. Below is a timeline of our efforts to live our mission to be a diverse, inclusive and equitable school.
Lamont Takes the Helm
Jean Lamont becomes Foote's 7th Head of School and commits to increasing financial aid and improving outreach to the greater New Haven community to diversify Foote's student body.
Foote launches STARS (Schools Together for Arts Resources) in partnership with New Haven Public Schools to bring students together for Saturday morning art and language activities.
Footebridge summer program debuts, welcoming New Haven Public School students to Foote's campus for literacy, math and enrichment activities.
Student Diversity Increases
Student of color enrollment reaches 37 percent of the student body, more than triple the level just 10 years prior.
Financial Aid Increases
Financial Aid increases from 12% to 15% of the overall budget.
Chinese Sister School
Foote formalizes a sister school agreement with Yali, a school in Changsha, China. Each fall, a delegation from Yali will visit Foote, and every spring Foote students and teachers will visit China.
Carol Maoz Becomes Head
Carol Maoz becomes Foote’s 9th head of school. Under her tenure, Foote strengthens DEI initiatives.
The Multicultural Affairs Committee takes on a new life as MOSAIC (Multicultural, Open-Minded, Supportive, Accepting, Inclusive Community), sponsoring talks and performances to highlight diverse cultures and ideas.
Unite Through Understanding Day
Foote holds “Unite Through Understanding Day,” a daylong celebration aimed at enhancing students’ cultural competence by introducing them to ideas, stories, music, art, food and culture from around the world.
The student group F-STAND (Foote Students Together Against Negativity and Discrimination) is formed as a place for students to explore issues around identity, stereotypes, bias and creating a more inclusive school.
Foote administration, faculty and parents author a new diversity statement, which reads: “Diversity is at the heart of the Foote School mission and the way we live it. As individuals, we uniquely express our backgrounds, experiences, and beliefs. Through our relationships and programs, we recognize the inherent worth of each person and strive to respect, understand, and honor the value of all communities.”
Following the recommendation of the Modern Language curricular review process, Mandarin Chinese is added as a language choice.
NAIS People of Color Conference
For the first time, Foote sends faculty and staff to the People of Color Conference, a gathering of educators sponsored by the National Association of Independent Schools that focuses on creating an affinity space for people of color and their allies. Participants engage in professional development and hear from thought leaders on issues of inclusion, equity and social justice.
NAIS Student Diversity Leadership Conference
Six 9th graders attend the Student Diversity Leadership Conference in Indianapolis, sponsored by the National Association of Independent Schools. Since 2012, Foote has sent 36 students and more than 30 faculty members to these national diversity conferences.
Head of School Carol Maoz and Head of Lower School Beth Mello attend a training seminar on recruiting, hiring and retaining faculty of color hosted by Nemnet, a national organization committed to assisting schools and organizations in the recruitment and retention of diverse teachers, administrators and coaches.
Faculty & Staff Diversity Committee
A motivated group of faculty and staff form the Faculty and Staff Diversity Committee. Meeting Friday afternoons, the group explores their own identities and shares strategies to move the school forward in its DEI journey.
Foote’s Leadership Team participates in gender/sexuality diversity training sponsored by GLSEN aimed at making school practices and policies more inclusive and ensuring a support system for students making gender transitions.
Gender Affirming Policies
Foote policies are reviewed and updated to ensure they are gender inclusive. Changes include updates to dress policy, graduation and May Day and adding “gender expansive” as an option on admissions forms.
Horizons at Foote
Growing out of the successful Footebridge program, the school launches Horizons at Foote. Part of a nationwide network of successful summer programs, Horizons welcomes New Haven Public School students to Foote's campus for six weeks of academics and enrichment activities aimed at boosting learning and reversing the "summer slide."
Parent Task Force
Head of School Carol Maoz convenes a parent task force to inform recruiting and hiring practices at the school. From this initiative comes a gift to the school with the goal of diversifying the faculty and staff.
Student Affinity Groups
Student affinity groups are formed to provide children in Grades 4 and 5 a forum to bond around shared identities or experiences. Groups include children of color, and children of separated/divorced parents.
Matt Stevenson Recruiter
A gift is made to the school to work with recruiter Matt Stevenson. He connects the Head of School with local entities and opens up a potential pipeline for candidates from underrepresented groups.
Administrators attend a broader array of diversity hiring fairs, including one sponsored by the New York State Association of Independent Schools and another by Carney Sandoe for the first time.
Parent "Affinity" Group
Head of School and School Counselor invite families to share their experiences as it relates to DEI at Foote. These conversations lead to the formation of a people of color group which soon includes allies and focuses on building understanding and community.
With training from the school’s DEI consultant, Dr. Sandra “Chap” Chapman, Kindergarten teachers begin to build and use persona dolls in the classroom. In preparation for this work, they create a questionnaire and gather input from families about their identities and traditions.
With the aim of honoring families’ identities—and ensuring their names are pronounced correctly—the Admissions Office begins recording students and family saying their names as a resource for faculty and staff.
The Unity Project
Foote faculty, staff, students, parents, guardians, grandparents and alumni participate in a “Unity Project,” an identity-based activity that creates an art installation highlighting the beauty of the school’s diversity
Diversity Leadership Institute
For the first time, Foote sends an administrator to attend the NAIS Diversity Leadership Institute, a national gathering of educators engaging in professional development regarding best practice in independent schools as it relates to DEI.
Center for Racial Justice in Education
Twenty faculty and staff members participate in the CRJE training in New York City over the course of the year.
Racial Identity Workshops
In small groups, over the course of the year, faculty and staff participate in racial identity workshops using materials developed by DEI consultant Dr. Sandra "Chap" Chapman.
Middle School faculty engage in a multi-session training for Restorative Justice, a practice that allows students to resolve conflict with autonomy and empathy.
A group of Foote faculty and staff become the first to participate in SEED training (Seeking Educational Equity and Diversity) aimed at creating a forum for conversations that drive personal, organizational and societal change toward social justice.
Admissions DEI Event
The Admissions Office debuts a new event for prospective families focusing on the school’s DEI efforts.
Social Studies Curriculum Review
Faculty members of the Social Studies Curriculum Review Committee align Foote’s social studies program with the anti-bias framework Learning for Justice, the education programming branch of the Southern Poverty Law Center.
Assistant Head of School
Foote creates an Assistant Head of School position responsible for marshalling DEI resources with the goal of making our curriculum and parent experience more inclusive.
The Admission’s Office develops an anti-bias framework for considering admissions applications. The framework provides implicit bias training and uses rubrics to lessen the chance that unintended biases would affect admissions decisions.
The Assistant Head of School develops an anti-bias approach to hiring to ensure an equitable experience for candidates. This includes the formation of hiring committees and a standardized interview process.
New Demographic Goals
After a review of demographic data, Foote sets a goal to more closely mirror New Haven County in the school’s racial and ethnic makeup.
Families for DEI
Under the guidance of Dr. Sandra “Chap” Chapman, the parent affinity group is renamed Families for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, and redefines its mission as a group open to all parents and guardians who are interested and invested in Foote's ongoing efforts to create a diverse and inclusive community.
American Dream Game
In small groups, over the course of the year, faculty and staff participate in the American Dream Game which engages players in a reflection and discussion about the experience of marginalized identities and equity in the United States from an educational perspective.
Carney Sandoe’s FORUM/Diversity Philadelphia
Assistant Head of School attends Carney Sandoe’s Diversity Forum and co-presents with Dr. Sandra “Chap” Chapman on persona dolls in the Kindergarten classroom.
Parent Affinity Groups
Following training, parent leaders begin to host several affinity spaces for parents/guardians, including Parents of Children of Color, Latina/o/x and Hispanic Affinity Group, and Being and Raising Anti-Racists. Later additions include parents whose families identify as Black and African American.
Aléwa Cooper Appointed Head of School
Aléwa Cooper becomes Foote’s 10th Head of School, the first person of color in the school’s 104-year history to hold the role.
DEI Task Force
A task force is convened to prioritize professional DEI training for Foote’s Board of Directors and administrative Leadership Team.
Assistant Head of School co-presents with Dr. Sandra “Chap” Chapman on persona dolls in the Kindergarten classroom at two conferences: RESI, Reimagining Schools Institute at Columbia University; and Carney Sandoe’s FORUM/Diversity conference in Philadelphia.
Financial Aid Increase
Foote increases its annual allocation for financial aid from 15 percent of the budget to 18.5 percent of the budget.
The school commits to every faculty member participating in SEED (Seeking Educational Equity and Diversity) professional development.
Strategic Visioning Process
The school launches a strategic visioning process with Ian Symmonds & Associates that will include strategy as it relates to the school’s diversity, equity and inclusion efforts.
Dr. Derrick Gay Board and Administration Training
Nationally recognized DEI educational consultant Dr. Derrick Gay leads three-part training with Foote’s Board of Directors and Administration.
Witness Stones Project
7th graders place a "witness stone" at the Pardee Morris House in New Haven in memory of Pink Primus, a woman who was enslaved there in the 1800s. The ceremony was the capstone to a months-long humanities project that involved primary source research in partnership with the New Haven Museum and the Guilford-based Witness Stones Project.
Foote’s faculty and staff is committed to growing in our understanding of diversity, equity and inclusion, and works regularly with consultants and experts to further our work in this journey.
Dr. Sandra “Chap” Chapman
In 2017, Foote embarked on a multi-year partnership with DEI consultant Dr. Sandra “Chap” Chapman to provide guidance and professional development around curriculum and supporting parents with their understanding of identity development.
Rosetta Eun Ryong Lee, a recognized expert in diversity, equity and inclusion in schools, has twice visited Foote as a keynote speaker for professional development days (in 2013 and 2016)
Sexuality and gender specialist, author and educator, Deborah Roffman trained Foote faculty, staff and parents about gender roles, identity, expression and sexual orientation in 2017.
Gender diversity consultant Tony Ferraiolo shared his story and experience working with trans youth with Foote faculty and staff as part of professional development trainings in 2019 and 2021.
In 2021, DEI consultant and independent school head Erica Corbin led all faculty and staff in antiracism training during a Foote Professional Development Day.
Dr. Derrick Gay
Dr. Derrick Gay led a three-part training on diversity, equity and inclusion for members of Foote’s Board of Directors and administrative Leadership Team in the fall of 2021.
Each summer, our faculty Professional Development Committee selects books for the entire faculty and staff to read, often centered on expanding our understanding of DEI. Below is a sampling.
'Whistling Vivaldi' by Claude Steele
A psychologist presents research to show how stereotypes negatively affect the real-world performance of students and athletes.
'Just Mercy' by Bryan Stevenson
A memoir by the famed attorney and founder of the Equal Justice Initiative about defending poor and marginalized clients and systemic injustice in America.
'Born a Crime' by Trevor Noah
'The Daily Show' host's comedic memoir about self-discovery in a world where he was never supposed to exist.
'Caste' by Isabel Wilkerson
A Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist argues that America operates on a caste system of artificial hierarchy that determines standing, respect and who gets access to resources.
'This Is How It Always Is' by Laurie Frankel
A novel about a family raising a child with gender dysphoria, inspired by the author's own family.
'The Vanishing Half' by Brit Bennett
The story of twin Black girls, both light skinned, who run away from home at at 16. One marries a Black man and has a child while the other passes as life as white.
In 2016, a committee of Foote faculty and staff developed a set of "community agreements" to guide our work and create an inclusive, respectful and productive environment for the sharing of ideas.
The agreements are read at the start of all school meetings, and read as follows:
- Speak from your own experience, using “I” statements.
- Be mindful of “intent” and “impact” of both your words and actions.
- Assume good will. Allow yourself and others to make mistakes.
- Be humble; we all have room to grow.
- Challenge yourself to hear and respect other points of view
- Participate fully -- be present and flexible, open and authentic.
- Be brave enough to lean into discomfort and to find your voice
- View conflict as a catalyst for learning
- Listen for understanding; respond after contemplation
- Honor confidentiality.