In the flurry of activity before Winter Break, Loomis Chaffee students, faculty, and staff found time to connect with local community members and celebrate the holiday season around the Island.
Diversity & Inclusion
Diversity, multiculturalism, and inclusion are integral and valued concerns throughout the Loomis community. Maintaining an environment that supports equity, inclusivity, and the pursuit of justice for all people, as expressed in our Diversity Mission Statement, is an on-going commitment. The Office of Multicultural Affairs assists in maintaining the school's focus and continuous evaluation on that commitment.
The Loomis Chaffee School is committed to sustaining an environment in which diversity is one of the cornerstones of our community.
Only when the community fully commits to the pursuit of justice, equity, and inclusivity is it then able to maximize the benefits of diversity. As an institution steeped in the liberal arts tradition, students and faculty regularly engage material that is enhanced by the multiplicity of voices within our school. We fundamentally believe that we become better people when we learn from and embrace others who have different experiences and perspectives from our own. Accordingly, the Loomis Chaffee School places great value on respect for the dignity and contribution of each and every one of its members.
- What is diversity at Loomis Chaffee?
- Faculty and Direction
- Student Organizations
- Student Programs and Activities
- Pelican Peer Support Network
- Faculty Programs and Associations
Diversity is difference coming together, represented by the wide variety of backgrounds, interests, experiences, and personal identifiers that exist within a group of people, such as those who compromise the Loomis community.
Measuring diversity in an educational setting focuses first on those identifiers that may inhibit or enhance individual or group access to resources, influence, inclusiveness, safety, and/or well-being. Secondly, identifiers that may significantly shape one’s world view, establish a hierarchy of values, and determine priorities are considered.
- Sexual orientation
- Socio-economic background
- Physical ability/disability
- Educational level of parents
- Urban versus rural home environment
- Language(s) spoken
- Physical appearance/body type
- Cognitive or learning style
- Social style
- Political orientation
- Strong identification with various social or political causes
- Particular passion for or identification with a particular aspect of the academic or athletic program
- Academic preparation/readiness of the student
Elizabeth ParadaElizabeth Parada has been a member of the Loomis Chaffee community since 1999. Originally from Colombia, she moved to the United States with her family to complete high school. Elizabeth holds a bachelor’s degree in Latin American Studies and Spanish Literature from Mount Holyoke College, a master’s degree in Public Health from the University of Massachusetts, and is currently completing graduate work at Universidad Pontificia de Salamanca, in Salamanca, Spain.
As director of diversity and inclusion, Elizabeth devotes herself to promoting an inclusive school community through educational and cultural programs that address issues of social justice and diversity. She attends and facilitates training and workshops for students and faculty, including at the Social Justice Training Institute, at People of Color Conferences, at the Knapsack Institute and at SEED (Seeking Educational Equity and Diversity) training. Elizabeth has been a member of the faculty in the Modern and Classical Languages Department, a dorm affiliate with Richmond Hall, and a member of the Service Program. Elizabeth has traveled to Italy and the Dominican Republic with students in the Center for Global Studies educational programs.
Patricia Sasser, Dean of Students for the senior class, joined the Loomis Chaffee faculty in 2012. Raised in an American and Nigerian bi-cultural household, Patricia is passionate about all matters related to multiculturalism, equity, diversity, and inclusion from a very young age. As the daughter of a United States Foreign Service officer, Patricia has traveled extensively, and has lived in Washington D.C., Nigeria, Haiti, and Niger.
Patricia earned a bachelor's degrees in English and African-American studies from the University of Virginia, and a master's degree in educational leadership from George Washington University. She has received extensive professional development in the areas of social justice, diversity, and inclusion. In addition to her work as a Dean and with the Office of Diversity & Inclusion, Patricia is a student advisor, oversees the dorm Residence Assistant and Prefect programs, and teaches one section of the Freshman Seminar in the Common Good.
Climate and Inclusion Committee
The Climate and Inclusion Committee supports the efforts of the Office of Multicultural Affairs and serves to promote and carry out many suggested initiatives. The members of the committee represent many areas of school and are an important sounding board and support system for sustaining an inclusive environment at Loomis.
People Rising in Support of Multiculturalism (PRISM)
A popular student organization, PRISM members seek to break down social boundaries by creating a familial environment for interaction with people of different cultures, in a comfortable space. Together, they explore social issues, investigate resources and opportunities, and discuss ways to better educate themselves and share their experiences.
Members of PRISM help plan and execute multicultural celebrations and activities, host inter-school dances, and represent Loomis at student diversity leadership conferences. PRISM also helps to promote the message of inclusion and social justice at community gatherings and student activities.
Loomis Chaffee's Gender-Sexuality Alliance, SPECTRUM, is committed to making the Island a safer place for people of all genders and sexual and romantic orientations. SPECTRUM represents LGBTQ+ students and faculty of all backgrounds everywhere on campus, whether it be at a clubs fair, a Freshman Seminar class, or at bimonthly Safe Spaces. SPECTRUM focuses on supporting LGBTQ+ members of the Loomis community in addition to facilitating educational discussions and workshops to help allies and allies-to-be understand LGBTQ+ issues.
SPECTRUM works closely with faculty, student organizations, and other schools in the New England area, to create exciting celebrations throughout the school year (including dances, movie nights, and discussions). SPECTRUM also provides transportation to and promotes participation in GSA-oriented events around New England (GLSEN, HGLHC, and more!) On the whole, SPECTRUM supports the Loomis Chaffee School's devotion to the representation of students from all backgrounds and experiences in all aspects of the Loomis experience.
Jewish Student Union (JSU)
The Jewish Student Union helps foster the Jewish community on the Island through social connection and the sharing of faith traditions in a welcoming environment. JSU helps educate the Loomis community on Jewish traditions, heritage, and culture.
LC Christian Fellowship
LC Christian Fellowship provides opportunities to openly discuss and explore one’s faith with Christians of all denominations in a welcoming environment.
International Student Ambassadors
The International Student Ambassador program provides avenues for student leadership on campus. International students provide support to others from similar backgrounds to help ease the transition to life at Loomis. They assist with orientation and play an integral role in international events on campus. International ambassadors maintain a widely-read blog to share their experiences of life on the Island.
CAIS Student Diversity Leadership Conference
The Connecticut Association of Independent School’s Student Diversity Leadership Conference mission “is to bring students from grades 7-12 and adults from independent schools across the state together for a day of networking and dialog, facilitating cross-cultural understanding and a call to action to improve our school communities and our world.”
NAIS Student Diversity Leadership Conference
The National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) Student Diversity Leadership Conference “is an inclusive, multiracial, multicultural gathering of upper school student leaders (grades 9-12) from around the country. SDLC focuses on self-reflection, allyship, and community building. Led by a diverse team of trained adult and peer facilitators, participants will develop an appreciation of their own identities, build effective cross-cultural communication skills, better understand the nature and development of effective strategies for social justice, and practice expression through the arts, while networking with their peers.
Hot Topics Discussions
Advancing confident, social-minded leaders, student- led Hot Topic Discussions are organized at opportune times during the school year by the Office of Multicultural Affairs. They provide an opportunity for thoughtful reflection and communication regarding current issues of local, national, and worldwide concern. A respectful dialog is organized in a safe environment for students to share their opinions with a goal of inspiring positive change.
Each spring, the Loomis community comes together in this fun and festive event celebrating and sharing our cultural diversity. Highlighting the numerous nationalities and ethnicities represented on campus, students, faculty, staff, and parents organize interactive exhibits that feature food, music, visual arts and other cultural activities for all to share and learn.
The PSN provides cultural, social, and academic support to students in their transition to high school and throughout their experience at Loomis. The peer mentor program is part of the larger Pelican Peer Support Network, where students from similar backgrounds get together for academic study halls, roundtable lunches, alumni panels, and other academic and social activities with the goal of supporting peers and the enhancement of their experience at Loomis and beyond.
Primarily for students from underrepresented backgrounds on Loomis' campus, the PSN may include, but is not limited to, students of color, students who are part of the first generation in their families to seek an advanced education, and students with limited financial means.
The PSN is a joint program run by the Office of Multicultural Affairs, College Office, Dean of Students, and the Admission Office.
Seeking Educational Equity & Diversity (SEED)
The SEED program invites the engagement of head, heart, and soul. Seminar participants examine inner and outer ways in which systems bear on lives inside and outside of school. SEED work develops ways of understanding complex relations between self and system with regard to race, class, gender, sexual orientation, physical ability/disability, and cultural experience. Everyone becomes engaged in diversity work in both familiar and unfamiliar ways.
SPHERE is a consortium of independent schools from the greater Hartford area that came together in the early 70’s because of a common commitment to diversity. SPHERE’s mission is to help the member schools to collaborate in becoming and remaining culturally diverse, inclusive, and responsive environments for teaching and learning. www.sphereschools.org
CAIS Commission of Diversity in Independent Schools
The Connecticut Association of Independent Schools (CAIS) Commission on Diversity in Independent Schools exists to inspire a wide spectrum of individuals in the effort to make our school communities rich in the experience of human differences. The Commission will provide an educators'' network focused on diversity, as well as training and resources for diversity advocates at CAIS member schools. It will also provide on-going support for trustees, administrators, teachers, staff, students, families and other CAIS commissions. www.caisct.org
NAIS People of Color Conference (POCC)
The National Association of Independent School (NAIS) People of Color Conference’s mission “is to provide a safe space for leadership and professional development and networking for people of color and allies of all backgrounds in independent schools. PoCC equips educators at every level, from teachers to trustees, with knowledge, skills, and experiences to improve and enhance the interracial, interethnic, and intercultural climate in their schools, as well as the attending academic, social-emotional, and workplace performance outcomes for students and adults alike.” http://pocc.nais.org
Alex Myers, author, activist, and English teacher, shared his personal experiences as a transgender individual and spoke about gender identity in the context of this year's school theme, Mental Well-Being, at a convocation on November 5.
Students in PRISM, P'lalante, and Loomis's Office of Diversity & Inclusion, organized the highly successful LatinXfest on October 13 in honor of National Hispanic Heritage Month.
Classical and South American folk musicians Elqui Trio presented a masterclass and concert on the Island on Monday, September 24, as part of Loomis Chaffee's celebration of National Hispanic Heritage Month.
In a new addition to the Loomis Chaffee summer reading program, students from across all class years took part in school-wide Summer Reading Book Chats on Tuesday, September 11.