The faculty had the opportunity to work with Dr. Gene Batiste, a leading diversity consultant, for two days before the boys returned to school in September.
Dr. Batiste has over twenty years of experience working with independent schools in building and supporting diverse and equitable communities. His roles have included executive director of the Association of Independent Schools of Greater Washington, multicultural director at St. John's School in Texas, and vice president of professional development for the National Association of Independent Schools. This was his second visit to St. Bernard's, and our faculty welcomed his advice and guidance.
Dr. Batiste focused on two topics during his visit: socioeconomic diversity in society and at St. Bernard's and racial diversity as presented in the book White Fragility, by Robin DiAngelo. Faculty members were encouraged to think deeply about their own identities, their privilege or lack thereof, the experiences of St. Bernard's boys and parents, and ways in which our community can continue to strive for equity. Dr. Batiste initiated conversations in a way that produced genuine, personal, and deep conversations about what could have been fraught topics.
The faculty is looking forward to Dr. Batiste's next visit on October 25, when he will offer guidance about cultural competency and strategies to use in the classroom and out.