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Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Belonging (DEIB)

“Come as you are” is a saying we use at Country Day to encapsulate the meaning and day-to-day intention of our Affirmation of Community.

It’s another way to say we value a deep sense of belonging for all. Belonging means that students, faculty, and staff at Country Day feel secure and supported because there is a sense of acceptance, inclusion, and identity.

Creating a sense of belonging is more than a moral and ethical way to behave as a community. Research shows us that students learn best when they are known, seen, and valued for who they are and have a strong sense of security and belonging in the classroom.

Critical thinking skills are elevated when students are taught to view history and current events, literature, artwork, music, and so forth, from multiple perspectives. Children at Country Day learn to see out “windows” into the experiences of others, as well as look into “mirrors” of their own reality. These skills are preparing our students for the future as cultural competency and empathy are two of the top skillsets today’s employers are seeking.

Upper School students in class

20%

of the student population are students of color (8% Black)

17%

Faculty of color

100%

Faculty and staff receive DEIB training

25%

of the Board of Trustees comprised of people of color

25

Upper School Diversity Awareness Forums ranging from mental health topics to learning about different religious traditions.

13

Literary giants have visited Country Day as part of our Diversity Guest Author Series since 2006.

Brian Wise Director of Diversity Planning

Our students come from different faith, socioeconomic, ethnic, and cultural backgrounds, and they all bring their own passions, talents, and personalities. In order for ALL of our students to feel valued, they need to feel understood and supported. We must model for our children the power of living as an authentic, inclusive community.”

DEIB Every Day

Historical Milestones

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1976

Eric Law becomes Country Day's first African American graduate and earns a National Merit Scholarship. He eventually returns to Country Day to serve on the Board of Trustees and the Alumni Council.

1987

In an effort to increase diversity at the school, Country Day becomes affiliated with A Better Chance (ABC) to identify and promote scholarships for minority students. Nethea Rhinehart '89 and Joan Tolbert '89 are the first ABC graduates at Country Day. 

1988

The school receives a $35,000 grant from the E.E. Ford Foundation for scholarships for African American students.

1993

The Hearst Foundation awards a grant to Country Day to initiate the Hearst Teaching Fellowship, which awards the school in bringing more diversity to our faculty. Since 1994, 26 teachers of color have come to Country Day for one-year fellowships, enriching our students' multicultural educational experiences.

1998

The Office of Diversity Planning is created and Brian Wise comes on board to direct and create programs for students, faculty, and parents to increase awareness of issues related to diversity, equity, inclusion and multiculturalism.   

1998

Country Day starts sending two faculty members from each division and six Upper School students to the NAIS People of Color Conference every year. Our faculty frequently present and share best practices with their national peers.

1999

People of Color in Independent Schools (POCIS), a committee of the National Association of Independent Schools is established at Country Day. POCIS is a forum that promotes dialogue about diverse cultures, languages, knowledge, and insights of people of color to contribute to creating an inclusive and affirming institution. 

2007

We change our mission key value of Diversity to the key value Community, which leads to the creation of our Affirmation of Community, one of the first schools in the country to adopt one. This affirmation commits us to living as an authentic, diverse, and inclusive community and guides us daily on issues of inclusion, similarity, and difference.

2010

Mark Reed joins Country Day as our first African American Head of School. Under his leadership, the school experiences remarkable growth, stability, and security. 

2010

The Diversity Awareness Forum (DAF) was created to promote a general respect for people's differences by creating an open-minded environment that embraces all people, ideas, and cultures. The DAF serves as the umbrella community to bring together the voices of seven clubs. 

2012

We create, develop, and host the first Affirming Community Together (ACT) conference for area middle school students. The event developed out of the desire of Upper School students to pass on the knowledge they acquired while attending national diversity conferences.

2014

The Diversity Awareness Lunch Forum is established to offer an opportunity for students and faculty to engage in courageous conversations that enrich our community and support our students. The goal is to create a diverse and inclusive school which consciously and deliberately strives to build an equitable and just community.

2015

We start sending 2–4 faculty members to the Diversity Leadership Institute each year, an intensive, weeklong program that provides tools to lead and manage becoming an inclusive learning community.

2016

The AMAZE program is implemented, which provides children with dolls, conversation, and high-quality literature that mirrors their own likes and dislikes, physical features, and home life. The program tools provide a window into differences such as family structure, socioeconomic status, or heritage change. 

2018

All Country Day faculty/staff partnered with the Community Building Initiative and local historian Tom Blanchett to learn deeply about Charlotte’s racial history through a city bus tour. Every newly hired employee has a similar experience as part of a two-year mentoring program.

2019

With the help of POCIS and dedicated Lower School teachers, Country Day begins its first affinity group for Lower School students, supporting third- and fourth-grade students of color.

2021

As part of a new Diversity Strategic Plan developed by the Board of Trustees, the Office of Diversity Planning, and the Senior Administrative Team, we add the position of Associate Director of Diversity Planning and Tianna Butler steps into the role to further support our DEIB efforts.

2021

The Middle School adds the South Asian Affinity Group (SAAG) to support students in grades 5-8.