During the last accreditation review for Saint Francis in 2018, the E3 Visiting Committee recommended in the Educational Improvement Plan that Saint Francis High School “develop a program to expand the collective cultural competency for faculty, staff, program directors, administration and board in order to further expand the school’s cultural competency.” This recommendation was in line with the school’s own E.I.P. Goal #4 of providing an environment that is “physically, personally, spiritually and academically safe for all students.” Additional areas of improvement highlighted by the visiting committee include “devoting specific attention to the wellness and inclusivity of the Holy Cross Achievers students in the Saint Francis community” as well as increasing outreach to “under-represented Catholic populations of students.”
In response to this call to action, the Social Justice, Equity, and Inclusion (SJEI) Framework for Equity at Saint Francis was developed to provide direction for the school’s efforts towards ensuring cultural proficiency, inclusion, and equitable access in fulfillment of the school’s commitment to social justice as a Catholic, Holy Cross school. The framework highlighted eight core focus areas for SJEI work: student engagement, anti-bias curriculum, student support services, cultural proficiency, community partnership, recruitment and retention, data and analytics, and school leadership.
Since adoption of the Framework for Equity, the school has taken steps toward creating an equitable and accessible experience for all members of the school community. In year one, the school implemented student affinity groups, adopted an anti-bias skills grid and curricular goals, and committed specific time to cultural proficiency development. In year two, the school adopted an ethnic studies graduation requirement, implementation of restorative practices, and a review of hiring practices to attract and retain a diverse workforce.
“Social justice means loving people so much that I work to change structures that violate their dignity.”
-Fr. Peter Henriot, S.J.
The school has reaffirmed its commitment to Catholic social teaching and the founding principles of Holy Cross education as envisioned by Blessed Basil Moreau. Recent events have necessitated the acceleration of all SJEI initiatives, with a specific emphasis on the implementation of anti-bias curriculum, development of cultural proficiency, and adoption of equity-based hiring and business practices. The guiding aspiration of this work is to create an anti-oppressive school climate and structure.
This work is intended to be undertaken in partnership with educators, administrators, and the wider school community. It is imperative that we all take ownership of these objectives and hold ourselves accountable to do this work to create an anti-oppressive school climate and structure.
Focus Areas 2021-2022
Curriculum & Instruction
Equity in curriculum and instruction is implementing a system in which all students can achieve at their maximum potential. In this setting:
- all students will have equal access to all programs,
- outcomes are skills-based rather than grade-based,
- educators work to develop the interest students show for a subject, and
- leaders are supportive of efforts to build a school that meets the social, emotional, and academic needs of all students.
Grading & Assessment
Equity in grading and assessment is addressing (by changing or eliminating) policies, practices and mindset that contribute to gaps in student achievement areas to ensure that all students are able to master skills and standards in various subject areas, believe their grades are representative of their knowledge and abilities, and feel a sense of confidence in themselves as a learner.
School Discipline & Climate
Equity in school discipline and climate is creating a feeling of safety for all students to be who they are without ridicule or judgement. A safe environment ensures just outcomes for all students in all spaces, and sees and supports the full potential of all students.
Recruitment & Retention
Equity in recruitment and retention is providing current and prospective employees with what they need when they need it in order to thrive as educators. To that end, Saint Francis seeks to attract and retain a highly-qualified, diverse set of educators who:
- demonstrate a commitment to Holy Cross values and education,
- share our vision for equity and inclusion,
- best meet the needs of our student population and community, and represent our student population and community.