Equity and Diversity


A contin­u­ing commit­ment to equity and diver­sity is one of three ideals embraced within Waver­ly’s mission state­ment.

The aims of our work in equity and diver­sity are broad: 

The Waverly School is commit­ted to social justice educa­tion and thus seeks to provide all members of the commu­nity with the tools to recog­nize and speak out against acts of bias and the discrim­i­na­tory systems of power that produce struc­tural inequal­i­ties. The school is commit­ted to treat­ing indi­vid­u­als with dignity and provid­ing an envi­ron­ment where all members of the commu­nity can engage in dialogue, ques­tion, learn, and contribute fully. This commit­ment to full partic­i­pa­tion encour­ages commu­nity members to be self-reflec­­tive about their atti­tudes toward them­selves and others. An equi­table and diverse school commu­nity makes members better informed, more empa­thetic, and better prepared to effect posi­tive change in the world. To that end, Waverly fosters an envi­ron­ment in which indi­vid­ual differ­ences of race, ethnic­ity, biolog­i­cal sex, gender iden­tity, sexual orien­ta­tion, socioe­co­nomic circum­stance, national origin, immi­gra­tion status, ability and disabil­ity, phys­i­cal char­ac­ter­is­tics, reli­gious belief, and all aspects of iden­tity are acknowl­edged and celebrated.


In 2018, as part of its self-eval­u­a­tion for re-accred­i­ta­tion by the Cali­for­nia Asso­ci­a­tion of Inde­pen­dent Schools (CAIS), the school’s Diver­sity, Equity, and Inclu­sion (DEI) Commit­tee iden­ti­fied race as the initial area of focus; and address­ing white priv­i­lege and fragility as core areas for growth at the personal, inter­per­sonal, insti­tu­tional, and cultural levels. 

During the 2019 – 2020 year, faculty and staff partic­i­pated in numer­ous profes­sional devel­op­ment train­ings and multi­cul­tural work­shops includ­ing with Visions, Inc.; South­ern Cali­for­nia People of Color in Inde­pen­dent Schools (SoCal POCIS); The Inde­pen­dent School Alliance Confer­ence; The National Asso­ci­a­tion of Inde­pen­dent Schools People of Color Confer­ence (PoCC); and The Teach­ing Tolerance Institute. 

The work of the 2019 – 2020 DEI commit­tee focused on imple­ment­ing and facil­i­tat­ing faculty and staff affin­ity groups, centered around common read­ings and learn­ings. High school students also worked in affin­ity space. The elemen­tary school adopted the Teach­ing Toler­ance Social Justice Stan­dards. The board created a DEI sub-commit­tee, and the school contin­ued to hone the hiring process to further increase diver­sity in hiring. 

Messages from Heidi Johnson

October 9, 2020
In an update on Waver­ly’s equity and diver­sity work, the Head of School describes what the school commu­nity is doing together with several part­ners includ­ing Ismalis Nuñez, Chris­tine Saxman, and the Cali­for­nia Confer­ence for Equal­ity and Justice (CCEJ). A board member is orga­niz­ing the Waverly Parent Equity and Diver­sity Commit­tee, which will create affin­ity spaces for parents and hold space for multi­cul­tural dialogue. Elemen­tary teach­ers are incor­po­rat­ing race, ethnic­ity, and immi­gra­tion as aspects of iden­tity in their class themes; the middle school is reading This Book is Anti-Racist this fall; and the high school is launch­ing their Love and Justice program in addi­tion to devel­op­ing affin­ity space program­ming. Click here for full message (PDF).

August 14, 2020
The Head of School reports on the progress made during summer 2020 regard­ing our work to create a truly just and equi­table envi­ron­ment. The admin­is­tra­tion team commits to becom­ing fully respon­sive to the needs of all our students, with partic­u­lar atten­tion and dedi­ca­tion to our BIPOC students. It is our goal to create an insti­tu­tion that inhab­its justice in every form. Click here for full message (PDF).

July 12, 2020
The Head of School outlines the next steps the school is taking to disman­tle racism and other forms of oppres­sion within our school. The admin­is­tra­tion is taking the time to vigor­ously analyze the causes of our various fail­ures and find the best path forward. In consul­ta­tion with outside experts, the school will undergo a compre­hen­sive struc­tural assess­ment of our school climate and culture. Another step we will take right now is to thor­oughly revise our inci­dent proto­cols in order to consis­tently employ restora­tive justice strate­gies to address harms. Now is the time to take big, bold steps towards truly embody­ing and fulfill­ing our mission. As a school, we should model the processes neces­sary to disman­tle oppres­sive systems, to heal, and to rebuild. Click here for full message (PDF).

July 2, 2020
A letter from the Head of School address­ing systemic racism and the expe­ri­ences of current and former BIPOC students as posted anony­mously on Insta­gram. Their stories are encour­ag­ing deep personal and insti­tu­tional reflec­tion and an even greater commit­ment to making the school’s mission and equity and diver­sity state­ments true for all members of our commu­nity. The admin­is­tra­tion under­stands that the work of disman­tling systemic racism requires daily conscious effort by insti­tu­tions and indi­vid­u­als. We pledge to do that work, inspired by and for our students, now and in the future. Click here for full message (PDF).


Prior­i­ties and goals

Waverly’s goals are to: 1) build a school commu­nity that is rich in and support­ive of multi­ple aspects of iden­tity, and 2) estab­lish insti­tu­tional prac­tices that foster equity so that all members of the commu­nity may fully partic­i­pate and prosper at Waverly. 

Fully address­ing the above goals requires inten­sive, focussed work in build­ing commu­ni­ca­tions and collab­o­ra­tive processes, contin­ued, exten­sive profes­sional devel­op­ment and eval­u­a­tion, curricu­lum and co-curricu­lum devel­op­ment, admis­sions, commit­tee devel­op­ment, board partic­i­pa­tion and over­sight, and parent educa­tion and support.


To fully inhabit Waverly’s mission and ideals, all members of the school must be commit­ted to anti-racism taught within a multi­cul­tural frame­work that fully embraces all aspects of iden­tity. As Waverly seeks to be more diverse, the school must have support systems in place for students of color. An equi­table and diverse school commu­nity ensures that all students are fully engaged and supported, and makes all students better informed, more empa­thetic, and better prepared to effect posi­tive change in the world.

Progress and Timeline

2020 – 2021 school year

  • Working with the Cali­for­nia Confer­ence for Equity and Justice (CCEJ), we will undergo a compre­hen­sive struc­tural assess­ment of our school climate and culture begin­ning this fall. All members of the commu­nity will be invited to engage in this process, to partic­i­pate in cross-sectional groups, includ­ing those with students and adults. The find­ings of this process will inform our ongoing work. (More infor­ma­tion on CCEJ may be found at cacej​.org.)
  • We will work with CCEJ to empower students with restora­tive justice lead­er­ship train­ing in advo­cacy and empathy and to provide our faculty with values-based facil­i­ta­tion train­ing to ensure the sustain­abil­ity of these practices.
  • We have thor­oughly revised our inci­dent proto­cols to consis­tently employ restora­tive justice strate­gies to address harms. We are working with Mari­anne Frap­well, Senior Manager and Survivor Advo­cate for Project S.A.F.E. at Occi­den­tal College, to train admin­is­tra­tion in infus­ing trauma-informed and survivor-centered approaches into our policy and process. All faculty will receive instruc­tion and profes­sional devel­op­ment in trauma-informed practices. 
  • Robyn Park has joined Waverly as our social justice and well­ness teacher and coun­selor. Robyn’s partic­u­lar areas of signif­i­cant exper­tise will inform Waverly’s focus on build­ing compas­sion­ate affin­ity spaces and mean­ing­ful profes­sional devel­op­ment oppor­tu­ni­ties. Robyn will also work closely with teach­ers and admin­is­tra­tors to support high school students.
  • We are commit­ted to support­ing the mission of Raven Advo­cates, whose mandate will be center­ing student voices in matters of report­ing and resolv­ing community conflict.
  • We will be part­ner­ing with All Voices, an online plat­form that will allow employ­ees and parents to anony­mously provide feed­back to school lead­er­ship and engage in dialogue without reveal­ing their iden­ti­ties. After pilot­ing the program with adults in the commu­nity in coming months, the school will consider its possi­ble uses for anony­mous commu­ni­ca­tion between high school students and admin­is­tra­tion as well.
  • We are working with parents to create a parent DEI educa­tion commit­tee with the goal of offer­ing parent educa­tion events and launch­ing parent affin­ity groups for all who are interested. 
  • To achieve ongoing account­abil­ity and promote collab­o­ra­tive commu­nity involve­ment, we are commit­ted to imple­ment­ing the follow­ing measures. Once the parent group is estab­lished, we plan to call a council of the leaders of the faculty/​admin DEI efforts, the chairs of the board DEI commit­tee, the chairs of the parent DEI educa­tion commit­tee, and student leaders of the BIPOC affin­ity group and the white Anti-Racist affin­ity group. This council will meet three to four times a year to report out on actions and progress, share resources, and provide assis­tance to one another. The work of this council will be shared regu­larly with the entire Waverly community.

Commu­nity Learning

More infor­ma­tion to come.