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Diversity, Equity, and Belonging

Meaningful Connections Forged in Belonging, Equity, and Inclusion

Diversity, equity, and belonging are foundational necessities for any school dedicated to providing a well-rounded education that prepares students to competently and confidently engage in diverse communities of all types. 

At Kents Hill, we strive to create an environment where all students feel free to be their authentic selves and know that the unique perspectives created by diversity in our abilities, ethnicities, genders, races, religions,  socio-economic classes, and sexual orientations (to name a few) add incredible value to our community. We also recognize that Kents Hill does not exist in a vacuum. Structural disparities, racism, and other forms of oppression affect our people and our community. Therefore, Kents Hill is committed to creating programs, implementing policies, and dedicating resources to address historic and systemic forms of injustice to create a climate of access, belonging, and achievement for all students. 

Aerial View of Kents Hill School in Fall
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Built on Belonging

Work surrounding diversity, equity, and belonging is not concrete; it is an ever-changing system that ebbs and flows with a constantly evolving global influence and landscape. It is the responsibility of each community member to engage in the work of building and maintaining a community where everyone belongs. Kents Hill has a Diversity, Equity, and Belonging Team (DEB) that serves as a coordinating hub and think tank for campus-wide efforts that increase our multicultural competence, facilitate change, encourage growth, and pave new pathways for future generations of a diverse and equitable community, bonded together with the common goal of embracing our motto, “one person of principle can always make a difference.”

Lajuan Davis

Lajuan Davis

Assistant Head of School for Student Life
MS Higher Education, Bay Path University
M.S., Higher Education Administration, Bay Path University
Brian Smith

Brian Smith

Director of Diversity, Equity, and Belonging and Social Studies Teacher, Social Studies Teacher, Boys Varsity Basketball Head Coach, Faculty Advisor for the Black Student Union and The GROUP
B.A., College of Wooster
NHS
Wooster
Shannon Keeney

Shannon Keeney

School Chaplain

Resources and Religious High Holidays

The following is not exhaustive—it is a partial list of the major Holy Days from fall 2021 to spring 2022, which are celebrated
by major religious communities. Contact the School Chaplain or the Director of Diversity, Equity, and Belonging if you find the
dates are not accurate or the calendar does not include an important date in your religious tradition.

Affinity Groups at Kents Hill

Affinity groups are safe spaces where students from historically underrepresented and marginalized identity groups can be their authentic selves without the fear of judgment, need to educate others, or explain the complexities of a community that does not have a critical mass of individuals from specific ability, class, gender, ethnic, cultural, religious, or racial backgrounds. 

“It is not our differences that divide us. It is our inability to recognize, accept, and celebrate those differences.” —Audre Lorde

Affinity groups are powerful tools for connection, engagement, and belonging within a community. At Kents Hill, students have created a number of affinity groups where they come together in celebration and in support of one another. Below is a list of affinity groups at Kents Hill. 

*Students interested in creating an identity-based affinity group should contact Erica Chute, Dean of Community Life, at echute@kentshill.org or Brian Smith, Director of Diversity, Equity, and Belonging, and bsmith@kentshill.org.

Common Terms and Definitions

An essential step in creating a community forged in belonging is to have a shared vocabulary that has resonance and meaning within the community.

Below are definitions for terms commonly used in diversity and equity work and how we make meaning of these concepts. Many of these terms and definitions come from the glossary of DEI concepts and Diversity Directions, a consultant group for independent schools. 
 

Self-Directed Learning

Equity and belonging must be woven into the fabric of Kents Hill, driving decision-making in all aspects of the institution including business decisions, pedagogy, and curriculum. In order to become a true community, Kents Hill must first do work on an individual basis. Below is a small sampling resource compiled by the Diversity, Equity, and Belonging Team to support faculty, parents, staff, students, trustees, and alumni explore and deepen their consciousness, competence,  and skills. This is a dynamic list that does not fully reflect the full diversity at Kents Hill. Contact Brian Smith, Director of Diversity, Equity, and Belonging at bsmith@kentshill.org to add resources to this list.