Diversity & Inclusion at St. Martin's

As an Episcopal school, one of our fundamental tenets is inclusivity.  We believe that an inclusive community is one where every member feels a sense of belonging and can be their authentic selves.  Diversity and inclusion (D&I) are integral components of everyday life at St. Martin’s. Our mission, core values, and D&I work are rooted in our Episcopal identity, which calls us to seek and serve God in all persons, loving your neighbor as yourself.

As such, the Office of Diversity and Inclusion is committed to providing programming, training, curricular support, and leadership for the school community, allowing for a deeper connection to our Episcopal identity and our diversity and inclusion goals.

St. Martin's fully supports the reaffirmation statement on inclusion from the National Association of Episcopal Schools with our own SMES Diversity & Inclusion Mission Statement.

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  • D & I - In the Classroom

    We invite students of all backgrounds to be part of our community. In keeping with our Episcopal identity, we respect everyone, affirming not only their value as people--and as members of our community--but also the value of their diverse backgrounds, experiences, and beliefs. This creates a culture of dialogue in and out of the classroom and raises the level of discourse, helping to form citizens of the world who are culturally competent and can work collaboratively to address complex challenges. 

    Early Childhood
    Diversity and multicultural themes are incorporated into the early childhood curriculum through guidance classes, Weekly Reader (K), Clifford Magazine (Pre-K), author study, children’s literature, classroom books, posters, and dolls, representing our beautifully diverse world.  Within a safe learning community, our children are encouraged to ask questions and offer their answers, and these opportunities give children a sense of ownership of their learning experiences. 

    We utilize resources that cover themes like recognizing similarities and differences, belonging, and empathy.  Additionally, children learn about cultural and religious celebrations around the world and explore family traditions and values.

    Elementary School
    Students in elementary school continue to learn that valuing similarities and differences, respecting different perspectives, and practicing kindness and empathy are embedded in their everyday interactions with their teachers and peers. 

    Through their daily study in social studies, language arts, foreign language, the arts, and guidance, to name a few, students build critical thinking and problem-solving skills, cultural awareness, and compassion, as well as an understanding of who they are within a larger community.

    Middle School 
    Middle school students deepen their understanding of diversity and inclusion themes through their daily study in unique classes such as GULP (Guidance and Leadership) and co-curriculars Society and Self and Religion, for example.   In the core academic subjects, students continue to utilize their critical thinking skills as they examine the topics of social justice, inclusion, privilege, and power and interpret historical and current events.  

    Multicultural Book Nook
    Teacher/Student Resource
    The St. Martin’s Multicultural Book Nook is a shared instructional resource for all teachers. Here teachers can reserve books that are about everyone, for everyone. The nook has a full range of books, specially curated around social-emotional learning, cultural competency, and social justice in various reading levels to support read alouds, guided reading, and independent reading.
  • Faculty/Staff Professional Development

    Professional Development
    St. Martin’s faculty and staff are encouraged to attend conferences that further equip them to advance the mission of inclusion in their curricula, classrooms, and workspaces. These regularly include the White Privilege Conference, the People of Color Conference sponsored by the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS), and workshops and conferences offered by the Southern Association of Independent Schools (SAIS) and the National Association of Episcopal Schools (NAES).

    The Inclusivity Series
    The Inclusivity Series provides St. Martin’s faculty and staff with in-house diversity enrichment.  Each workshop allows faculty to explore topics in an ongoing additive developmental way to improve teaching and leadership practices through self-reflection and critical analysis.  

    Multicultural Education Committee (MEC)
    An internal committee, chaired by the Director of Diversity and Inclusion, meets regularly to discuss and review the policies and procedures that are in place to promote the principles of diversity, inclusion, equity, and social justice.

    Coaching All For Equity (CAFE)
    In the classroom, the CAFE Program provides 1:1 coaching sessions for Early Childhood, Elementary, and Middle School teachers to examine and enhance their curriculum using a lens informed by racial literacy, social justice, culturally responsive teaching, and equity.  
  • Parent Involvement

    Parent Group for Inclusion (PGI)
    The St. Martin’s Parent Group on Inclusion is an active multicultural group that provides a forum for St. Martin’s parents to explore equity and inclusivity topics. PGI offers parents a unique opportunity to focus on what they can do to teach their children and the school community how to value people—all aspects of people, including race, class, gender, religion, ability, and more. 

    Board Committee
    The St. Martin’s Board of Trustees formed a Diversity and Inclusion Committee that aims to support the school’s Diversity & Inclusion Mission Statement and support the school’s diversity and inclusion initiatives.

    St. Martin's Civic Dinners
    Civic Dinners are a way to bring people together around structured conversation.  With three big questions, community members gather and discuss an issue that matters to the community. In May 2021, St. Martin’s held its first virtual Civic Dinner on Belonging. Stay tuned for more information on future dinners.
  • Definitions & Terms

    The concept of diversity embraces the wide range of human characteristics used to mark or identify individual and group identities. These characteristics include, but are not limited to, ethnicity, race, national origin, age, personality, sexual orientation, gender, class, religion, ability, and linguistic preferences. 

    Cultural Competency
    The application of a defined set of values, principles, skills, attitudes, policies, and behaviors that enable individuals and groups to work effectively across cultures. Cultural competence is a developmental process (and continuum) that evolves over time. It is defined as having the capacity to (1) value diversity (2) conduct assessment of self (3) manage the dynamics of difference (4) acquire and apply cultural knowledge and (5) adapt to diversity and the cultural contexts of the communities in which one lives and works. 

    The practice of creating a culture that provides resources and opportunities for all members of our St. Martin’s community such that the experience of treatment is fair and reasonable while acknowledging historical, institutional, structural, and societal inequalities.

    The practice of providing opportunities for all St. Martin’s community members to experience a sense of belonging, connection, security, acceptance, and value. This practice encompasses all and taking every individual’s experience and identity into account, and creating conditions where all feel accepted, safe, empowered, supported, and affirmed.

    The presence of many distinctive cultures and the manifestation of cultural components (e.g., language, values, religion, race, communication styles, etc.) in a given setting. Multiculturalism promotes the understanding of, and respect for, cultural differences and celebrates them as a source of community strength.

    Social Justice

    Social justice means equal rights and equitable opportunities for all.

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  • Photo of Tiffany Russell

    Dr. Tiffany Russell 

    Director of Diversity & Inclusion
    Temple University - M.A.
    Georgia State University - Ph.D.
St. Martin’s Episcopal School is a private day school for students in preschool through grade 8, located in Atlanta, GA. We are dedicated to providing a quality education of the whole person in a loving, Christian atmosphere, which fosters lifelong learning.