Our Office of Equity and Inclusion recently hosted an Upper School field experience at the Frist Art Museum in downtown Nashville. Led by Director of Equity and Inclusion Dr. Michelle Arnold, Head of Upper School Josh Montgomery, and Upper School DEI Coordinator Myles Thrash, thirty-three Upper School students spent the day exploring South African-based artist Mary Sibande’s recently installed “Blue Purple Red” exhibit.
Equity & Inclusion
No matter where you come from, who you are, or what your background is, there is a place for you here. We believe our community is made better by perspectives from different races, ethnicities, genders, cultures, social classes, and lifestyles – and that all are equally important.
At BGA, we define diversity as a commitment to recognizing, respecting, and celebrating perspectives that differentiate us as individuals, as well as characteristics which make us similar. Elevating the model of equity and inclusion at Battle Ground Academy goes beyond simply preparing our students with the skills and empathy needed to be leaders and citizens of an increasingly diverse world. We believe it is essential to our mission and to the values we hold dear.
Nothing can stop the power of a committed and determined people to make a difference in our society. – Sen. John Lewis
Student Diversity Leadership Committee
Youth are playing a significant role in the civil rights movement sweeping the nation, and research shows that diversity and inclusion initiatives are most successful in schools where students feel as though they have license over the changes being made. In response, and in line with BGA’s strategic plan and our commitment to creating informed citizens, we formed a Student Diversity Leadership Committee. The diverse group of Upper School students were selected through a rigorous application process, and they work with Dr. Michelle Arnold in four distinct areas – community engagement, education/curriculum, student programming, and student and family support – to:
- Spread awareness and knowledge to students and faculty while acknowledging the nuances of identity and the intersections of race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity, socioeconomic status, ability, religion, and age.
- Create an inclusive culture at BGA.
- Connect underrepresented students with student leaders and the administration.
Over the summer, BGA faculty, staff, students -- and even some recent alumni -- attended the 2021 Tearing Down the Walls Conference for independent private schools. Throughout the conference, faculty and staff participated in interactive sessions on equity, antiracism, inclusion, and community, while students participated in their own program designed to identify and develop the qualities necessary to become leaders and bridge builders in any environment.
Recent BGA graduate Xavier Shaw ‘21 was awarded the Tom Murdic Educational Scholarship by the African American Heritage Society of Williamson County. The $1,000 scholarship was awarded to Xavier for his academic achievements, commitment to community service, and interest in African American history and heritage.