Trinity’s Policy on Diversity
In seeking to reflect the kingdom of God, Trinity School encourages diversity in its student body, staff, faculty and community. The vision of diversity at Trinity is uniquely Christian and flows out of our mission. The image of a diverse Trinity community is scripturally based and is already implicit in each of the five core distinctives, mentioned below and described in the Expanded Mission Statement.
The Framework of Christian Faith
Diversity in the Trinity community enhances Christian faith and conviction in crucial ways. Exposure to diverse students, teachers and leaders can demonstrate to children that people can have a perspective that is thoroughly Christian and transcends differences. Diversity in the body of Christ is also essential for the cultivation of Christian character. Exposure to those who are different in race, ethnicity, physical ability, socioeconomics, religious traditions, talents, and learning style, serves to enhance the teaching of habits of fairness, humility, truthfulness, courage, compassion and interdependence.
Truth, Goodness and Beauty
Trinity strives to prepare students for benevolent engagement with the culture at large. Exposure to various cultures, life experiences, and perspectives serves to train young people to see goodness in the variety of God’s human creation and virtue in every culture, despite our universal fallenness. Such a perspective leads to a deeper and richer appreciation for beauty, an appreciation that has the full spectrum of color, rather than being monochromatic.
Classical Tools of Learning
Trinity’s philosophy is not focused on memorizing content, but rather on teaching students how to learn for themselves. Through the classical tools of learning, Trinity strives to encourage children to ask all kinds of questions, discuss ideas, and analyze concepts. All of these tasks require exposure to various points of view. A diverse student body brings a variety of thought and experience that stimulates students to think more critically. In this way, Trinity prepares students for engagement with today’s increasingly globalized society.
A Rich and Unhurried Curriculum
Our culture often embraces diversity in a superficial sense, promoting a vision of tolerance among autonomous individuals rather than reconciliation between people in communities. In contrast, the educational mission at Trinity emphasizes going deep rather than going broad. Time is taken to appreciate the richness of God’s gifts. We encourage relationships with ideas and deep discourse as opposed to the larger culture’s consumption of superficial experiences without meaning. In this same way, embracing diversity at Trinity is in alignment with its principles of dipping profoundly into a story and drinking of the greater meaning. We encourage going deeply into the narratives of various groups not merely for tolerance, but for true understanding and reconciliation and insight into how these stories fit into The Great Story. At Trinity, diversity has a distinctly Christian underpinning. We believe that embracing a diverse student body flows out of the framework of Christian faith and conviction. Living harmoniously within the body of Christ alongside those that are of various diverse backgrounds is implicit in the Christian mission and enhances the distinctives of our school.
Everybody’s Doing Diversity—But Not Like This
Parent News Article by
Head of School Chip Denton, 2009
Diversity is all the rage. Everybody’s doing it. This would seem to make Trinity School’s new Diversity Statement quite unremarkable. We might as well feature the school’s Personnel Handbook in the next issue of the Column. But Trinity’s Diversity Statement is remarkable, and we’ve enclosed a copy of the statement in this issue, so that you can see for yourself.
And while some may be yawning, others may be bristling. Some of us will be skeptical at the very mention of a diversity statement. “Everybody’s doing it” is not a particularly biblical slogan. Whatever happened to not conforming to the world? Read for yourself and see whether you think the school has managed to chart a vision for diversity which is distinctively Trinity—and Trinitarian. I think we have. This is Trinity at its best: Engaging the culture (If everybody’s talking about diversity, shouldn’t we have something to say about it?), but challenging it, too, by taking captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ (2 Cor. 10:5). The statement is a sort of exegesis of Trinity’s mission—the mission is dominant. We have not changed the school’s motto to “Truth, Goodness, Beauty, and Diversity.” Rather, we have asked ourselves, “If Truth, Goodness and Beauty are our transcendent vision, what does this mean for diversity at Trinity?” I hope that you will be as excited as we are by some of the answers this statement begins to imagine.
It is fitting that we should launch this statement in a year when we have dedicated ourselves to living out the biblical injunction to “show hospitality” (1 Peter 4:9). The hospitality of God is profound: in Christ we who were God’s enemies have been made sons and daughters. This journey from hostility to hospitality is a steep climb, impossible apart from the incarnation of God, and everything in our baser nature wants to go the other way. The stranger is one to be feared, not welcomed. He threatens my world, my peace, my comfort, my tidy worldview. If I open the front door and invite her in, what will this stranger bring? What will she ask of me? Will she take my silverware? Will she take, somehow, my very self away from me? Do these questions seem over the top? When we’ve asked our students to speak and write about these things, they sometimes reflect attitudes and fears which show that we have a lot of work to do in this area. The hospitality of God is a hard act to follow, but that is what 1 Peter 4:9 calls us to. It is that hospitality which this statement praises. “The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it,” but he opened his front door and invited us in, despite all the mud we track in and the fact that we are inclined to steal his candlesticks. And around the hearth of God we find people who are different from us in all sorts of ways. If the Lord has accepted them, how ought we to live? Our Upper Schoolers aren’t the only ones who need to ask themselves this question. This Diversity Statement is for us all.