Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging
Mercy Montessori strives to strengthen our community and broaden our vision and understanding of living mercy and seeking justice to build a truly authentic and inclusive community. Guided by our Mercy mission, we deepen our understanding and appreciation of a diverse community and recognize the ongoing opportunities in listening to and learning from one another.
Our school strives to exemplify a microcosm of our greater society by enrolling a diverse student body. Our unique, income-based sliding tuition scale, commitment to diversity in our student body, and our focus on educating children with diverse abilities and learning differences support us in achieving this mission.
One of our school’s areas of focus is the Sisters of Mercy Critical Concern of Racism. Our goal is to educate all of our students to embrace others and to be advocates for issues of equity and social justice both within our walls and in our greater world.
This strategic plan is the culmination of more than 15 months of planning and work. We believe that the elements outlined in our DEIB Strategic Plan are necessary to support our educational team, our students, and our families. It is part of our mission to educate each child to become a contributing member of society.
This aligns with our school mission, Catholic identity, Sisters of Mercy Critical Concerns, and Montessori philosophy. This is detailed within the strategic plan.
It is our hope that this work will inspire awareness within our community, foster conversation, grow our understanding of various identities and experiences, and identify opportunities for advocacy.
DEIB Accomplishments 2022-2023
We are proud to present a snapshot of the many achievements our DEIB team has completed to date. This list includes 32 individual items across nine categories! We have incredible momentum and are excited to see this work continue to enhance inclusivity and belonging at Mercy.
Our committee first met in July of 2022. Their goal was to draft and refine our strategic plan. The committee will continue to meet monthly and will oversee the implementation of the strategic plan and provide reporting to our community.
- Kim Amrine*
- Nicole Bailey ('00)
- Amanda Buncher*
- Dena Cranley
- Kayla Ellison*
- Dana Harley
- Nicole Keith*
- Claire McKenna
- Marcus Mescher*
- Patty Normile*
- Elizabeth Pille ('06)
- Allison Reynolds-Berry
- Joy Robinson
- Allyse Sonnega*
- Tres Studer*
- Krista Taylor*
- Christy Vonderschmidt*
- Mary Ann Zerhusen*
*Appears in photo
We began our DEIB work in 2021, when our school focus was the Sisters of Mercy Critical Concern for Racism. We are currently in the process of implementing our strategic plan. Here are some important milestones:
2021-2022 School Year
- August 2021 - Staff participated in a year-long Intercultural Development Inventory (IDI) Training with Darlene Taylor to build cultural competence within our school. This program included personal assessments, one on one coaching for every member of the staff, and follow-up training sessions about bias, microaggressions, and privilege.
- October 2021- April 2022: A community book discussion group was formed and participants met to explore the book, So You Want To Talk About Race… by Ijeoma Oluo. The group was comprised of parents, staff, and Board Members and met in October, December, January, March, and April. At the first meeting, the group shared “Why I am Here” - and continued to work toward growth and awareness.
- March 2022 - Mercy partnered with Kim Amrine to serve as our fractional Chief Diversity Officer with over 15 years of experience in the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion field.
- March 2022 - Kim started her work as CDO through a series of listening sessions with staff, parents, students, and alumni.
- June 2022 - Kim presented her findings to Mercy’s Board of Directors.
2022-2023 School Year
- July 2022 - First Meeting of the DEIB Committee
- September 2022 - Mercy’s Board of Directors unanimously approve the DEIB strategic plan. This plan will be implemented during the 22-23 and 23-24 school years.
- October 2022 - Mercy staff participate in the Mercy Education Conference: Through the Lens of Mercy: An In-Depth Look at Racism.
- October 2022 - Strategic plan is introduced to the Mercy community.
- May 2023 - As part of the fulfillment of the strategic plan, Mercy hires Deaunna "Dee" Watson as our Director of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging.