Common questions and answers about diversity at SPA are below. Families are invited and encouraged to contact Karen Dye, Director of Intercultural Life, at any time with additional questions.
In 2017-18, the percentage of students who identified as students of color throughout all three divisions was 31%: 38% in the Lower School, 34% in the Middle School, and 25% in the Upper School.
According to the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS), of which SPA is a member, “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.” It is very difficult to determine exact percentages for many of these categories, but we do know that 31% of the SPA student body is African American, Asian American, Latino, Native American, and/or multiracial, which exceeds the NAIS national average of 29%. At SPA, however, the concept of diversity goes much deeper than numbers: the school embraces a climate and culture of pluralism and inclusion. We are committed to creating and maintaining a welcoming, safe, and inclusive environment for all our community members.
Yes. The school's most recent Diversity and Inclusion policy was adopted in 2017, and reads as follows:
In accordance with the Board of Trustees’ Resolution on Diversity (see below), St. Paul Academy and Summit School strives to support each student, and all members of the community, in their asserted identities by creating an environment where all are welcomed and valued. SPA believes that diversity is an asset that strengthens education by encouraging academic achievement, fostering the essential value of respect, developing the skill to learn from and about multiple perspectives, and preparing students to live and work in a global community. SPA requires a thoughtful commitment on the part of each member of the school’s community to contribute positively to this environment.
The safety and privacy of our students is of the highest priority. SPA’s policies on matters related to diversity reflect best practices in ensuring all students may participate fully in the community as their authentic self and may safely develop in their whole understanding of self. SPA is committed to the principles of diversity, and strictly prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, marital status, gender identity, disability, religion, sexual orientation, or any other identity.
Diversity in the educational and professional mission of the school may take many of the following valued forms:
1. The school will seek to achieve a diverse and inclusive community
2. The school is committed to employing a diverse and highly qualified faculty and staff
3. The climate and culture of the school are key ingredients to success
4. The academic program offered by the school should reflect a commitment to learning that seeks active engagement with diverse ideas and perspectives and seeks understanding across difference.
5. The activities and extra-curricular programs of the school should encourage inclusiveness
6. The school will regularly review and update policies to uphold the safety and privacy of its students
In 2006 SPA's Board of Trustees’ implemented the Board's Resolution on Diversity and the school’s Diversity Action Plan.
Yes. There are many ways for students to explore issues of diversity and difference outside of their coursework.
In the Upper School, many of the student-led clubs and organizations focus on issues of diversity, identity, and difference, including Intercultural Club, the Gender and Sexuality Acceptance club (GSA), the Student Political Union, Students for Social Justice, and the Service Learning Committee. Affinity groups for students of color in the Middle and Upper Schools also provide peer support and space for discussion and reflection.
The Director of Intercultural Life also works with students on leadership opportunities related to diversity. Students attend the NAIS Student Diversity Leadership Conference (held in conjunction with NAIS' People of Color Conference), help plan the annual Martin Luther King Jr. assembly, and participate in special programming throughout the year
- National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) People of Color Conference
- NAIS Student Diversity Leadership Conference
- Mixed Blood Theatre education program
- Young Women’s Issues Forum
- Independent Schools Association of the Central States (ISACS) Equity and Justice Committee
- Twin Cities Independent School Diversity Collaborative (TCISDC)
- Youth Thrive Peace Jam
- Global Youth Leadership Institute
- Colin Powell Leadership Academy
- Midwest Diversity Job Fair
- Nemnet Multicultural Recruitment Fairs
- Rainbow Families Conference and Resource Fair
- Give Us Wings
- Jeremiah Program
- Hallie Q. Brown Center
- Tolerance Minnesota
- Student diversity groups at other local independent schools