Diversity & Inclusion
Since its founding, Cary Academy has strived to create a diverse and inclusive community. Research supports the positive impact that diversity has on a learning environment. As students are exposed to a variety of perspectives, they are challenged to think more deeply and broaden their views of the world around them.
Diversity Mission Statement
Cary Academy fosters a learning community where the richness of diversity is recognized, respected, and embraced. Our view in diversity includes, but is not limited to ability, age, appearance, gender, national origin, personal qualities, race, religion, sexual orientation, and socioeconomic status. Our vision is to nurture and sustain an inclusive environment where everyone is valued.
You will find our commitment to diversity goes well beyond just our Board endorsed non-discrimination policy and the school's vision statement.
As part of the school's strategic planning process, we developed eight "We Believe" statements that anchored our thoughts about learning, including:
- We believe the most impactful learning occurs where people, disciplines, and ideas connect to address human and community needs, and
- We believe inclusive environments create a secure and affirming culture that enables both the individual and the community to flourish.
In addition, the school's Employee Culture Profile addressed diversity within its eight core tenants, including:
- We are embracing: recognizing, respecting, and celebrating the unique array of experiences, perspectives, and contributions that each person brings to our community and understanding that the diversity of our voices is the wellspring of creativity and new possibilities.
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, is the school's Statement of Community Values, which was developed by Upper School students: We treat each other with respect, integrity, and compassion.
We are proud that our environment continues to attract students and faculty from a wide variety of backgrounds, making us one of the most diverse independent schools in the South. Here are just a few of the highlights:
- Our student body is comprised of 43% students of color.
- Faculty of color make up 23% of our teaching staff.
- The school awards more than $1.5 million in need-based financial aid each year, with awards ranging between $1,000 to full tuition.
Of course, numbers don't tell the full story.
At Cary Academy, we work purposefully in our programs, policies, and practices to create an inclusive learning environment. This work is supported within our Center for Community Engagement, which brings together the important areas of service learning, experiential learning, social entrepreneurship, and diversity and inclusion to build powerful new opportunities for our community.
Our inclusive environment is supported through efforts by all of our faculty, and in particular through activities that take place in our advisory programming in both the Middle and Upper Schools, such as the hurtful and harmful language in the 7th grade. Most recently, many employees have participated in the Seeking Educational Equity and Diversity project (SEED).
In addition, we have a number of active groups and activities that sponsor speakers and events to educate, reflect, challenge, and celebrate.
In our Upper School, this work is lead by a Chief Student Diversity Officer and club leaders from a dozen affinity groups (not including the three in the MS). Some recent examples of the activities supported by these groups include:
- Hosting the Triangle Diversity Alliance
- Sponsoring events such as the Diversity Art Project
- Screening of movies such as 50/50
- Hosting speakers on global competency
- Running workshops on white privilege, affirmative action, and the silent movement
- Connecting Cary Academy with national events such as the National Day of Prayer, MLK Day, or the Day of Silence (in support of LGBTQ students and allies)
- Celebrating with members of the community through a Holi Celebration or Easter Egg Hunt
- Giving out a "Courage Award" to members in the North Carolina community who have demonstrated unwavering courage in their efforts to promote diversity, multiculturalism, equity, and justice.
In addition to the many student-initiated events, the PTAA sponsors a Diversity Committee, which hosts fun and educational activities throughout the year.
Our most recent all-school efforts have concentrated on developing skills for constructive conversation. This work has been supported by Essential Partners out of Cambridge, MA. We utilized these skills shortly after the Parkland school shooting to process our feelings about school violence. Coming work will involve bridging the political divides that have fractured our ability to empathize and listen to others with different perspectives.