Diversity, Equity, and Belonging

Our Mission and Vision

The SAS Mission and Vision speak of inclusivity, opportunity, voice, empowerment, and the health and well-being of each individual in our community. SAS strives to build a community of individuals and families from diverse socio-economic backgrounds, cultures, races, religions, and sexual orientations to prepare our students to live in and serve a diverse and multicultural society. Our goal is a truly inclusive school community that welcomes and supports all of its members. We believe that the work of inclusion is the responsibility of all members of our community.

 

At SAS, we interact with individuals, but we also interact with their cultures and their beliefs...There is no way we could possibly leave these interactions without being changed.”

Sophia Patterson ’19, Trinity University ‘23

 

At SAS, we are striving to make God’s dream a reality as an inclusive Christian community. We still have a lot of work to do, especially in the area of recruiting a faculty and Board of Trustees that better reflect the diversity of our student body. It is work to which we are committed.
KARL j. SJOLUND, HEAD OF SCHOOL

An Inclusive Christian Community

Since the beginning of our school’s history, our identity as an “inclusive Christian community” has remained central to our mission. We believe that Inclusion is more than just the tolerance of difference. Rather, the vibrant presence of differences in belief, gender, sexuality, faith tradition, race, ethnicity allows our community to grow more fully into what Desmond Tutu calls “God’s dream”: a community in which diversity is strength, where each child knows themselves as infinitely worthy and beloved of God, and where justice and forgiveness prevail over hatred and prejudice. As political divisions and systemic racism fray the bonds of our human family, we strive to make God’s dream a reality as an inclusive Christian community.  

...we need not be paralyzed by our past or our present. We are not slaves to fate but people of faith. That work of racial reconciliation and justice – what we know as Becoming Beloved Community – is happening across our Episcopal Church...and it is work that belongs to all of us.
The Most Rev. Michael Bruce Curry, Presiding Bishop and Primate of The Episcopal Church

Our Curriculum

As an educational institution, much of the important work that we do takes place in the classroom. This is where students are challenged to expand their knowledge and understanding of the world they have experienced, of the world they have not yet experienced, and of the possibilities for a better future. To that end, our curriculum includes a diverse collection of voices and our classroom discussions include the most contentious topics of our day. We believe that by helping students to explore these issues in a safe environment, we are helping them to formulate their own beliefs and encouraging them to continue to assimilate new information as they gain new experiences.  

Student Activities

DEB-themed Student Activities for 2021 include Diversity, Equity, and Belonging Movie Nights each month and SAS club and affinity group engagement. Movies showcased this year will be Moxie, Coco, Step Sisters, Soul, The Hate U Give, Love Simon, and Mulan (2020). Communication between the Asian Student Union (ASU), Black Student Union (BSU), and Gender & Sexualities Awareness (GSA) will allow students to participate in conversations that bring together groups with shared concerns regarding empowerment and fostering meaningful discussion of difficult topics. Clubs and affinity groups will have the opportunity to have books and reading lists specific to the shared interests of their club showcased in the library.

Creating a Safe Space for Difficult Conversations

Responding to concerns voiced by our students that we too often avoid difficult conversations surrounding DEI issues, study rooms in Agee Library have been designated as spaces for students, faculty, and staff to discuss current events, our shared history, and effect they have on members of our community.

SAS Librarian Katie Archambault and Admission Counselor and DEB Coordinator Jasmine Render '14 presented Bringing Your A Game to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion through Library Programming and Partnerships at the 2022 Association of Independent School Librarians Conference.

Special Events and Celebrations

All-school meetings, special events days, and Chapel provide additional opportunities for the SAS community to explore issues of diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice. Our 2022 Martin Luther King, Jr. Day celebrations kicked off with a special Compline service that included readings from members of our Black Student Union and all boarders viewing "Loving".  On Monday, students participated in teach-ins presented by faculty and alumni on “Folklore and the Harlem Renaissance," “Compiling and Mapping Tennessee’s Lynching History,” "MLK and Malcolm X: Changing Perspectives on Race, Violence, and Islam,” "Music and Race: The Legacy of Billie Holiday’s ‘Strange Fruit,’” and "A History of Racial Passing in America."

Just wanted to say how impressed I was with the MLK celebration. As native Atlantans, we hold King’s legacy in the highest esteem, and we are glad to see the intellectual and creative sophistication with which this celebration has engaged his legacy.

DR. Al-YASHA WILLIAMS, current parent and Spelman College PRofessor oF PHILOSOPHY AND RELIGIOUS STUDIES

DEB Coordinator

Jasmine Render

Jasmine Render

Class of 2014
Email:
Biography:

Jasmine Render ’14 returned to SAS in 2020 as an Admission Counselor and took on the role of DEB Coordinator in 2021. She is a graduate of University of West Georgia with a major in Mass Communications and a concentration in Digital Media and Telecommunications. As a student at UWG, Jasmine was a social media intern for the university and created a communications plan for the school’s most successful student-run music events. She was Promotions Director and an on-air personality for the university’s radio station and received several awards for her work. After graduation, Jazz ran her own freelance photography, graphic design, special events, and custom apparel business.  In 2022, Jazz took over the role as the Director of Marketing and Communications. 

Texts from the SAS Curriculum

Advanced Biology
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot

African American Literature
Jubilee by Margaret Walker
Passing by Nella Larsen
Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston
A Lesson Before Dying by Ernest Gaines

Ancient and Medieval Literature and Philosophy
Inanna 
The Popol Vuh
The Ramayana 
Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu 
The Pillow Book by Sei Shonagan

Contemporary British Literature 
The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro
Changing My Mind by Zadie Smith

Contemporary Modern Novel
Beloved by Toni Morrison
The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead

Global Literature
A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khalid Hosseini
Washington Black by Esi Edugyan
Othello by William Shakespeare

Grade 7 Advisory
Harbor Me by Jaqueline Woodson
Seedfolks by Paul Fleischman

Humanities 6
Kiss the Dust by Elizabeth Laird

Humanities 7
Same Sun Here by Silas House and Neela Vaswani
The Slave Dancer by Paula Fox
Lyddie by Katherine Paterson.

Humanities 8

Piecing Me Together, Renee Watson  They Called Us Enemy, George Takei For Every One, Jason Reynolds

History 10
Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe
Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi  

Literary Studies
A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry

Madness in Literature
A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams
Freshwater by Akwaeke Emezi 

Modern and Contemporary Literature and Philosophy
The Hours by Michael Cunningham
Ceremony by Leslie Marmon Silko
The History of Love by Nicole Krauss 

Place-Based American Studies
Ely: An Autobiography by Ely Green

U.S. History
March by John Lewis

Proud of Our Alumni