Tatnall Community Update

June 30, 2020
Dear Tatnall Community,

We are writing to you with an important update on the topics of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI).  For ninety years, the School has sought to offer a warm, caring environment in which students feel valued and known, but it is clear that we have not always met that promise for our Black students and other groups who have been marginalized. We must be a school community that is always inclusive and welcoming for all students. It is imperative to demonstrate that Black Lives Matter at Tatnall. Black children, families, alumni, educators, and employees are valued and essential members of our school community. Our mission to educate the total individual and promote authentic relationships implores us to this cause.

Over the past month, we have had numerous honest, and at times very raw, conversations with members of different constituencies; we are listening, learning, and evolving to meet the needs of our students, parents, faculty and staff, and alumni. As many of you are aware, late last week an Instagram account called Wilmington Private Schools Speak Up (@wilmpsspeaks), was created in which alumni and current students of Wilmington area private schools shared their experiences encountering racism and other forms of discrimination at our schools. Soon after its creation, we posted a message supporting this outlet for sharing. We continue to stand with anyone speaking out against systemic racism and seeking justice, and we embrace this opportunity to learn and grow as a school. We stand ready to listen - even to those stories that will be difficult to hear.  We are prepared to do the hard work that needs to be done, and we welcome your participation.  

Two years ago, Tatnall created the position of Director of Equity and Inclusion and appointed Marc Scott ’96 to fill this critical role. Under Mr. Scott’s committed leadership, the School has engaged in a variety of DEI activities, including raising faculty awareness with professional development focused on identity development, anti-bias and anti-racism, working to enhance our students’ affinity group experiences, and giving them the tools to address issues of equity at our school. Students have been exposed to various speakers, field trips, conversations, and conferences to develop their identity and agency. 

While these actions represented important first steps, we need to do better and more as a school to support our Black students and other students of color. In the Head of School search that was just completed, the Board stated a clear commitment to furthering the School’s institutional commitment to DEI. The Board remains steadfast to these objectives and has scheduled a special meeting in July devoted solely to DEI topics. Throughout the summer, school leadership will be actively examining our approach to a range of pertinent concerns, including hiring faculty of color, curriculum development, and school culture. 

In the first half of August, you will receive an update detailing our efforts over the summer as well as tangible DEI action steps the School plans to take in the upcoming school year and beyond. We welcome your thoughts, questions, and concerns. We may be reached at sdmarvin88@gmail.com and andymartire@tatnall.org, respectively. 

This holiday weekend, we encourage you and your family to reflect on what we all can do to make the central American ideals--life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness--a reality for all members of our nation. We thank you for your ongoing partnership and support and wish you a safe and peaceful summer. 
Sincerely yours,
Stephen D. Marvin '88
President Board of Trustees
 Andrew D. Martire, Ed.D.
Head of School