Global Garden Committee
The Global Garden Committee is the parent voice of Laurence School's Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion ("DEI") initiatives. With the participation of dozens of families, along with the school's administration, the committee reflects the commitment of Laurence School to develop students and a community that is truly diverse, equitable, and inclusive.
The Committee serves multiple functions at our school, including: contributing ideas to and providing a parent sounding board for curriculum development; helping to organize and support the Sister School Program; running our Global Perspectives Family Cultural Share Program; and organizing our annual Global Faire. Recently, the committee also started a Laurence Think Tank focused on DEI.
A couple of years ago, the Global Garden Committee and school administration began the committee's “Think Tank” meetings to provide a safe space for open conversation and discussion on issues around DEI. These discussions have been guided by parent attendance at conferences, school-wide parent education talks, and community reads.
Topics have included:
- Implicit Bias and Discrimination - Several parents and parent-Trustees attended Harvard-Westlake's 2018 Pollyanna Conference on this topic, along with members of Laurence's administration and faculty. Additionally, as part of a school-wide initiative, parents, faculty and staff read Whistling Vivaldi: How Stereotypes Affect Us & What We Can Do by Stanford Professor of Psychology Claude M. Steele, who also came to Laurence to speak about the concepts in his book during a March 2019 parent-faculty talk.
- Gender Biases - Several parents and parent-Trustees attended Harvard-Westlake's 2019 Pollyanna Conference on this topic, along with members of Laurence's administration and faculty.
- Identity - Alison Park of Blink Consulting, a non-profit created by educators to help schools critically rethink diversity, visited Laurence for the day to spend time with 5th and 6th grade students, faculty and staff, as well as parents. Her focus for these discussions was "Just Kidding! Conversations about Identity and Diversity."
Global Perspectives/FAMILY CULTURAL SHARES
Laurence parents (and grandparents) share highlights of their heritage and history with students in informative, fun presentations. Every year, there are four presentations in the library across all grade levels. The Global Garden Committee is also working to plan new ways incorporate more sharing within each grade level, as well as expand the types of presentations beyond ethnic and national identities.
Our annual Spring Open House includes an opportunity for the entire school to see the global education work done by the students, including the Sister School projects, as well as share exposure to various cultures. The Faire also includes our Global Tasting, where Laurence families bring a traditional dish, desert or drink from their culture to share with the whole school. The event also includes interactive opportunities for students, including a sari dress-up activity, piñata making, and a sushi-making booth. Fifth grade students also put on their annual Farmers' Market, proceeds from which go in part to benefit their sister school in Africa.