At this years’s final Transformation, Diversity and Inclusivity sub-committee meeting, a good deal of time was spent reporting back on the encouraging progress that has been made against a number of key measurements as set out in the 10 Point Transformation and Diversity Roadmap Plan.
In general it was felt that the important progress that has been made has forged some real traction along what has been an exciting chapter on our TDI journey. The Roadmap / Plan has been included as an addendum to this newsletter in order to help to refresh your understanding of the key drivers to which we have committed.
Our Ridge Diversity Dashboard reflects how the numbers are measuring up. This is specifically interrogated and reviewed at least twice a year by the Board and TDI sub-committee.The dashboard indicators tabulate an easy to compare record of growth and progress made from enrolment, staff complement, annual fees, academics, extra-murals and related achievements. For the purpose of this newsletter, I have extracted the figures pertaining particularly to diversity.
The tables below will give parents an idea of diversity progress made during the past nine years:
Diversity of Boys:
Diversity of Academic Staff:
This story is a record of our growth in diversity, purely through numbers; there is, of course, a critical additional transformation story to tell. If truly transforming and therefore meaningful, this experience needs to be deeply and sincerely felt by all who belong to the family of a school like The Ridge. What is required is a purposeful shifting of cultural norms and values by all at The Ridge who either inspire, drive or are on the receiving end of diversity practices.
It is appropriate, in this context then, to share some of the Transformation, Diversity and Inclusion initiatives of the past eleven months. Some of the more prominent ones are highlighted separately below.
Looking at next year on the Transformation, Diversity and Inclusion fronts, the three targeted priorities as selected off the Roadmap Plan remain:
- Language Policy
- Institutional and Subliminal Racism
- Procurement Processes
In addition, we will be linking up with the Heartlines organisation as they explore with boys and staff the excitement of story-telling in their programme,What’s Your Story?
What’s Your Story is an approach to building understanding, cohesion and community in schools. It has been developed by Heartlines, a social change organization that encourages people to live out positive values.
What’s Your Story, promotes social cohesion through the power of sharing personal stories in order to build understanding, empathy and trust. In so doing, they will seek to also address racism, prejudice, discrimination and difference.
What’s Your Story aims to teach people the skill to implement WYS in their everyday lives, through a simple methodology they call: ask, listen, tell, go beyond.
The Heartlines What’s Your Story initiative has been successfully implemented in businesses and churches throughout the country, and they are now in the process of developing a set of resources for schools. The idea is to create a flexible set of materials and tools to use across a variety of age groups and in different learning contexts within the school environment..
The proposed outcomes for What’s Your Story in schools are that learners learn:
- A new skill to use for the rest of their lives, namely the skill of asking and listening to other people’s stories.
- To record their own story and use the experience to build self-awareness
- Better team work and collaboration by building empathy and understanding among each other.
A Final Word – ‘Lest we Forget’:
On Friday 9 November The Ridge boys, staff and many parents joined the national and international chorus of remembrance, as people and organisations around the world made time to pay their respects to so many millions who have given their lives in the interests of freedom, peace and justice.
Our Remembrance Day Service was poignantly led by our Grade 7 boys. Given that it was the 100thanniversary of the signing of the Armistice on the 11thNovember 1918, the service provided for a particularly significant and moving occasion for all involved. We were delighted, too, to have retired Major General Yekelo from the SADF as our Guest of Honour.
It struck me again that, no matter the passing of time, and the years that may serve to dull the memories, it is, incumbent on us all and, on every successive generation, to find time to pay our respects and to remember the ultimate sacrifices made by so many in the Great War, the 2nd World War, myriad other fields of battle and countless conflicts through the ages.
This annual Parade of Heroes in honour of the fallen must never be allowed to take on an insincerity that a retreat towards a semblance of duty could encourage it to become.
With best wishes