Equity and Inclusion

Berkeley Preparatory School’s mission includes a couple of key commitments: we are driven to provide the best possible environment for the education of each child in our charge, and we are dedicated to developing the morality, ethics, and sense of social responsibility of each student. As an Episcopal school, we respect the worth and dignity of each individual, believing that each person is a child of God and loved by God. We embrace the diversity that exists in the world and on our campus, and celebrate the many varied traditions, religious and cultural, that our families hold dear.

We are proud of the work we have done to make ours a place of diversity, equity, and inclusion. Thirty-seven percent of Berkeley students come from families who self-identify as people of color. This represents a 103% increase over the number of Black or multiracial students enrolled 10 years prior. As we have become more diverse, we’ve worked hard to support our students of color, and in the wake of the murder of George Floyd and subsequent worldwide tumult, we embarked upon a close examination of our curriculum, programming, hiring practices, and much else, in order to determine how we might be an even more welcoming school to all students and families, including our Black and multiracial families.

The list of the many initiatives we have undertaken includes, but is not limited to:
  • an overhaul of the grade 9 World History curriculum – replacing some portion of the study of European History in favor of a curriculum that explores Africa, Asia, and South America to a much greater extent
  • the installation of even more book titles by people of color from a variety of backgrounds and ethnicities into the English curriculum in both Middle and Upper Divisions, so that all students are considering multiple perspectives as they go through a Berkeley education
  • the creation of English semester electives, including one titled “Hyphenated America” that will focus exclusively on multi-cultural literature and studies
  • the booking of diversity speakers on topics related to diversity, equity, and inclusion for the Middle and Upper Division students, and all faculty.
  • the creation of a seminar series, and open forums, for each grade level in the Upper Division that allows for ongoing examination and discussion of contemporary societal issues
  • training for the school’s academic leadership in August (presented by the Education Advisory Board) on fostering civil discourse; training was then brought to all faculty via these leaders
  • changes to the Lower Division social studies curriculum, including the elimination of social studies units that propagate stereotypes, including some regarding Native Americans, and the securing of many additional library titles featuring characters and authors of color
  • the development of a program, based on the principles of restorative justice, to be utilized for any incident of racism that warrants a response shy of expulsion. Recognizing that children make mistakes and that we must provide opportunity for redemption and growth, students violating our expectations who are not expelled will be compelled to engage in a program designed to foster a significant learning outcome for the offender
  • plans for a ‘safe space’ so that students experiencing racism, sexism, homophobia, or any other form of disrespect can feel more free to report those incidents
  • professional development for teachers to grow skills in facilitating diversity-related conversations
  • an examination of discipline practices to confirm the equitable treatment of students
  • Middle Division’s advisory includes parts of Rosalind Wiseman’s “Owning Up” curriculum into Middle Division’s advisory lessons. The curriculum is designed to empower sixth, seventh, and eighth grade students to create a culture of dignity and confront social cruelty and injustice.
  • Middle Division faculty discuss “The Danger of a Single Story” and have time to be reflective of their own story and how it impacts their teaching. Listening to others’ stories makes classes richer and more rewarding.
The above will enhance the good work we already do, which includes, but is not limited to:
  • our position as an Episcopal school: we respect the worth and dignity of each individual, and embrace and celebrate the full range of diversity within the community
  • our core expectations for kindness and respect among and between all community members, and our very high standards for student conduct
  • the $4 million the school spends on financial aid per year so as to diversify the community socio-economically
  • the fact that 100% of alumni annual giving (unless otherwise directed by the donor) goes to the Alumni Endowed Scholarship Fund and ancillary aid for scholarship students
  • the work of the Upper Division Diversity Program Team, which presents student-generated programming each year
  • our recruiting efforts in admissions, which have significantly grown the number of Black and multiracial students within our community over the last decade, and should continue to over time
  • the sponsoring of at least six students and multiple faculty each year, so they may attend the National Association of Independent School’s Student Diversity Leadership Conference and People of Color Conference (a conference Berkeley hosted in 2015)
  • the work of our Transition Counselor and Director of the Berkeley Bridge program, helping students from underserved public-school backgrounds transition well to Berkeley
  • the curriculum of the Middle Division Advisory program, which promotes acceptance and inclusion as core tenets
  • our intentional work in recruiting employees of color, the number of which has increased 29% in nine years
  • our community outreach and community service work that has all Berkeley students interacting authentically with and serving underserved people, including people of color, throughout Tampa Bay, as well as in the Dominican Republic, the Bahamas, and elsewhere across the globe
  • current social studies curriculum and programming that has students considering multiple perspectives, viewing issues through multiple lenses, and studying many areas of the world. Current courses include Civil Rights, Honors Contemporary History, Contemporary Global Issues (which covers areas including sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia, and Southeast Asia)
  • regular Convocation programming led by the Chaplain celebrating religious diversity within the community
  • the work of the Berkeley Academy, which serves nearly 250 students from local public schools and the Redlands Christian Migrant Association (participants must be on free/reduced lunch programs to apply). The Berkeley Academy has benefitted from the work of hundreds of Berkeley Preparatory School students over time, who equally have benefitted from their work in the program
  • the opportunity we offer each student to thrive.

For information about the school’s Middle and Upper Division English curriculum regarding authors of color, click here.
Founded in 1960, Berkeley is an independent, Episcopal, college-preparatory day school located in Tampa, FL, for boys and girls in grades Pre-Kindergarten through 12. Approximately 1,400 students gather here from the greater Tampa Bay area to form ONE Berkeley.