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Diversity & Inclusion

long line of students hold hands across the football field

To be just, it is not enough to refrain from injustice. One must go further and refuse to play its game, substituting love for self-interest as the driving force of society. Fr. Pedro Arrupe, S.J.

Diversity, equity, inclusionOur Jesuit mission calls us to action, and at De Smet Jesuit, we actively engage in our faith through our commitment to social justice.

What does this look like at our school? We start with our students. Our students come from 65 zip codes as well as several countries from around the world. We offer various affinity groups, a Learning Center for students with learning disabilities, and school-wide events that celebrate and honor the diversity present at our school. De Smet Jesuit remains committed to financial aid and equitable admissions practices, and our faculty and staff participate in ongoing training and professional development in equity and inclusion topics.

Under the expertise and guidance of our full-time Director of Diversity and Inclusion, who is a member of the Leadership Team, we partner with nonprofit organizations committed to social justice as well as our parents and alumni who contribute significantly to this critical dialogue. We actively engage in community conversations around specific local and national events, and we continue to rely on our faith, daily prayer, and the Jesuit call to be men and women for and with others.

A Place To Belong

Row of white and black students with arms raised standing in front of a  man at a podium onstage.
Black man stands onstage pointing at the audience while speaking.
large group of parents and students smiling in innovation center
DAAP/BSU Family Night 2019 - woman writing on paper and other woman watches and smiles
DAAP/BSU Family Night 2019 three women smiling holding De Smet Jesuit bags
DAAP/BSU Family Night 2019 - 6 students smile while sitting at table
four women in hispanic dress and two men wearing hats and playing drums
8 students in hoodies and jackets in front of White House
Large group of African-American students standing and seated in a classroom, smiling for the camera.
School Events
Black History Month Assembly and Events February
International Women's Month March
Culturefest Spring
Workshops and Conferences Ongoing

 

AFFINITY/INTEREST GROUPS 
Black Student Union
Multicultural Awareness Club
Social Justice Club
Young Democrats Club
Young Republicans Club

 

A Place To Build Community

teachers in pews at Mass with light shining on cross

Faculty and Staff Development

De Smet Jesuit administrators and teachers are committed to ongoing professional development including specifically in the area of diversity and inclusion.

  • Culturally Relevant Teaching Strategies
  • Civil Discourse in the Classroom
  • Male Privilege and Sexism
  • Systems of Oppression and Taking Action
  • Courageous Conversations Team
  • The What and the Why of Diversity Work at DSJ
three women smiling behind table in front of yellow wall

Partnerships With Non-Profits

Students, teachers, and administrators collaborate with our community partners.

  • Diversity Awareness Partnership's "Give Respect, Get Respect Program"
  • FOCUS STL's Youth Leadership Program
  • Ignatian Solidarity Network's Annual Teach in for Justice and Student Advocacy in Washington, DC
  • National Association of Independent School's People of Color Conference
  • Archdiocese of St. Louis
  • Anti-Defamation League
  • NCCJ St. Louis
  • Overcoming Racism LLC
  • Cultural Leadership St. Louis
  • Educators for Social Justice
DAAP/BSU Family Night 2019 three women smiling holding De Smet Jesuit bags

Engaged Parents and Alumni

Parents stay connected with our Director of Diversity and Inclusion and active in our community.

DAAP

  • Alumni Diversity Council
  • De Smet African-American Parent Council

DAAP Webpage

Catalina Martinez

Catalina Martinez

Director of Diversity & Inclusion

Frequently Asked Questions

In a 2017 student poll, our Hispanic students responded that (as compared with other student groups):

  • They feel more enthusiastic about their studies.
  • They feel more pride in belonging to our community.
  • They feel their teachers support them not only as students but also as individuals.
  • Given the opportunity, they would choose De Smet Jesuit again as their high school.

At De Smet Jesuit, we have the model of student clubs and organizations that have their own homeroom (i.e., Campus Ministry, President’s Ambassadors, and Student Council) as a way to promote brotherhood within the group and to be able to have more meeting time.

After gauging student interest, we decided to create a BSU homeroom so that our black students could have the choice of beginning their day in a comfortable space surrounded by people who looked like them and faced similar issues as a minority in a predominantly white school.

Students tell us why they signed up for the BSU Homeroom:

  • “I wanted to be around more black students.”
  • “So that I could be around people like me more often.”
  • “I wanted to be more involved in the BSU.”
  • “To be in an environment where I feel more comfortable.”

Our student data showed that our black students were experiencing lower feelings of satisfaction, enthusiasm, and pride toward their school as compared to other racial groups. We believe that an affinity group is a way to provide some needed support. An affinity group is a term used as a bringing together of people who have an identifier in common, e.g., race, gender, religion, family status, etc. Affinity groups are for individuals who identify as members of the group and can speak to the experience of being a member of the group from the “I” perspective. Affinity group spaces are designed for people to develop and strengthen their own racial/ethnic/group identity rather than as a time to learn about others.

While initially it may seem counter-intuitive at a school that is promoting inclusiveness and brotherhood, it is in reality an important piece of this work. It is important to recognize that different groups within De Smet Jesuit may need room to find fellowship and kindred spirits to continue to fuel their drive to be active members of our community.

  • To connect with other black families and find kinship and support.
  • To better support Black Student Union (BSU) initiatives.
  • To promote the participation of black families in De Smet Jesuit events.
  • To connect with new and prospective black families and address any concerns they may have.

The primary goals of affinity groups are to offer a safe space to discuss experiences of identity, create group solidarity, build resilience, increase confidence and engagement, and provide empowerment toward action and leadership. Many schools and organizations are starting to see the importance of such spaces; De Smet Jesuit is one of them.