Minority Families

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Student Experience

Black Student Union

Listening to our students and responding to the need.

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At De Smet Jesuit we

Support Families

Welcoming parents and guardians to our Mothers' Club, Men's Club, and De Smet African-American Parents Council.

African-American
Parents Council

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Full-time

Director of Diversity and Inclusion

Committed to our students, faculty and staff, parents and community.

Contact Ms. Martinez

Coming from 60+ zip codes, our diverse student body enriches the De Smet Jesuit community.

Our students come from a myriad of backgrounds, cultures, abilities, and faith journeys. Part of our Jesuit tradition and mission calls us to care for the individual, cura personalis, which means we strive to meet the needs of each student.

The presence of a full-time Director of Diversity and Inclusion at a school signifies an internal and external commitment to creating equitable practices within the community and follows the National Association of Independent School’s “Principles of Good Practice for Equity and Justice.

 

How we support student diversity

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.

Catalina Martinez

Catalina Martinez

Director of Diversity & Inclusion