Coed, independent, PK3-12th grade school in St. Petersburg, Florida.

Actionable Steps towards a more Inclusive Community

by Roderick Avery Fludd, Director of Diversity and Inclusion
Dear Shorecrest Community,

Our recent communication about the school’s efforts towards a more inclusive community has sparked an important conversation about the actionable steps that Shorecrest is taking to achieve that goal. We have been listening to our alumni and their experiences, and this communication is just a start of an ongoing dialogue we would like to have with you.

The current social climate has stirred feelings and stories from our community members that indicate our imperfect past as an institution. 

We are committed to examining our past and present as we work toward a more inclusive future. Promoting Diversity, Equity and Inclusion is one of the 5 strategic priorities of the 2020 Strategic Plan, published in 2015. We seek to provide an environment that embraces and celebrates differences and feels like home to all. 

In the classroom, the school’s PK-12 curriculum includes multicultural and social justice threads schoolwide, evidenced in the books children read, projects they complete, guest speakers we welcome, and more (many examples of which are on our website.) The Upper School course offerings have greatly expanded to include Equity and Social Justice in America, Reading Toni Morrison, Ethical Decision Making, Critical Approaches to Literature, Introduction to Women’s Studies, Global Studies, American Migrations, and Uncommon Civics. Upper School students also have an opportunity to earn a Global Scholars endorsement which encourages students to accept the challenges of global citizenship. Through the study of world cultures and the acquisition of advanced language skills, participants in the program gain an appreciation for the significance of human choices upon the planet and all of its inhabitants.

With my position as Director of Diversity and Inclusion added in 2017, Shorecrest is now home to affinity groups for students, parents/guardians and faculty/staff from underrepresented populations. Some examples include the Black Student Union, LGBTQ+ Families Group, and International Connection groups. 

I have established cultural competency training for our students, personnel, trustees and parents as we work toward building a community reflective of the world in which we live. SEED, Seeking Educational Equity and Diversity National Project on Inclusive Curriculum, was developed and launched at the Wellesley College Center for Women in 1987. It is the nation's largest peer-led leadership organization through which participants develop ways of understanding complex relations between self and systems with regard to race, class, gender, sexual orientation, physical ability/disability, and other cultural experiences. I would love to take this time to invite all of our alumni to join a formal, year long, virtual SEED session. We would meet once per month (6 - 8pm on the second Tuesday) via Zoom. There will be assignments for the participants throughout the year in the form of self reflective journaling and open discussions of readings, topic related videos, and survey or investigation activities. To sign up, please fill out this form.

The school, along with two generous donors have established Prep-to-Prep Scholarships for students who have matriculated from Academy Prep School, which covers tuition, fees and other needs. The Board of Trustees has also established and supports financial aid designated for underrepresented families interested in their child attending Shorecrest. 

We have and will continue to welcome all candidates for admission or employment regardless of age, race, culture, gender, sexual orientation, religion, socioeconomic status, national or ethnic origin. Currently, our student body includes 20% students of color and families that represent 65 different countries. For reporting of ethnicity, we follow the National Association of Independent Schools definition of students of color. These are persons who identify in a non-European ethnic group (Black/African American, Latinx/Hispanic, Asian, Native American, Middle Eastern, Native Hawaiian/Other Pacific Islander and Two or More Races). It is important to note that this data is self-reported and is not mandatory. On the Shorecrest application, ethnicity is an optional question. If our families do not answer it, we do not populate the information. For the 2019-2020 school year, our student body self-identified as 32 Black/African Americans, 65 Latinx/Hispanics, 41 Asians, 2 Native Americans, 7 Middle Easterners, and 82 Two or More Races.

We actively recruit and seek the best and brightest faculty to educate our students. We prioritize diversity in hiring by including at least one diverse candidate in each search. In the 2019-2020 school year, Shorecrest faculty included 10 African American teachers, 4 of whom are part of the Upper School. This does not include additional people of color that support the school in college counseling, athletics, service learning and administration. We have made significant progress in recent years in the diversity of our senior leadership, faculty, staff and student body, but there is more to be done. 

To quote Alumna and Shorecrest Third Grade faculty member, Khana Rebman ‘05, “I’m fortunate to be a part of a community that values doing the work. In order for all of our children's futures to be bright, it takes all of us to help create this monumental shift. We must stay vigilant against resorting to former versions of ourselves.”

We continue to aspire to be a more diverse community in which all individuals can flourish equally. I look forward to continuing these conversations and welcome you to contact me directly at rfludd@shorecrest.org.

Roderick Avery Fludd
Director of Diversity and Inclusion
Shorecrest Preparatory School

Shorecrest Preparatory School

5101 First Street Northeast
St Petersburg, FL 33703
Phone: (727) 522-2111  |  Fax: (727) 527-4191
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Shorecrest Preparatory School is a private, non-sectarian, coeducational, college preparatory day school for students preschool through high school, located in St. Petersburg, Florida.