Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
Founded in 1951, Heathwood Hall was the first independent school in the Midlands to embrace diversity in its mission and operating philosophy. Heathwood is committed to respecting the dignity of all human beings. We believe an inclusive school community is essential to providing a rich learning environment for all children. We stand committed to creating a school community that exemplifies diversity and inclusiveness in its educational philosophy, curriculum, policies, and practices. Our approach to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion is multi-pronged and includes commitments to robust student programming, ongoing professional development, thoughtful curriculum review to ensure exposure to a variety of perspectives, and the pursuit of an increasingly diverse faculty and staff.
As we prepare our students to claim their place as leaders in the 21st century, it is essential that their intellectual engagement occur in a multicultural environment. Consistent experiences with differing perspectives of our larger society, while leaning firmly into that which can be a source of discomfort, will prepare our graduates to thrive as culturally competent individuals in a multicultural world.
Heathwood Hall admits qualified students of any race, color, gender, sexual orientation, nationality, or ethnic origin. All students have the rights, privileges, programs, and activities generally accorded and made available to students at the school. Heathwood does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, gender, sexual orientation, nationality, or ethnic origin in the administration of educational policies, admissions policies, financial aid programs, and athletic and other school-administered programs.
The goal of student programming is to provide support while preparing kids for a more global and interconnected world. Here are some of the ways in which Heathwood Hall promotes inclusion and awareness of diversity issues in our community:
A.C.C.E.P.T. Club – Ambassadors Celebrating Cultures and Embracing Pluralism & Togetherness
- Students in Upper, Middle, and Lower school are provided an opportunity to engage in age appropriate dialogue designed to foster an environment of awareness, respect, and appreciation of others.
- Our goal is to create acceptance and inclusivity by embracing and celebrating both our differences and our commonalities.
Affinity Groups - Affinity Groups are available to our Upper School students, who may join any group with which they identify. These groups are designed to be safe spaces for students to learn more about their various identities and to discuss their questions, comments, and concerns with other students who share that same identity. Affinity groups meet once a month and are led by students and faculty who also identify the same way.
Leadership Conferences & Workshops – More than 75 Heathwood Hall students have participated in local, regional, and national conferences and workshops in recent years. Moreover, Heathwood students are afforded the opportunity to participate in the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) Student Diversity Leadership Conference (SDLC). SDLC is a multi-racial, multi-cultural gathering of high school students that encourages self-reflection and community building through group discussions and other activities.
National Mix It Up Day – National Mix It Up Day is designed to help build community and promote civility by encouraging students to eat lunch with those they do not normally eat with. Research shows that students throughout the U.S. consistently identify the "cafeteria" as the setting in their schools where social boundaries are most clearly drawn. Each year, Heathwood students are afforded the opportunity to cross boundaries during lunch and engage in fun, intriguing conversation with peers they do not typically eat with.
Winterim - Each year Heathwood Hall Upper School students participate in a week long Winterim experience in early March. Winterim is an opportunity for students to pursue an interest that broadens their educational experience. The curriculum focuses on five main areas: academic and cultural enrichment, leadership, service, wilderness education, and internships.
Winterim experiences are local, national, and international. Internships in the Columbia area, U.S. college tours, and service projects in villages across the globe are just some of the opportunities offered to Upper School Students every year. Recent international Winterim experiences have provided Heathwood students the opportunity to work with locals in a remote village in the Andes mountains of Peru, engage in a cultural exchange with students in Costa Rica, work with farmers in Kenya and participate in home stays with students in Germany.
Speakers And Consultants
Each year guest speakers and consultants visit our campus and work with our students in various settings. The purpose of our speaker series is to provide inspiration, knowledge, and awareness that will help our students grow intellectually, socially, and emotionally.
Some of the speakers and consultants who have worked with us in recent years include:
- Charles Bolden – NASA Astronaut (first African American Astronaut)
- Dr. Valinda Littlefield – Associate Professor of History, University of South Carolina
- JT McLawhorn – President of the Columbia Urban League
- Sam Tenenbaum – President of the Palmetto Health Foundation
- Dr. Johnnie McFadden – University of South Carolina’s First African American Full Professor
- Will Moreau Goins – Chief of the Cherokee Indian Tribe of South Carolina
- Willie Jeffries – First African American NCAA Division I Football Coach
- Mac Bennett – President of the United Way of the Midlands
- Sanford Greene – Artist & Creator of Bitter Root Comic Series
- Bryant Smith – Author, Founding President of Smith Consulting & Networking
- Nat Page - US Olympian & Assistant Coach for the 2021 US Olympic Track Team
- Paul V. Fant – Sr. Vice President of the SCANA Corporation
- Abe Wehmiller – NAIS Diversity Leadership Institute Faculty, Director of Athletics – Charlotte Country Day