A More Inclusive Campus Environment
Father Ryan High School is committed to fostering an environment where every student is known and loved, and where Black students and other students of color have a genuine feeling of belonging. Our humanity and Catholic social teaching demand that each of us work for the dignity of every human being as a child of God and a part of this world community.

Given the current events in our society, we have decided to enter into a thoughtful and prayerful process, grounded in our Strategic Plan, to determine the ways we have created this inclusive environment on our campus and how we can improve it.
 
Our goals are
 
  • To identify effective and sustainable actions that Father Ryan High School will take to make our environment more inclusive and with a greater feeling of belonging for Black students and other students of color, and
  • To identify effective and sustainable actions that Father Ryan High School will take to help prevent racism on our campus. 
Communicating our Progress
We will use this webpage to communicate progress and other information.

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  • Message from Father Ryan - Summer 2021 Update

    August 9, 2021
     
    Dear Father Ryan Community,
     “The Catholic Church proclaims that human life is sacred and that the dignity of the human person is the foundation of a moral vision for society. This belief is the foundation of all the principles of our social teaching. We believe that every person is precious, that people are more important than things, and that the measure of every institution is whether it threatens or enhances the life and dignity of the human person.” 
    -"Seven Themes of Catholic Social Teaching, Life and Dignity of the Human Person,”
     The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops

    In May 2020, while our leadership grappled with opening the school during a pandemic, our country and much of the world were fraught with a range of emotions, expressed in countless ways, over the senseless deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and too many Black and other persons of color.  Father Ryan was not immune to the effects of the environment at that time, and we began to receive many suggestions on what we should or shouldn’t do to improve the school’s experience for Black students and other students of color.
     
    Instead of immediately reacting to the breadth of feedback we were receiving, we deliberately entered into a thoughtful and prayerful process to understand the ways we have created an inclusive environment on our campus and how we can improve it, specifically such that students of color have a genuine feeling of belonging.  Our process, from the outset, has been focused on achieving two goals.
    1. To identify effective and sustainable actions that Father Ryan High School will take to make our environment more inclusive and with a greater feeling of belonging for Black students and other students of color.
    2. To identify effective and sustainable actions that Father Ryan High School will take to help prevent racism on our campus.
    With the help and guidance of many in our community, including alumni, members of the Board of Trustees, school leadership, and faculty, we have developed a plan to help us achieve these goals, and we are ready to begin the implementation phase. We want to remind everyone of how the process was conducted as we present the outline of our plan.

    STEP 1 – Listen and understand
    To ensure we truly heard all of the feedback and considered meaningful improvements, we engaged a third party, YMG Enterprises, LLC, a respected and experienced Nashville-based diversity and inclusivity consultancy, to establish and facilitate the process. Additionally, throughout the process we were in consultation with the Diocese of Nashville.
     
    During Step 1 we were pleased to hear from nearly 1,000 members of the Father Ryan community through focus groups and surveys. As you can imagine, the range of feedback was broad.  It included comments that made us proud of our historic leadership in integrating classrooms and athletic venues in this state.  At the same time, the feedback identified opportunities where we could meaningfully improve our efforts at fostering an inclusive environment.

    STEP 2 – Prioritize the feedback and identify action steps
    Step 2 gathered a working group of 15 people, including members of the leadership team, the Board of Trustees, and the alumni community. With the above goals in mind, all of the feedback gathered through letters and surveys was organized into five recurring themes. The themes are listed here along with the types of questions that the group discussed as it focused on the experiences of Black and other persons of color on our campus.

    EDUCATION
    • Are there ways to improve our approaches to content and curriculum delivery for our students to build understanding, acceptance, tolerance, and empathy?
    • How can our faculty and staff more fully understand the issues of diversity and inclusion in today’s world?

    EXPERIENCES
    • How do our students and their families experience our school today?
    • How can we improve their experiences?

    POLICY
    • Have we clearly articulated and educated our community regarding our expectations and vision for what an inclusive environment looks like in the light of our faith?

    SUPPORT
    • If students, their families, faculty, or staff have an interaction that makes them feel excluded or that they do not belong, do they have a supportive and effective process to communicate these feelings and experiences?

    REPRESENTATION
    • How can we improve the representation of Black and other persons of color among our students, faculty, and staff?

    STEP 3 – Implement and track progress
    Using the Strategic Plan adopted in 2019, which included as one of its five priorities “to expand demand, inclusivity, and access,” the working group set broad objectives for each of the themes identified above. These objectives have been incorporated into the school’s strategic plan.  
     
    Specific actions have been identified with each objective, along with timeframes and targeted accountability measures. The actions presented below will take place during the 2021-2022 school year as part of the strategic planning implementation.



    ACTION STEPS – 2021-2022 SCHOOL YEAR
     

    Policy
    • Father Ryan has updated and is communicating the policies, procedures, and processes regarding racial harassment in the Parent/Student Handbook. 
    • Father Ryan will develop and promulgate community standards and expectations, flowing from our Catholic faith and upholding our commitment to racial, cultural, and socio-economic diversity.

    Professional Development
    • Father Ryan will establish a Faculty Diversity Group to advise leadership during the 2021-2022 and subsequent school years.
    • School leadership, all Heads of Houses, and the Faculty Diversity Group will attend and participate in one or more professional development opportunities, rooted in our mission, regarding diversity and inclusion during the 2021-2022 school year.
    • The school selects a theme for each year, with “Lead” having been the theme for the 2020-2021 year. In August 2021, reflective of this year’s theme of “Solidarity”, all faculty and staff will receive training, utilizing effective techniques consistent with the Catholic worldview, that will enhance the faculty’s ability to cultivate and support a diverse and inclusive environment in the classroom and through curriculum delivery. 

    Outreach
    • Working with local and regional organizations that share our mission and values, Father Ryan will further and strengthen our efforts to expand the pool of racially diverse applicants for admissions and employment.
    • Leaders of our Multi-Cultural Student Union club will work with student members to invite no fewer than three alumni speakers each semester during the 2021-2022 school year.

    Ongoing Listening and Improvement
    • Beginning the spring of the 2021-2022 school year, Father Ryan will conduct an annual survey of families, students, and faculty regarding their experiences during the year and will include questions regarding diversity and inclusion.

    Father Ryan is committed to continuous improvement. We are in constant pursuit of an environment where every student is known and loved. The thoughtful process we entered into last year and the valuable feedback we received have enhanced our strategic plan. We believe that will bring about meaningful progress toward our goals. Our hope is that, consistent with our Catholic social teachings, the pursuit of these actions enhances the life and dignity of every person we meet.
    As we begin this school year, we ask once again for the intercession of our Blessed Mother for all in our community.

     
    Jim McIntyre                     Paul Davis '81
    President                           Principal
  • Message from Father Ryan - Spring 2021 Update

    A More Inclusive Campus Environment 
    Spring 2021 Update

    Father Ryan High School is committed to fostering an inclusive environment where every student is known and loved.
     
    As we communicated with you last summer, we have entered into a thoughtful and prayerful process to understand the ways we have created this inclusive environment on our campus and how we can improve it, specifically so that students of color have a genuine feeling of belonging. 
     
     The goals continue to be
    • to identify effective and sustainable actions that Father Ryan High School will take to make our environment more inclusive and with a greater feeling of belonging for Black students and other students of color, and
    • to identify effective and sustainable actions that Father Ryan High School will take to help prevent racism on our campus. 
    Since July we have been in collaboration with the Diocese of Nashville and have been working with Derek Young, president of YMG Enterprises, LLC, an experienced Nashville-based diversity and inclusivity consultant, to establish and facilitate the process to achieve these goals. The three steps of the process are outlined on our website at FatherRyan.org/inclusion. We want to update you on the process thus far.
     
    Step 1 – Listen and understand
    It was important to take time to listen to and understand a variety of perspectives from members across our community. This part of the process took place during the fall semester in two ways:
    • An online survey was made available throughout our community.  Nearly 900 completed surveys were submitted during the survey period, which ran from July-August 2020.
    • More than 300 members of our community, including alumni across multiple generations, current parents, faculty and staff, and students, were invited to participate in one of eight focus groups conducted by Derek Young during the fall of 2020.
    Step 2 – Prioritize the feedback and identify action steps
    Critical to the success of this process is turning the feedback into meaningful action steps. While step 2 is not yet complete, these are the actions we have taken thus far.
    • With the assistance of our consultant, we organized all of the feedback and insights from Step 1 into these five categories where specific initiatives to achieve the stated goals will be considered - 
      • Education
      • Experiences     
      • Policy             
      • Representation
      • Support.
    • School leadership has joined with the Board of Trustees' Strategic Plan Oversight Committee to assist in aligning specific actions within our strategic plan. This committee’s membership was expanded to incorporate additional Father Ryan High School constituents.
    • The committee has met multiple times, including a six-hour session with Derek Young on December 18, 2020. During this session, the committee divided into work sub-groups in line with the categories identified above.
    • Each sub-group, as well as the full committee, has continued to meet and consider further the feedback received. They will make recommendations for actions to be taken to achieve our goals.
    We will organize the recommendations for action into achievable, meaningful, and manageable steps. We plan to complete step 2 prior the beginning of the 2021 school year.
     
    Step 3 – Implement and track progress
    In step 3 we will ask the Board of Trustees to adopt and incorporate the recommended actions into the school’s current strategic plan where they will be part of the progress tracking for the entire strategic plan.
     
    We are very thankful for the feedback that we have received and the support our community has offered for this process. We will keep you informed as the action steps are finalized.
     
    Jim McIntyre                                              Paul Davis '81
    President                                                     Principal
  • Survey

    A survey was available through July 31 for constituents to provide insights, experiences, and feedback. 
  • Message from Father Ryan - June 24

    Dear Father Ryan Community,
     
    Recent events have demonstrated yet again how this nation’s long legacy of racism perpetuates a system that diminishes and even destroys the lives of Black people and other people of color. These events have brought a renewed focus to the role we all must play in confronting racism. Our humanity and Catholic social teaching demand that each of us work for the dignity of every human being as a child of God and a part of this world community.  
     
    We are in the process of implementing our strategic plan, adopted last year, and its particular initiatives of enhanced inclusiveness and a deeper student experience. Our community recognizes that we need to look at our school and ourselves to make sure we demonstrate an inclusive environment for Black students and other students of color. The Father Ryan community, in collaboration with the Diocese of Nashville and its leadership, is committed to doing the work necessary to make this initiative a reality. 
     
    To help guide us as we move forward, we have partnered with Derek Young, president of YMG Enterprises, LLC, a respected and experienced Nashville-based diversity and inclusivity consultant.  With his help, we have begun to identify a process for our work that begins with listening to representatives of our community. We will communicate specific information on this process and its steps in the next few weeks.
     
    All of this is happening as we determine how to reopen our school in the midst of a pandemic. As we work towards reopening in this time of uncertainty, the leadership team will also continue to address the issues facing our nation and our school. Our goal is to create effective and lasting solutions - ones that emerge from an informed and thoughtful process, ones that will help prevent racism on our campus. 
     
    Sincerely,
     
    Jim McIntyre                         Paul Davis '81
    President                                 Principal
  • Message from Father Ryan - June 2

    Dear Father Ryan Community, 
     
    This past week has brought another painful reminder of the injustice faced by so many in our communities, and the anger, fear and heartache they feel every day. We join our Bishop Mark Spalding and Archbishop Jose Gomez of Los Angeles, president of the U.S. Council of Catholic Bishops, in their messages of hope during these difficult times.
     
    The senseless and preventable deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and too many others awaken us to our responsibilities as Christians, as educators, as citizens, as human beings. Just as Christ calls us, Father Ryan is deeply committed to a culture of inclusion, justice and equality for all, with no place for racism in any form.
     
    Throughout our history, Father Ryan has taken on the challenges that social justice demands, with Catholic social teaching as our guide. Today, we embrace our legacy of social justice and stand in solidarity with our global neighbors in calling for true reconciliation and meaningful change. We offer our most heartfelt prayers to all the victims of prejudicial violence and racial bias. We recommit to educating our students and our community to encourage a peaceful and unrelenting resolve to challenge systemic injustices in our world.
     
    As we work to form lives of excellence in the world today, we draw again on Christ’s message of love and acceptance and pray for His grace on all. 
     
    “God of peace, justice and love, fill us with courage that we might seek to heal wounds, build bridges, forgive and be forgiven, and establish peace and equality for all in our communities, through Christ our Lord. Amen.”
     
    Peace,
     
    Jim McIntyre      Paul Davis '81               
    President              Principal 
Our Process
The schedule for this important process coincides with the school's planning for the 2020-2021 and 2021-2022 school years in light of the continuing pandemic.  This may affect the timing of certain steps. We appreciate your patience.
 
Step 1 – Listen and Understand
Step 2 – Prioritize the Feedback and Identify Action Steps
Step 3 – Implement and Track Progress

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    Timeframe: Summer/Fall Semester 2020

    This step was designed to provide members of the Father Ryan community (students, faculty, staff, parents, alumni and others) the opportunity to provide feedback on how best to achieve the stated goals. We did this in these two ways.

    • A survey was available for constituents to provide insights, experiences, and feedback. Nearly 900 completed surveys were submitted during the survey period, which ran from July-August 2020.
    • More than 300 members of our community, including alumni across multiple generations, current parents, faculty and staff, and students, were invited to participate in one of eight focus groups conducted by Derek Young during the fall of 2020.

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    Timeframe: Fall Semester 2020/Spring Semester 2021

    In cooperation with the Catholic Schools Office of the Diocese of Nashville, Father Ryan's leadership assembled a group of people from the school's constituencies. During this timeframe, this group reviewed and discussed specific action steps that the school can implement to achieve the goal of a more inclusive environment, with a greater feeling of belonging for Black students and other students of color. We will organize the recommendations for action into achievable, meaningful, and manageable steps. As planned, we completed Step 2 prior to the beginning of the 2021 school year. That information is included in the "Communicating our Progress" section above. 

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    Targeted: Fall Semester 2021

    School leadership has presented the recommended action steps to the Board of Trustees. (See above to see a copy of this communication.) These steps will be monitored by the school leadership, with progress reported on a regular basis to the Catholic Schools Office of the Diocese of Nashville and the Board of Trustees of Father Ryan High School.