Special Message To Our SHS Community

Dear Sacred Heart Schools Community,
We are listening. We are listening to the messages coming to us from our students, families, alumni, faculty and staff. We are listening to the messages of the Black Lives Matter movement, the Ursuline Sisters of Louisville and our Louisville community. We hear you, and we can feel the depth from which your words come. We are listening, and we understand the need for change.
We are continuing to pray for all affected, seeking the guidance of the Holy Spirit and are committed to being and doing better. We have a responsibility to live out the Ursuline Core Values of Community, Reverence, Leadership and Service. We can all recite these values. It is time we truly live them.

Though not previously public, we have begun the process of elevating our efforts. Together with our Diversity and Inclusion Committee at Sacred Heart Schools, the Board of Trustees and our new President, Dr. Karen McNay, we are creating an action plan that will begin immediately and be in place at the start of the upcoming academic year.

Below are the items we PLEDGE to ACT upon. We know at times we have fallen short and through the guidance of many, we are working on concrete action items to continue to move SHS in the right direction. Cultural changes do not happen overnight, but they can begin immediately. In pledging to accomplish these, we hold ourselves accountable for real and systemic change. Please know these are just the beginning, and you will continue to hear more about next steps.
  1. Invite representatives from SHA’s Black Student Union (BSU) and Diversity Leadership Team and SHMS student leaders (or parents) to the next meeting of the SHS D&I Committee. Listen and learn from their experiences at SHS.
  2. Invite leadership from the SHA Black Student Union and Diversity Leadership Team to become permanent members of the SHS Diversity and Inclusion committee.
  3. With the departure of the past SHA BSU faculty advisor, fill the position with a culturally competent staff member and/or alumni who represents the students he or she is serving.
  4. Focus our speaker series this year on issues related to race.
  5. Continue and enhance efforts at recruiting and retaining diverse students, faculty and staff and provide the resources for those students and staff members to feel safe and included and be successful.
  6. Create and implement an action plan to educate all faculty, staff and students of SHS, ensuring the conversation on racism is continuous and often. Provide resources and continuing education necessary for faculty to intertwine the history and presence of racism in the US and the world throughout all curriculum at all schools, including but not limited to theology, literature, history, science, and math.
Our new President, Dr. Karen McNay, will begin her tenure on July 1, 2020. As SHS embarks on a year-long process to produce the next five-year strategic plan for the campus, Dr. McNay will invite current students, parents and alumni, including those who have reached out via petition or other means, as well as members of our school and local community to be a part of the planning process. The strategic plan will be rolled out from 2021-2026/27 and heightened diversity and inclusion efforts must have a prominent role in our plans for the future of SHS.

As Dr. McNay begins her tenure she has shared that one of her top priorities will be a “listen and learn” tour, meeting with various constituents, to help her formulate a strong plan forward for SHS. She is eager to hear more from all our students, parents, alumni, and families. Dr. McNay is proactively working with the SHS Diversity and Inclusion Committee and is in constant communication with us, the Board of Trustees and school leaders. She has also set a meeting on July 1 to speak with members of SHA’s Black Student Union and Diversity Leadership Team.

We are all listening. And we hear you. True and meaningful diversity and inclusion at Sacred Heart Schools has been and always will be part of our mission, as a Catholic community rooted in the Ursuline tradition, to inspire diverse learners to become globally minded, compassionate leaders. This call to action is aligned with what we do as a faith-based community to develop, respect and support our students as they grow from learners to leaders. Some of these action items will take longer to implement than others, but we will hold ourselves accountable.

We are going to work with our students, faculty, alumni and community leaders to do better. We know this will be a fluid and ongoing process - it is not a moment, but a movement - and we will continue to act.

We thank you all for your heartfelt honesty and look forward to building a better, more diverse and more inclusive Sacred Heart Schools community.

Dr. Cynthia Crabtree, President, Sacred Heart Schools

Mr. Timothy Rutledge, Chair, Sacred Heart Schools Board of Trustees