Diversity and Inclusion

Sacred Heart Schools, through our common connection as members of God's family, celebrates diversity and reverences all people. Our inclusive culture enables all students, faculty and staff to develop and thrive while sharing their God-given talents.

2017-2018 Student Demographics At a Glance

The following figures represent optional self-reported percentages of students of color within each of our member schools. (updated Fall 2017)

Sacred Heart Preschool - 22.7%
Sacred Heart Model School - 21%
Sacred Heart Academy - 11.8%
Sacred Heart School for the Arts - 15%

SHS Diversity and Inclusion News and Events

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SHMS and Nativity Academy win grant to construct food pantry

Sacred Heart Model School and Nativity Academy were recently awarded a grant from National Catholic Sisters fund to construct a "Little Free Pantry" (LFP). SHMS student Advisory Board members and student leaders from Nativity will build the pantry to be placed at Nativity Academy and blessed in March during National Catholic Sisters Week. In high poverty areas, the LFP is most often for those who are not easily able to meet everyday food and personal needs.

Students recently shared a meal, received a lesson on the importance of protein and brainstormed ideas for the pantry. Nativity students offered their maker space in which to build the pantry.

The $1000 grant will fund the construction of the pantry. The National Catholic Sisters Week is an annual celebration created to honor women religious, and is a series of events that instruct, enlighten and bring greater focus to the lives of these women.

SHA English Class builds connections with Oldham County Young Adult Transition Program

SHA Freshmen English students are working with the big idea that “Inequality resulting from discrimination can be overcome when people make connections” as they read Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men. The book deals with all kinds of discrimination, one being ableism. Lennie, a main character, is discriminated against because of his intellectual disability. Audrey Devine from Oldham County Schools Young Adult Transition Program and her students visited with several classes and taught them how we are all the same, regardless of our abilities. Inclusions and connections can change the world!

Dr. Melba Beals, one of Little Rock Nine, Visits SHA

Dr. Melba Pattillo Beals’ life is defined by her commitment to truth, social justice and equality for all. While she is best known as one of the Little Rock Nine, a select group of African American students who braved mobs, threats and physical attacks to integrate Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas in 1957, she has also had successful careers as both journalist and educator.

Dr. Beals spoke to our entire SHA community, sharing wisdom and wit, and an unshakeable faith in God. As we listened intently, she taught us, “the greatest gift you can give someone is to listen to them,” a poignant reminder in a world that too often forgets. When asked by a student how she dealt with the oppression and hatred, she said, “when you’re in God’s group, you can’t be left out.” Dr. Beals deftly connected her experience to that of any teen who feels alone or mistreated, and inspired the girls to wait for the best people to come along.

Dr. Beals also met with small groups of SHA students and gave each group, each girl and each question her unwavering attention and care. What an honor it was to learn from her about the importance of continually building your relationship with God, of valuing and respecting every human being, especially those who do not look or act like you and learning and growing from every experience. We will never forget our time with Dr. Beals.

SHSA dance class welcomes kids of all abilities

Sacred Heart School for the Arts is committed to creating a positive, creative environment that promotes a love of the arts to students of all abilities. To this end, the school initiated an inclusive dance program this year for all children interested in Ballet, including students with differing needs like those on the autism spectrum, and those with Cerebral Palsy, Down Syndrome and other mobility needs.

The idea for the program came from a current instructor who has a daughter with Down Syndrome and saw a need for a creative outlet for kids with all different types of abilities. Amanda Rollins’ vision, which she shared with SHSA Director, Andrea Diggs, was not to create a class solely for the disabled, but to integrate kids with special needs into classes with kids who had typical needs. Amanda found through research that dance and arts classes for children with special needs existed in Louisville, but they tended to be exclusive of those who weren’t special needs students. Mrs. Rollins and SHSA didn’t think Louisville needed two spotlights, but that all kids could shine together. In doing so, the students would gain a better understanding of their differences, as well as their commonalities, and all would realize the benefits of dance class, such as problem solving, listening, following directions, confidence, exercise and a social outlet.

Mrs. Rollins researched adaptive dance programs and found that the Boston Ballet, in partnership with the Boston Children’s Hospital, had a robust and successful adaptive dance program. SHSA encouraged and sponsored her involvement with their Adaptive Dance Teacher Training, flying her to Boston last summer to take part in the intense, two-day training. There, she experienced adaptive classes, met with parents and students, received guidance on creating a mission and vision for the program and learned strategies for reaching those who students may communicate differently and/or may not be able to verbally advocate for themselves. The class gave Mrs. Rollins the tools she needed to create the inclusive program back at SHSA in Louisville.

SHSA currently offers two inclusive Ballet classes. The first is Beginning Ballet I for children ages 6-7 and the other is Beginning Ballet III for students ages 8-10. One quarter of the students in these two inclusive dance classes have mobility needs, down syndrome or other differences that may not be visibly apparent but cause them to learn differently. The school aims to grow the program to meet the needs of children of all ages, and to encompass additional art forms.

In addition to the inclusive dance program, Sacred Heart School for the Arts produces ten theatrical and/or musical performances each year and this year is hosting the first sensory-friendly performance of The Nutcracker. The performance will be a bit shorter and scenes that could be especially triggering to those with sensory processing needs will be omitted. The house lights will stay on and guests will be encouraged to move around and make noise as is needed. It is SHSA’s goal that in the 2019-2020 season, each of the ten shows will host a sensory-friendly performance.

SHSA recognizes the innate value and ability in all of God’s children and is excited about the amazing possibilities for growth of this program.

Diversity Leadership Team attends Nonviolence Symposium

Members of the ⁦Sacred Heart Academy⁩ Diversity Leadership Team attended the Louisville Engaging Nonviolence Symposium presented by SHA Alumnae Cory Lockhart and sponsored by the Drepung Gomang Center for Engaging Compassion.

What do peace, violence, and nonviolence really mean in our present world and how do they play a role in our lives? Our empowered young leaders joined peers from across the city to consider these questions through activities and discussions. They learned about ordinary people and sometimes extraordinary movements that have used or are using nonviolence creatively and effectively to work for a more peaceful and just world.

Vera Jones Addresses Unconscious Bias with SHS Faculty/Staff

As part of faculty/staff professional development, SHS hosted motivational speakers Vera Jones and Dr. Rebecca Heiss, "The Diversity Duo," to address the topic of unconscious bias and its impact on performance and behavior.

About the Speakers:

Vera Jones is the President of Vera’s VoiceWorks, LLC, a “service first” professional development and motivational speaking entity that has commanded the attention of millions of people from across the globe. A natural born leader, Vera is also a gifted and often humorous speaker who thrives on empathy and emotional intelligence to connect and encourage. Her mission seeks to empower people to “Play Through the Foul” of adversity with the power of faith, vision, unity, perseverance, and purpose.

Sport is where Vera was able to understand and cultivate the key principles necessary to develop a winner’s mentality and to build winning teams. Vera invested thousands of hours of sweat equity on the basketball hardwood from the age of five, up through her scholar-athlete playing career at Syracuse University. Her tangible rewards included a Hall of Fame induction, and opportunities to become a national television broadcaster, serving over two decades as a Women’s Basketball Analyst with various networks such as ESPN, Fox Sports, and the Big Ten Network. Endeavors in collegiate coaching, corporate sales, and academia afforded her well-rounded perspectives to coach and train others how to play together and win together.

Syracuse University was also where Vera earned her undergraduate and Master’s degrees at the prestigious Newhouse School of Communications. There she developed an interest in understanding the psychology of interpersonal communication. Play Through the Foul Team Building and Communication Training, is a sports-infused, leadership training platform specifically designed to overcome the “fouls” and biases inherent in interpersonal, work relationships. Vera’s highly interactive “Leadership 6-S” program focuses on 6 key areas of team and leadership development necessary to maximize engagement, cohesiveness, and productivity. Whether it is in the arena of basic motivation, professional development, diversity and inclusion, or more in-depth organizational assessments and actions necessary for conflict resolution, Vera is always ready to coach individuals and teams to victory!

Dr. Rebecca Heiss also knows basketball, but she thrives on biology. Rebecca earned her undergraduate and Master's degree specializing in behavior and development from Binghamton University. While participating in sport helped her formulate "how" to do things, it was her passion for biology and understanding the brain that drove her to become a leader in the field of "why" we do things. She earned her PhD in Biology from the University of Memphis in Stress Physiology and uses her scientific gifts to highlight what she referes to as the "BS" (Blind Spots) of business. She accomplishes this by helping individuals and organizations identify and overcome biologically motivated behaviors that act as barriers to optimal performance.

By definition, we are incapable of seeing our own blind spots. Not recognizing what we don't know can be costly in any organization. Rebecca's program begins with testing each team member to identify biological blind spots and bias. She assists her clients in understanding the root of subconscious bias and how these fear-driven behaviors affect the bottom-line at the organizational level. Tackling the neuroscience that's programmed us to operate from a reactionary subconscious, Rebecca helps clients gain self-awareness, take action, and adapt their mindsets to become their best biological selves. She accomplishes this by helping clients understand how behaviors that yield short term individual gain, ultimately reap negative consequences. She then helps them embrace their inner cooperative spirit to the benefit of themselves and their organization.

Author and Activist Immaculee Ilibagiza Visits SHS

On Wednesday October 4, and Thursday October 5, 2017, Sacred Heart Schools was honored and blessed to host best-selling author, activist and and Rwandan Holocaust survivor Immaculee Ilibagiza. Ms. Illibagiza addressed a standing-room only audience in the Ursuline Arts Center at an evening event open to the public, sharing her moving personal story of faith, family and forgiveness amidst one of the greatest humanitarian crises of our time. The following morning, Ms. Illibagiza addressed the Sacred Heart Academy student body, staying to interact with many whose lives have been forever changed by her courage.

Ms. Illibagiza's visit to the Ursuline campus coincided with the 2017 summer reading at Sacred Heart Academy, in which all students and faculty read Left to Tell and engaged in several curricular and co-curricular activities throughout the fall semester.

About the Speaker:

Immaculée's first book, Left to Tell; Discovering God Amidst the Rwandan Holocaust (Hay House) was released in March of 2006. Left to Tell quickly became a New York Times Best Seller. To date, it has been translated into seventeen languages and has sold over two million copies. Immaculée's story has also been made into a documentary entitled The Diary of Immaculée. She has appeared on 60 Minutes, The CBS Early Show, CNN, EWTN, CBS Evening News, The Aljazeera Network as well as in The New York Times, USA Today, Newsday, and many other domestic and international publications. She was recently featured in Michael Collopy's Architects of Peace project, which has honored legendary people like Mother Teresa, Jimmy Carter, Nelson Mandela and the Dalai Lama.

Immaculée has received honorary doctoral degrees from the University of Notre Dame, Saint John's University, Seton Hall University, Siena College, Walsh University and the Catholic University of America. She has been recognized and honored with numerous humanitarian awards including The Mahatma Gandhi International Award for Reconciliation and Peace, the American Legacy's Women of Strength & Courage Award and the 2015 National Speaker’s Association’s Master of Influence Award.

Today, Immaculée is regarded as one of world's leading speakers on faith, hope and forgiveness. She has shared this universal message with world leaders, school children, multinational corporations, churches, and at events and conferences around the world, including a recent presentation to over 200,000 people in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

To read Immaculee's full bio, CLICK HERE.

SHS Hosts Annual Multicultural Dinner

Sacred Heart Schools Multicultural Week is, first and foremost, a celebration of diversity and inclusion. During the week of February 19-23, 2018, all four of our campus schools participated in activities and events in keeping with this year's campus theme of "Serve with Compassion." Daily emphases included:
Monday- Share Water with Compassion
Tuesday- Share Language with Compassion
Wednesday- Share Land/Environment with Compassion
Thursday- Share Food with Compassion

The week-long celebration culminated with our annual Multicultural Dinner on Thursday, February 22. Following a fair of international and cultural exhibits, guest sampled dishes from around the world and were entertained by music, dance, drama and poetic performances. Ticket proceeds support diversity scholarship efforts for Sacred Heart Schools.

Pictured: Students from Louisville’s Dove School of Arts performed musical numbers, monologues and poetry to a packed gym.

SHA Learning Differences Coordinator Awarded Inclusion Award

Emily Puffer, Learning Differences Coordinator at Sacred Heart Academy, Awarded the Irene Casey Inclusion Award

Emily is committed to student success and has spent her career promoting a culture where learning differently is the norm as each of us learns in a unique way. Through Emily's leadership, SHA has a learning center that serves students needing accommodations, organizational help, untimed tests and a myriad of other needs. Emily is often found working one-on-one with students who need direction and conferencing with teachers on effective strategies for the classroom.

Leaders For Tomorrow: The Brown-Forman Diversity Scholarship Fund

Leaders For Tomorrow

The Brown-Forman Diversity Scholarship Fund:
Supporting Diversity and Inclusiveness to Enrich Our Learning Community

A global company with hometown pride, Brown-Forman and their employees are deeply committed in helping to make Louisville a robust, dynamic city to live, work and raise families. Nearly 85% of their community investment is in Louisville because of the company's long history and deep roots. "This is where we have been since 1870," says Jill Horn, manager of community relations and major gifts at Brown-Forman. "We are a family owned company, and it's the family aspect of the company that begs us to question how we care about each other and the community we are raising our families in."

Brown-Forman views giving back as good for business because it meets the needs of its neighbors. The company and employees donate time, talents and treasure to support organizations focused on arts and culture, social welfare, environment, youth and education and other specific areas determined by local needs.

"We always think long-term. It's not just what's important today, but what's important for tomorrow. With the long-term aspect of education, it’s not just changing the life of one individual, but changing the trajectory of generations," says Horn.

Pictured here from Brown-Forman: Lisa Steiner, Chief of Staff, Director of Global Communications and Services; Jill Horn, Manager of Community Relations and Major Gifts; Tim Rutledge, Director of Corporate Strategy and Business Development

The Brown-Forman Diversity Scholarship Fund provides support to academically qualified Sacred Heart Academy and Sacred Heart Model School students who represent diverse social aspects such as ethnicity, religion, socioeconomic status and language.

When Brown-Forman creates community partnerships, they look for organizations with similar values with an emphasis on collaboration. The Ursuline core values of Community, Reverence, Service and Leadership made Sacred Heart Schools a perfect fit. "Turning learners into leaders is important to us and with this scholarship endowment, we can help enhance leadership on the Sacred Heart Schools campus so everyone can have a rich and diverse experience."

Sacred Heart Academy sophomore Kristen Kendrick-Worman is a proud recipient of the endowed scholarship. From the moment she first shadowed at the Academy, she hoped to be able to attend. "It felt like a home environment," says Kristen. "I knew I could discover, explore and broaden my talents here." Kristen is focused on academics and completing a four year concentration in IB art. “She is a bright student who has a keen sense of self to which she is true. From my perspective, Kristen demonstrates our core value of Reverence in this way, very much as St. Angela did during her lifetime,” says Jane Cruthirds, religion instructor, Sacred Heart Academy. “She has a unique ability to utilize her creative talents in the classroom to benefit herself and her peers. I can count on Kristen to dig into concepts presented in class, formulate her own understanding, and challenge the social norm. Her insight helps her classmates see the world from a valuable different perspective.”

Kristen Kendrick-Worman, Sacred Heart Academy

Our youngest Brown-Forman scholars attend Scared Heart Model School. Level 4 student Jasmine Watkins loves the challenge of playing sports with team jerseys in volleyball, basketball, field hockey and soccer to prove it. When not in play, she is busy reading fiction or learning to code through participation in the Sacred Heart Model School coding club. Her younger sister, Jada, is making a strong start in Level 1. Jada loves math and also enjoys extracurricular activities like soccer and basketball.

"I've seen great growth with both girls. They take it upon themselves to do the things that are needed without my having to ask. They are becoming leaders," says the girls' mother De'Anna Watkins. "As parents, we want our children to have the best education and this scholarship gives us the opportunity to send our girls to the Model School. It's meant the world to our family."

Jada and Jasmine Watkins, Sacred Heart Model School

"We are made better having these scholars on campus and the talents they bring enriches the educational experience of all students," says Sacred Heart Schools President Dr. Cynthia Crabtree. "We are extremely grateful to Brown-Forman for providing this opportunity, and we hope that it will lead to even greater support of diversity and inclusiveness in our learning community."

"Expanding Your World View" - A Poem By Maddie Lazas ‘17

Expanding Your World View
By Maddie Lazas ‘17

How dare they?
How dare they, how dare they, how dare they?!
I want to be an engineer,
I want to code, to build, to learn, to discover,
I want to work for NASA, Space X, Orbital ATK,
and I can
I can, I can
because I live
I live in a society that is only slightly,
affected by sexism and gender wage gaps.
What about her?
What about the girl born in Afghanistan
What about her?
She dreams
She dreams of space, of stars, of orbits, of planets,
of textbooks, of microscopes, of science
of safety,
of basic human rights,
of being able to leave her house without fear.
How dare they.
How dare they prevent her.
From advancing, from learning, from curing.
She could have had it.
Oh she could have had it
She could have had the cure to cancer,
the orbits for the Jupiter landing,
the blue prints for a new rocket.
Oh, she could have.

But when Malala gets shot in the head for going to school,
When Laila can't leave her house uncovered,
when Mariam can't even get a job because she is not allowed,
to walk alone.

When companies are quoted as saying "Oh, women"
"Oh women, we don't think they can design a website" (Vaporean).
They can't?
Or you won't allow them to?

She "spit[s]" out pebbles, blood, and the fragments of two molars" (Hossieni 104)
Pebbles, blood, and molars
She didn't cook rice correctly
and she spits out pebbles, blood, and molars
What if she had tried to get a job
What would she have to spit out then?

When so many families
are so poor in the Middle East
they can't afford
one or two dollars,
one or two dollars,
to go on the internet (Vaporean).

When girls are too busy signing marriage contracts

When fifteen is "a good, solid marrying age for a girl" (Hosseini 47).
She could be studying.
Not cooking, cleaning, tending!

The top 100 most powerful Arab women,
100 of them,
only 4.
4 were in STEM fields. (Qayyum).

A girl in Pakistan.
Pakistan is ranked 141
out of 142 countries (Mashhadi)
in educational disparity between genders,
Second to last
Second. To. Last.
This girl lives in a country
Whose priority of education for both genders

When men "broadcas[t] that girls should stay at home"
while they blow up schools (Yousafzai 137).
Blow up schools
because they are so intimidated
by these educated girls
girls who have the power to sequence DNA,
to become leading surgeons,
to change the world.
They are intimidating
Intimidating to the men with guns
and military grade missiles.
like Malala said,
"if one man can destroy everything,
why can't one girl change it?" (Yousafzai 142).

How dare they?
How dare they, how dare they, how dare they?
They have dreams,
so many dreams
what's the point of having dreams
when you're not sure
if you'll survive long enough to achieve them.

Works Cited

Hosseini, Khaled. A Thousand Splendid Suns. New York: Penguin Group, 2007. Print.

Mashhadi, Sara. "Women in Science - Pakistan's Take." Women Engineers Pakistan. Women Engineers Pakistan, 20 Apr. 2016. Web. 24 Aug. 2016.

Qayyum, Mehrunisa. "Women in Middle East/North Africa Are Underrepresented in Science and Technology Professions." The Huffington Post. TheHuffingtonPost.com, 29 July 2012. Web. 24 Aug. 2016.

Vaporean, Carole. "How Learning to Code Can Bring Afghan Girls into the Global Tech Marketplace." Women in the World in Association with The New York Times WITW. New York Times, 07 Sept. 2015. Web. 24 Aug. 2016.

Yousafzai, Malala, and Christina Lamb. I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban. New York: Back Bay, 2015. Print.

Author Deepa Iyer, Community Panelists Host "A Conversation About Inclusion and Equity in a Changing America"

On March 28, 2016, author, educator and Sacred Heart Academy alum Deepa Iyer discussed themes captured in her book, "We too Sing America; South Asian, Arab, Muslim, and Sikh Immigrants Shape Our Multicultural Future." Following a brief presentation and address from Ms. Iyer, she was joined by local experts in areas of diversity, civil rights and multiculturalism for a panel dialogue. Attendees had the opportunity to pose questions to our panel. The event was entitled "A Conversation on Inclusion and Equity in a Changing America".

This event, open to the public and held in the Ursuline Arts Center, was made possible in part by the Sacred Heart Schools Diversity Council and by 89.3 WFPL as part of their 2016 news initiative, “The Next Louisville; Race, Ethnicity and Culture”

Featured Panelists included:

A book signing took place following the event, including opportunities to purchase "We Too Sing America". Special thanks to Carmichael's Bookstore.

Earlier in the day, Ms. Iyer addressed groups of high school and middle school students on campus at Sacred Heart Academy and Sacred Heart Model School, respectively.

About the author:

Deepa Iyer is a national figure in movements for racial and immigrant justice in America. She served as executive director of South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT) for a decade. Iyer is a Senior Fellow at the Center for Social Inclusion. She lives in Silver Springs, Maryland. She also serves as the Chair of the Board of Directors for Race Forward.

“With Years of experience in civil rights advocacy, Deepa Iyer’s book is an important contribution to the work of building a stronger and more inclusive community.” – Congresswoman Judy Chu (D-CA)

An immigrant who moved to Kentucky when she was twelve, Deepa Iyer attended high school in Louisville at Sacred Heart Academy, graduating in 1990. She went on to graduate from the University of Notre Dame Law School and Vanderbilt University.

“I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up For Education and Was Shot by the Taliban”

"When the whole world is silent, even one voice becomes powerful." -Malala Yousafzai

The entire SHA student body, faculty and staff read “I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up For Education and Was Shot by the Taliban” as their all-school summer book selection. The memoir chronicles Malala Yousafzai’s unwavering devotion to her education and her rise as a global symbol for women’s rights led her to become the youngest winner of the Nobel Peace Prize at the age of seventeen.

AP English students were challenged to approach their summer reading assignment in a rather unique way. The students were asked to use their knowledge of the book to answer the question: “Is my life impacted by women in developing nations?” Students were encouraged to explore topics of interest to them and to use a variety of mediums to tell the narrative of their answer.

One of my goals for my students in this course is to expand their view of the world; how they perceive their community, both locally and globally. I also want them to begin to see themselves as leaders in the classroom and take ownership of their education. This project, in which students were asked to consider the connection between their lives and the lives of women in developing nations exceeded every expectation I had and resulted in some of the most meaningful, thoughtful presentations I have ever witnessed. To see the girls take charge of their work; from its inception where they examined their values, beliefs, and ideals, to its execution, where they chose the medium and format of their presentation, these students proved themselves to be the creative, compassionate leaders that will one day guide our world. -Debbie Hudson, English Department Chair

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