A Letter from the Head of School
David G. Perfield
Excerpt from Oldfields Magazine, November 16, 2020:
" . . . Similar to many other private, independent schools throughout the country, Oldfields is facing another pandemic and its consequences. Systemic racism and social injustice continue to plague our nation—and the world. Because the health and safety of our community is the top priority, we must pay close attention to our school culture as it directly affects the emotional and physical safety of our community members. Oldfields should always be a place that feels warm, welcoming, respectful, accepting, and inclusive of all who step foot on campus. This spring, the voices of our alumnae helped us understand—more so than ever before—how this has not always been the case for all students at Oldfields—and particularly not for many students of color. These voices came in the form of individual communications from Black alumnae, an open letter to the School, and social media posts on a grassroots Instagram account, Black@Oldfields—all of which shared the experiences of our Black alumnae and provided the impetus to action. As a result of listening, learning, and making a purposeful commitment to improving the Oldfields experience for all of our students, a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Action Plan was created.
Through the lens I have as Head of School, I recognize we have caused harm to the Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) members of the Oldfields community, and we have significant work to do in order to combat systemic racism on campus. Moreover, I would like to publicly and sincerely apologize for the harm and hurt you or one of your classmates may have experienced under our School’s care.
It’s too early to applaud the commitment our community has made to ensure the experience of all of our students is better—and most importantly, safer. As we all know, our actions will speak louder than our words, and time will tell a new story for Oldfields.
We are stronger as a school because of our diversity, and we must match this commitment to diversity with an emphasis on inclusion that ensures that each of our students, faculty, and staff feel welcomed and encouraged to bring their full selves to our campus. On behalf of my colleagues, I ask that you stand with us, our alumnae, and our community members worldwide. Oldfields will stand strong as an anti-racist and anti-discriminatory educational institution.
At Oldfields, we value all of the voices and viewpoints our community members share, especially our students. When a girl starts her Oldfields journey, we believe in her. When a girl finishes that journey, she believes in herself. Our job is to support and guide her through the necessary ups and downs that provide growth, confidence, and leadership. We also have a responsibility to ensure our students are heard. No matter the topic or differing opinions, humanity will always be at the center of what we do—and we will always strive to empower each and every one of our girls! . . .
David G. Perfield