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Creating A Culture of Belonging

O’Dowd’s student body represents a rich diversity of race, ethnicity, religion, socio-economic background, tradition, culture, learning style, family composition, and geography. These unique and multilayered student identities create opportunities for us to learn from each other, broaden our perspectives, respect differences, and ultimately become more aware and empathic global citizens. As a community, we are always striving to create equitable systems where all students thrive. 

Key Areas of Focus
Community Engagement

Building a community that is self-aware, culturally competent, and socio-emotionally sensitive.

Recruitment, Hiring & Retention

Sustaining a racially & ethnically diverse faculty and staff that mirrors the diversity of the O'Dowd student community.

Curriculum & Pedagogy

Intentionally creating an academic program that is culturally responsive and anti-racist, rooted

in our mission and Charism.

Equitable, Restorative & Accountable Discipline

Integrating restorative practices into O’Dowd’s disciplinary procedures to ensure that accountability is equitable and Charism aligned.

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Student & Staff Affinity Groups


Our Affinity Groups offer a space for students and staff to build community and connections with others who share their racial identity. In Affinity Groups, members gain fellowship, share experiences, and develop skills around race and cross-racial dialogue. 


Students of Color


Racial Affinity Groups


Cultural Identity Clubs


Faculty of Color


Regional Partner Schools


Family Zip Codes

Building A Culture of Belonging: Commitment to Professional Growth

All faculty and staff, from teachers, counselors and athletic coaches, to campus ministry and administrators, participate in ongoing professional learning to strengthen our skills enacting diversity, equity, and inclusion practices on campus. From workshops, conferences, expert lectures and more, our faculty and staff gain best-practices to teach, coach, and guide students in culturally responsive and relevant ways. 

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Community Resources​

These recommended resources for students and families focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion.



  • Ibram X. Kendi, How to be an Anti-Racist

  • Jason Reynolds & Ibram X. Kendi, Stamped: Race, Anti-Racism & You

  • Ijeoma Oluo, So You Want to Talk About Race

  • Nikole Hannah-Jones, The 1619 Project: A New Origin Story

  • Cathy Park Hong, Minor Feelings: An Asian American Reckoning


Videos, Podcasts, Articles & Websites:

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Directory of Equity and Belonging
Patrice Wakeley '01


Patrice leads our Equity & Belonging efforts at O’Dowd. In her role, Patrice works to ensure O’Dowd’s policies, practices, and systems result in equitable and positive educational experiences for all students. She deeply respects student leadership, and always seeks to bring student voices to the forefront of O’Dowd’s DEI commitments. 

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