Who We Are

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Foundationally Rooted in Catholic Faith

DSHA’s commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion is rooted in our Catholic identity and Salvatorian mission. Loving one another means putting into practice Catholic Social Teaching, and our scriptural call to “do justice, love goodness, and humbly walk with God” (Micah 6:8) is foundational to our Catholic faith and integral to the formation of all Christians. We also believe that all people are made in the image and likeness of God.

How do we define DEI at DSHA?

List of 3 items.

  • Diversity at DSHA

    Diversity refers to the myriad of personal experiences, values, perspectives, talents, and worldviews that arise from differences in culture and circumstance. DSHA values diversity among the students we recruit and the staff we hire. DSHA promotes and supports diversity through a range of curricular and co-curricular offerings, as well as through programmatic pastoral and experiential learning. We support and develop young women, who rooted in their own faith tradition, are able to embrace and respect differences in background and perspective, while being open to appreciating and learning about the wider world.
  • Equity at DSHA

    At DSHA, each student will receive the support she needs to have access to everything DSHA has to offer her spiritual, social, emotional, and academic formation. When these needs are met, it will lead students to have a strong sense of belonging, and to become capable and confident young women of faith, heart and intellect who accept the gospel call to live lives that will make a difference. Some examples of equity at DSHA include:
    • All Girls | We are an institution built to support and care for the unique needs of young women.
    • ACES | Academic support program for students who enter DSHA with academic needs.
    • Alpha Center | Academic support available each hour of the day for students in English, math and/or science.
    • Scholarships/Financial Aid | To meet tuition needs for families unable to afford DSHA full tuition.
    • Bussing | From the UCC to DSHA, to provide transportation for students on the southeast side of Milwaukee
    • Bridge Builders | To provide support for students who will be the first to attend college in their families.
    • Marian Scholars | An inclusive certificate program for students with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
    • AP/Dual Credit Classes | Courses for academically advanced students to earn college credits while still in high school.
    • Building Access | Doors open before and after school for family flexibility.
    • Non-Cut Sports | Opportunity for all who would like to participate (field hockey, rugby, lacrosse, cross country, track.)
  • Inclusion at DSHA

    As a Catholic community, we are called to embrace the dignity and talents of each individual in our school community as well as in our society at large. We strive to build an inclusive campus for our students, the families that support them, and our community of colleagues where each individual experiences an authentic sense of belonging in a loving, caring, and supportive community. We strive to actively live our call to love God and one another in all we do, and in the experiences of our community members, always reminded that we are rooted in our Catholic faith and its call to social justice.

What Does DEI Support Look Like at DSHA?

List of 6 items.

  • Academic Success

    At all times cognizant of the student academic experience, DSHA leadership is committed to providing every student in the building access to opportunities for success.
  • Unity

    We ask and seek answers to significant issues: How can we build bridges at DSHA, in our city and in the U.S. during divided times? How do non-Catholic students express their faith, and how might they educate us in those faiths? What are Best Buddies’ initiatives regarding working with students with special needs? These and more are among discussion topics at monthly “Dasher Dialogues,” open to all students and faculty.
  • Respect for All

    Called by our faith to teach and model respect, we strive to instill the same in all of our students during their four years here – and for a lifetime. What results is true appreciation and celebration of the better community we are for what each of us brings.
  • Family Belonging

    Our work applies not just to each student, but to her parents and family as well. We support specifically those families whose primary language at home is not English.
  • Statement on Sexuality Education

  • Sampling of Student Offerings Specific to DEI

    Student Diversity Council, Furia Latina, Sisters of Culture, Dasher Dialogues, Best Buddies, Multi-Cultural Week, Black History Month Mass, Our Lady of Guadalupe Mass

From The Profile of a Salvatorian Educator

To embrace diversity means to believe in the strength of difference, connected by a common mission. A professional who embraces diversity works to achieve a high level of cultural competence and successfully manages issues across diverse populations as a dynamic, ongoing, developmental process that requires long term commitment and lifelong learning. A culturally competent educator eliminates barriers to learning and inclusion, and provides high quality experiences grounded in a respect for human dignity. We all contribute to and benefit from a broad spectrum of unique human qualities; diversity is the energy that propels our school community forward.


List of 1 items.

DEI Committee of the DSHA Board of Directors

This committee reviews and recommends to the Board policies and programs to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion, along with providing oversight and recommendations for the approach, communication, and execution of our DEI work at DSHA.
  • Brigitte Hyler Richerson, Chair
  • Juan Banda
  • Aaron Lipski
  • Arlisia McHenry
  • Derek Mosley
  • S. Carol Thresher, SDS, DS '59
  • Cynthia Blaze, DSHA Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion 
  • Brian Calhoun, DSHA Health & Fitness Department Chair
  • Katie Konieczny, DSHA '92, DSHA President
  • Dan Quesnell, DSHA Principal

Catholic Social Teaching and Racial Justice

Within the Catholic tradition, conversations around racial justice should include reference to papal encyclicals and the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) documents that challenge us to have a robust commitment to ending all types of prejudice in our culture.

It is through the document Open Wide our Hearts: The Enduring Call to Love, a Pastoral Letter Against Racism that we are most currently and explicitly called, as Catholics, to address all of the ways that racism impacts our world. Acknowledgement, awareness, reflection, and healing can happen if we dedicate time to dialogue with those who have different backgrounds and life experiences. We must open wide our hearts to one another and to God’s Word.

Curriculum and Student Experience Grounded in Catholic Social Teaching and Guided by the USCCB

At DSHA, our curriculum is in alignment with the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) and its call to Catholic Social Teaching. Our theology curriculum, in particular, is aligned with the USCCB document Doctrinal Elements of a Curriculum Framework for the Development of Catechetical Materials for Young People of High School Age. In addition, curriculum on Catholic Social Teaching is consistent with and guided by the USCCB. The Bishops remind us that we “are all brothers and sisters, all equally made in the image of God” in their 2018 Open Wide Our Hearts document. This document builds on the teachings of Saint John Paul II, Pope Benedict XVI, and Pope Francis, and calls us to build a diverse, equitable, and inclusive school community. DSHA is committed to the magisterial call to “open wide our hearts”; we are committed to the whole person and the myriad of personal experiences, values, perspectives, talents, and worldviews that arise from differences in culture and circumstances. Much like the world today, as a school we must work hard to foster relationships and a classroom/community culture that allows for civil dialogue, for differences to be expressed and respected, and for the ability to gracefully disagree with one another.
The USCCB forcefully calls out racism and systemic racism as sinful in their 2018 document. It tells us as Catholics, racism in our society is a violation of human dignity and justice. In battling racism, the USCCB issues a call in alignment with scripture to create opportunities to listen and know the varying experiences – particularly the difficult experiences – of our sisters and brothers across racial, ethnic, and cultural differences. They urge us to work actively toward justice and to educate ourselves to do so. The USCCB tells us to be open to encountering new relationships; to be willing to change structures; and to remain committed to the dignity of each human life.
Each senior is enrolled in a Catholic Social Teaching course during her second semester as part of the daily theology curriculum.

Notable Terms

List of 3 items.

  • Human Dignity

    • From the Catechism of the Catholic Church: “The dignity of the human person is rooted in his creation in the image and likeness of God”.
    • In the lived experience of the Church, human dignity can be protected and a healthy community can be achieved only if human rights are protected and responsibilities are met. Therefore, every person has a fundamental right to life and a right to those things required for human decency.
    • 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.
  • Common Good

    • In theological terms, the common good is defined in Pope John XXIII’s encyclical Mater et Magistra (On Christianity and Social Progress, 1961) as “the sum total of social conditions which allow people, either as groups or as individuals, to reach their fulfillment more fully and more easily.” 
    • From The Catechism of Catholic Church:
    “The common good concerns the life of all. It calls for prudence from each, and even more from those who exercise the office of authority. It consists of three essential elements: 

    First, the common good presupposes respect for the person as such. In the name of the common good, public authorities are bound to respect the fundamental and inalienable rights of the human person. Society should permit each of its members to fulfill his vocation. In particular, the common good resides in the conditions for the exercise of the natural freedoms indispensable for the development of the human vocation, such as "the right to act according to a sound norm of conscience and to safeguard . . . privacy, and rightful freedom also in matters of religion.

    Second, the common good requires the social well-being and development of the group itself. Development is the epitome of all social duties. Certainly, it is the proper function of authority to arbitrate, in the name of the common good, between various particular interests; but it should make accessible to each what is needed to lead a truly human life: food, clothing, health, work, education and culture, suitable information, the right to establish a family, and so on.

    Finally, the common good requires peace, that is, the stability and security of a just order. It presupposes that authority should ensure by morally acceptable means the security of society and
    its members. It is the basis of the right to legitimate personal and collective defense.”
    • Solidarity

      The common good as a foundational principle is closely intertwined with Human dignity and leads to solidarity*. In Sollicitudo Rei Socialis (1987) John Paul II says the following:

      "When interdependence becomes recognized …, the correlative response as a moral and social attitude, as a 'virtue,' is solidarity. This then is not a feeling of vague compassion or shallow distress at the misfortunes of so many people, both near and far. On the contrary, it is a firm and persevering determination to commit oneself to the common good; that is to say to the good of all and of each individual, because we are all really responsible for all." (para. 38)

      *Solidarity is also one of the 7 Themes of Catholic Social Teaching, which are highlighted as the first guiding principle for instruction and formation in the Catholic Social Responsibility Guidebook for Catholic Schools.

    USCCB Documents

    List of 3 items.

    • Open Wide our Hearts, 2018

      • “Racism can often be found in our hearts—in many cases placed there unwillingly or unknowingly by our upbringing and culture. As such, it can lead to thoughts and actions that we do not even see as racist, but nonetheless flow from the same prejudicial root. Consciously or subconsciously, this attitude of superiority can be seen in how certain groups of people are vilified, called criminals, or are perceived as being unable to contribute to society, even unworthy of its benefits.”
      • “…each of us should adopt the words of Pope Francis as our own: let no one ‘think that this invitation is not meant for him or her.’ All of us are in need of personal, ongoing conversion. Our churches and our civic and social institutions are in need of ongoing reform. If racism is confronted by addressing its causes and the injustice it produces, then healing can occur. In that transformed reality, the headlines we see all too often today will become lessons from the past.”
      • “Too many good and faithful Catholics remain unaware of the connection between institutional racism and the continued erosion of the sanctity of life. We are not finished with the work. The evil of racism festers in part because, as a nation, there has been very limited formal acknowledgement of the harm done to so many, no moment of atonement, no national process of reconciliation and, all too often a neglect of our history.”
      • “As Christians, we are called to listen and know the stories of our brothers and sisters.”
      • “To work at ending racism, we need to engage the world and encounter others—to see, maybe for the first time, those who are on the peripheries of our own limited view. Knowing that the Lord has taken the divine initiative by loving us first, we can boldly go forward, reaching out to others. We must invite into dialogue those we ordinarily would not seek out. We must work to form relationships with those we might regularly try to avoid. This demands that we go beyond ourselves, opening our minds and hearts to value and respect the experiences of those who have been harmed by the evil of racism.”
      • “Here we call on our religious education programs, Catholic schools, and Catholic publishing companies to develop curricula relating to racism and reconciliation. Our campus ministers should plan young adult reflections and discussions that strive to build pathways toward racial equality and healing.”
    • Brothers and Sisters to Us, 1979

      • “Mindful of its duty to be the advocate for those who hunger and thirst for justice's sake, the church cannot remain silent about the racial injustices in society and its own structures."
      • “Racism is the sin that says some human beings are inherently superior and others essentially inferior because of race."
      • "Crude and blatant expression of racist sentiment, though they occasionally exist, are today considered bad form. Yet racism itself persists in convert ways. Under the guise of other motives, it is manifest in the tendency to stereotype and marginalize whole segments of the population whose presence perceived as a threat."
      • "Today's racism flourishes in the triumph of private concern over public responsibility, individual success over social commitment, and personal fulfillment over authentic compassion."
      • “There must be no turning back along the road of justice, no sighing for bygone times of privilege, no nostalgia for simple solutions from another age. For we are children of the age to come, when the first shall be last and the last first, when blessed are they who serve Christ the Lord in all His brothers and sisters, especially those who are poor and suffer injustice.”
    • Additional USCCB Resources

      On the USCCB website, there are corresponding background reflections/conversations that extend to contemporary issues in light of the teachings in Open Wide Our Hearts. These are extremely helpful and help support that our Church very much sees an intersection of poverty and racism in our culture.

      Click here for additional USCCB resources; scroll down to the section entitled “Backgrounders”.

    Loving One Another Through Catholic Social Responsibility | Milwaukee Archdiocesan Guidance:

    To assist schools, the Archdiocese has created The Catholic Social Responsibility Guidebook, a resource grounded in Catholic Social Teachings, Scripture, official Church documents, and the National Standards and Benchmarks for Effective Catholic Schools. It provides educators with clearly identified guiding principles for Catholic Social Responsibility, Catholic theological resources corresponding to each of the contemporary challenges, and demonstrated alignment of Catholic Social Teachings to current Archdiocesan curriculum, policies, and accreditation standards.
    The guidebook focuses on four main challenges found in society today — Culture, Racism, Civic Participation for the Common Good, and Economics. We focus on these challenges through the lens of our Guiding Principles: Catholic Social Teachings provide the foundation for the instruction and formation of our Catholic school communities regarding all social issues; Catholic schools participate directly in the evangelizing mission of the Church and, as such, are called to “make disciples of all”; as central to their mission, Catholic schools will educate the whole student by effectively integrating faith, culture, and life; Catholic schools will teach and model the essence of Catholic social action: love for God and neighbor; and respect for all people will be a fundamental expectation for every member of our Catholic school communities.

    Initiatives & Events

    • Dasher Dialogues: The Student Diversity Council selects topics of interest to discuss during Dasher time. Dialogues occur monthly, and topics vary based on current events. There are typically five or six Dasher Dialogues held each year. Topics have included use of the "n" word, the NFL National Anthem controversy, the non-renewal of the DACA program, and the history of the Civil Rights Movement in Milwaukee.
    • Black History Month Mass: This Mass is celebrated in conjunction with Black History Month and Multicultural Week. The Mass is planned and organized by the Sisters of Culture Club in conjunction with Campus Ministry. Worship includes student-led gospel music and a worship dance performance.
    • Our Lady of Guadalupe Bilingual Mass: This all-school bilingual Mass annually celebrates Our Lady of Guadalupe, the patron of the Americas. It is held each December and planned by the Furia Latina Club in conjunction with Campus Ministry. 
    • Multicultural Production: DSHA's Multicultural Production is held every other April. Students of all cultural backgrounds are invited to perform an expression of their culture through song, dance, literature, and more.
    • Multicultural Dance: DSHA hosts a Multicultural Dance every other year, which is open to students from all area high schools. Before the dance, DSHA hosts a powerful open-mic, which is always well-attended by students.
    • Multicultural Assembly: DSHA's Multicultural Assembly highlights the importance of diversity at DSHA, and students of diverse backgrounds are invited to share their expereriences with the entire school community. The assembly takes place annually in February.
    • Civil Rights Pilgrimage: DSHA has partnered with other area high schools to delve into the exploration of a chapter of our shared American history, that of the Civil Rights Movement, through the lens of faith and prayer. Students explored the impact this history has on our current life together in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Partnering schools included Dominican High School, Marquette University High School, and Messmer High School. The pilgrimage takes place every other year. 
    • All-School Reads
      • 2016: I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban, by Malala Yousafzai
      • 2017: Small Great Things, by Jodi Picoult
      • 2019: The Book of Unknown Americans, by Christina Hernandez
      • 2020: Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption, by Bryan Stevenson
    • Cultural Community Connections Parent Organization (C3PO): This is a group of parents raising Black girls who are working together to strengthen and support the DSHA experience for parents, daughters, and the school community. C3PO works collaboratively with DSHA to cultivate an inclusive, nurturing and transparent environment for Black girls, through supporting parental and student engagement in current and new academic, social and service opportunities that promote inclusion, communication, leadership and authentic participation.


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