Alice Prince considers both of her grandmothers as the foundation for her Catholic faith. She was named after her grandmother, Alice Walker, who was raised by religious sisters almost a century ago at a Catholic orphanage in Baltimore. Walker and other African-American orphans were kept segregated in the basement. She eventually came to St. Louis to train as a nurse at the former Homer G. Phillips Hospital, which at the time was the only place west of the Mississippi to offer medical training to people of color.
Now at 95, Walker is certainly proud of the new role her granddaughter has taken on as diversity and inclusion consultant for nine Catholic schools in the Archdiocese of St. Louis. The position is funded through a $50,000 Beyond Sunday grant from the Roman Catholic Foundation of Eastern Missouri.
“She’s happy that I am following the footsteps that Jesus has laid out for me,” Prince said.
As diversity and inclusion consultant, Prince is working with the nine schools that are part of the Federation of Catholic Schools in North County to take a closer look at supporting the racial, cultural and religious diversity of students in these schools (see related).
Prince said the work will encompass areas including student-parent relationships, student-teacher relationships, classroom climate, school culture, curriculum, teaching techniques for students of different abilities, discipline policies, and how schools recruit new hires. She already has been leading educator workshops on topics such as intercultural fluency, and visiting schools. By June 2020, each school will have developed an individual plan to address the needs of students and families.
“It’s exciting because this is how God wants us to be,” she said. “He wants us to be diverse and inclusive. We are all the face of God, so that’s what makes this work so important. It embodies Jesus’ mission. That’s the cornerstone and foundation when I go out and teach workshops.”
Prince will lean on the guidance of a core diversity committee, made up of pastors, principals and Rick Danzeisen, director of North County Catholic elementary schools. Each school also will form a core committee including parents, principal, pastor and other members of the school’s parish community.
Through meeting students, parents and school staff, Prince said that this effort “has been embraced. There’s no pushback with it. People are wanting to learn how I can be a better version of me. At the end of the day, this impacts kids. And we know that research has shown when kids feel included, they will succeed. We’re able to have those courageous conversations and see how they’re being impacted.”
Prince has a master’s degree and doctorate in educational leadership and is an adjunct faculty member at Maryville University. She and her family attend St. Nicholas Parish north of Downtown St. Louis. Her two youngest children attend Cardinal Ritter College Preparatory High School.
Federation of Catholic Schools in North County
Federation of Catholic Schools in North County includes nine schools.
Overall in the past 10 years, the percentage of nonCatholic students in
these schools has grown from 20% to 39%. The percentage of white
students has decreased in the past 10 years, from 72% to 52%. Black
students have increased from 20% to 33%, and Hispanic students have
increased from 2% to 7%. The nine schools include:
• St. Ann, Normandy
• Our Lady of Guadalupe, Ferguson
• Blessed Teresa of Calcutta, Ferguson
• St. Ferdinand, Florissant (All Saints Academy)
• St. Rose Philippine Duchesne, Florissant (All Saints Academy)
• St. Norbert, Florissant (All Saints Academy)
• Sacred Heart, Florissant
• Christ Light of the Nations, Spanish Lake
• Holy Spirit, Maryland Heights