On October 21, 2023, Gill St. Bernard's School hosted 105 students and faculty from 12 independent schools for the fourth annual Middle School Equity and Inclusion Summit. The event, themed "Creating Space for Authentic Voices at the Intersection of Technology, Culture, & Identity," provided students with the tools and resources to be change agents in their school communities, particularly as they navigate the digital age.
Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, & Community
We affirm that a diverse community of students, faculty, administration, staff, trustees, and alumni is essential to who we are as a school. We respect and value diversity, which includes, but is not limited to, race, ethnicity, religion, national origin, family structure, age, physical ability, sexual orientation, and socioeconomic background, as the basis for fostering a strong sense of self, community, and global understanding.
GSB is mission-driven to be an inclusive, multicultural community that respects individual differences, inspires commitment to one another, and prepares students for the colleges, workplaces, and neighborhoods of their futures.
Recognizing that diversity is essential for creating an environment that is conducive to excellence in education, GSB fosters and supports meaningful diversity throughout our school and community by deepening our students' understanding of differences in race, ethnicity, religion, gender, sexual identity, ability, age and socioeconomic status.
We believe a school community should reflect a variety of ethnic, racial, economic, religious and social circumstances; all are fundamental to a 21st century education. Among its core values, Gill affirms that a diverse learning community of students, faculty, administration, trustees, alumni and staff is an essential element to who we are as a school.
Beginning with the early childhood program and culminating in the Lower School, Middle School, and Upper School, GSB students respect and value individual differences, seeing them as the basis for fostering a strong sense of self, community, and global understanding.
Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, & Community (DEIC) Action Plan
In response to the continuing racial heartache that is befalling our nation, Gill St. Bernard’s School openly embraces and accepts its responsibility for resetting curriculum, programs, policies, and practices as the basis for long-term, comprehensive, and sustainable change. In collaboration with the broader GSB community, including students, parents, faculty, staff, alumni, senior administration, and the board of trustees, we are intentionally listening to and learning from all voices, including those who have been marginalized and often unheard. Aligned with the school’s 2019-2024 Strategic Plan, we created the Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Community (DEIC) Action Plan to serve as a guiding framework for improving and enhancing the racial, ethnic, and multicultural climate in our school and in creating an authentically inclusive anti-racist community.
The concept of diversity encompasses acceptance and respect. It means understanding that each individual is unique, and recognizing our individual differences. These can be along the dimensions of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, age, physical abilities, religious beliefs, political beliefs, or other ideologies.
It is the exploration of these differences in a safe, positive, and nurturing environment and that we move beyond simple tolerance to embracing and celebrating the rich dimensions of diversity contained within each individual.
Diversity is a reality created by individuals and groups from a broad spectrum of demographic and philosophical differences.
It is important to support and protect diversity because by valuing individuals and groups free from prejudice, we foster a climate where equity and mutual respect are intrinsic. "Diversity" means more than just acknowledging and/or tolerating difference.
Diversity is a set of conscious practices that involve:
- Understanding and appreciating interdependence of humanity, cultures, and the natural environment;
- Practicing mutual respect for qualities and experiences that are different from our own;
- Understanding that diversity includes not only ways of being but also ways of knowing; and
- Building alliances across differences so that we can work together to build a more supportive community.
Diversity includes knowing how to relate to those qualities and conditions that are different from our own and outside the groups to which we belong, yet are present in other individuals and groups.
These include but are not limited to age, ethnicity, class, gender, physical abilities/qualities, race, sexual identity, as well as religious status, gender expression, educational background, geographical location, income, marital status, parental status, and work experiences.
Finally, we acknowledge that categories of difference are not always fixed but also can be fluid, we respect individual rights to self-identification, and we recognize that no one culture is intrinsically superior to another.
Student & Community Engagement
Own a Piece of GSB History: Purchase Your Limited Edition Hardcover Today!
GSB honors Black History Month by celebrating past and present figures and connecting with Black alumni.
GSB’s Culture Night Fair welcomed over 225 guests from the community into the SBS Pavillion on Thursday, January 27, 2023, for a family fun event sponsored by the Parents’ Association to share and celebrate the unique heritages of our diverse community.
After two years of being virtual, Gill St. Bernard’s School hosted 9 independent schools and over 70 students and faculty in person for the third annual Middle School Equity and Inclusion Summit.
GSB parent and creator/founder of the non-profit Don’t Hide It, Flaunt It (DHIFI), Meg Zucker P’25, visited GSB lower and middle school students as part of our Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Community (DEIC) programming recognizing National Disability Awareness Month.
For the past 30 days, the GSB community has organized a variety of events and activities to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month and create deeper connections with one another.
From fundraisers to movie nights, students celebrated GSB Pride Month in several ways throughout April.
As Gill St. Bernard’s celebrates National Girls and Women in Sports Day, we’re proud to announce Anna Gnapp ’22 as this year’s nominee for the NJSIAA NJ Woman of the Year.
In classrooms, hallways, and community spaces across campus, GSB is coming together to recognize and celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month.
Though Pride Month is typically celebrated in June, GSB dedicated the month of April to recognize and support the LGBTQ+ community while students were still on campus during the school year.
The Gender and Sexuality Alliance Club welcomed a virtual visitor at its last meeting to help plan the upcoming Student Forum about identity and expression. Jack Riccardo-Wood '17, GSA’s co-founder, Zoomed into Thursday’s meeting to offer guidance for the April 15 community-wide event.
A Bahamian Junkanoo Parade kicked off our Third Annual Culture Night last Thursday, followed by something for everyone – South African Jerusalema dance lessons, Italian cooking tips, Henna art demonstrations, and even a talk about the Greek evil eye. More than 50 families celebrated the many heritages at GSB through virtual presentations of food, music, and discussions highlighting countries and traditions from around the world.
In celebration of International Women's Day, three student leaders, Isha Vemuri '22, MJ Granito '22, and Jessica Jose-Navarrete '22, presented remarks at the Upper School Assembly today.
During a virtual visit with TAHIRA – a talented storyteller, musician, and poet who shared her heartfelt Freedom Stories – our Lower School students shimmied and waved their hands to inspiring spirituals, clearly enjoying this lively celebration of Black History Month.
The list of Max Siegel's achievements is long and impressive: the first African American to graduate Notre Dame Law School with honors, a nationally renowned sports and entertainment executive, and owner of Revolution Racing, a NASCAR race team.
Seventh grade poets shared their vision for a brighter future in Ms. Tuohy's English class recently. Their works – influenced by civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr., and writer Langston Hughes – explored themes of hope and change, inspired by a national poetry challenge from kid's book writer Kwame Alexander.
In honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, Lower School students presented poems, recited songs, and shared words of inspiration at Wednesday's virtual Town Meeting.
This year marked the first time in GSB's history that its students participated in SDLC. Previously, attendees traveled to different locations, but because the conference was presented virtually this year, GSB students could participate remotely while managing their academic work.
Broader Community Connections
The diversity of our community is matched by our emphasis on multicultural education and our ongoing focus on the lived experience of our community members inside and outside the walls of the school. At GSB, we are aware that we live in a global community and that contributions to our society have come from every corner of the globe and every strata of society.
Middle School Equity and Inclusion Summit
Hosted by GSB, this conference brings together seventh and eighth grade independent and public-school students to engage in discussions centered on inclusion and belonging in their schools. The conference aims to help student leaders become agents of change in their communities.
Alumni of Color Network
In partnership with the Director of Alumni Affairs, the Alumni of Color Network provides an additional space for our alumni to connect with each other across interests, professions, and graduation class, as well as to stay connected to the current student community.