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About

Diversity

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.

Diversity Mission Statement

Gill St. Bernard's School believes that 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 St. Bernard's 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 high school, GSB students respect and value individual differences, seeing them as the basis for fostering a strong sense of self, community, and global understanding.

Guiding Principles

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 moving 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 extremely important to support and protect diversity because by valuing individuals and groups free from prejudice, and by fostering 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;
  • Building alliances across differences so that we can work together to build a more supportive community.

Diversity includes, therefore, 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.

Commitment to Diversity & Inclusion

Why is Diversity Important?
Numerous studies have demonstrated that the diversity of a school directly contributes to the quality of its students’ education. Exposed to a variety of perspectives, students learn to think critically, to challenge their assumptions, and to explore alternative approaches and solutions to real world problems. We know as well that children grow best when they feel wholly safe and wholly welcome. Students bring their personal backgrounds and histories to the classroom and their classmates and their teachers are richer for that gift.
 
The Director of Diversity & Multicultural Affairs is charged with ensuring that diversity, social justice, and inclusivity, as foundational philosophies, are integrated throughout the community and curriculum at Gill St. Bernard's School.  The Director of Diversity & Multicultural Affairs works closely with the administration, faculty and staff, students and parents toprovide strategic leadership in the area of diversity, based upon the school's mission and long-range plan.

The diversity of our community is matched by our emphasis on multicultural education and our ongoing focus on the lived experience of our students and teachers inside and outside the walls of the school. At Gill, 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. At Gill, we prepare our students to live in the world.
 
Lower School focuses on self -discovery and inclusiveness as children grow into an awareness of community. Even our youngest members consider probing questions and are taught to respect diverse viewpoints. Assemblies spotlight world cultures, outside presenters enrich the curriculum, and promote discussion of important topics.

Middle School focuses on identity development and the intentional building of community. Within the advisory and health curriculum, extracurricular programs as well as several community service experiences, dialogues about gender, race, bullying, responsibility and social justice move students to examine their lives, question assumptions, and imagine the future.  

Upper School stresses contribution, commitment, activism and global vision. All ninth grade students attend the 9th grade seminar course emphasizing personal responsibility, cultural competency, and media literacy. Clubs such as HERO, Gender Equality Club, Multicultural Club and several community service programs foster dialogue around diversity and inclusion as well as support activities that promote equity. Local and national student diversity leadership conferences such as the annual National Association of Independent School (NAIS) Student Diversity Leadership Conference and Lead for Diversity help students step confidently into the larger world.

Faculty and Administration join forces to envision and implement diversity efforts at Gill. The Director of Diversity is a resource on diversity issues for faculty and staff in their work with students and in their development of curriculum and programs. The Director of Diversity leads professional development workshops, initiates programs, advises student groups and collaborates with parents and faculty.  

Parents support the mission of the School both at home and through active participation in school programs. The Director of Diversity & Multicultural Affairs works closely with parents to organize discussions, readings, presentations and dialogues with students and families. The Parents Association meets with the Director of Diversity throughout the year to envision programs and share concerns. Families new to the School benefit from outreach and orientation provided by the Parents Association.

Diversity Strategic Plan Parent Forum

Parents, in concert with Administrators, work to develop goal and objective recommendations that strengthen GSB’s commitment to diversity. It is an opportunity to dialogue as they ask, "What more can we do to incorporate and celebrate diversity, multiculturalism, and cultural competency here at GSB?"
Director of Diversity & Multicultural Affairs
Tracey Goodson Barrett
908-234-1611, ext. 202
tbarrett@gsbschool.org

List of 2 frequently asked questions.

Gill St. Bernard’s is a private, coeducational day school for students age three through grade 12, located in suburban New Jersey. Each of the three school divisions provides a vigorous, meaningful and age-appropriate curriculum, and all students benefit from the environmental learning opportunities that exist on our 208-acre campus.