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.