Whitfield's Statement on Diversity and Inclusion was composed by a task force of current parents, alumni parents, teachers, administrators, and trustees and approved by the Board of Trustees in February 2015. The board's official adoption of this statement represents a historic moment in Whitfield's institutional life and a clarification of an essential aspect of the school's mission.
Whitfield's Statement on Diversity & Inclusion does not define the kind of diversity we seek or attempt to enumerate its many possible manifestations. The decision to avoid this level of specificity was purposeful so not to limit the definition to its most obvious and typical applications.
We believe that diversity refers to the various types of people who compose our school community, people whose differences are sometimes outwardly apparent and sometimes not. Inclusion, on the other hand, refers to the school’s practices, policies, and activities which ensure that all of us derive the maximum knowledge and benefit from our shared experience.
We strive to provide our students with the very best preparation for life and work in the 21st century. And the goal for our children must not simply be a “level of comfort” with the various kinds of people they will encounter in the years ahead; they must also be able to appreciate, respect, and benefit from the manifold viewpoints such people represent.
I would describe the Whitfield community to an outsider as a place where you can feel comfortable and included. Speaking to students, teachers and parents, you instantly feel a part of the community. Diversity isn’t only embraced but expected in the Whitfield community. ZOË GOFFE '21
Students of Color
Faculty of Color
Zip codes represented by current students
- Diversity Awareness Club
- Board of Trustees Task Force
- Student Affinity Groups
- Professional Development for Faculty & Staff
- Conference Opportunities for Students
- Speakers & Special Programs
- Advisory Discussions & Activities
- Ongoing Review of Policies & Practices
In the fall of 2015, the Board of Trustees commissioned a Task Force to explore initiatives to increase diversity and inclusion in our student body and the broader school community. This group, comprised of trustees, current and alumni parents, faculty and staff, met to develop and document a three-year strategy which began in the 2015-2016 school year.
Whitfield Affinity Groups are student clubs for students who share an identity, background, or affiliation. These facilitated groups enable students to explore and reflect on their own identity, to celebrate shared culture and traditions, and to discuss common experiences, needs, and challenges. Affinity groups also offer an opportunity for mentorship, support, and community building.
A critical component of Whitfield’s commitment to equity and inclusion is ongoing professional development for faculty and staff. Throughout the year there are multiple opportunities (both required and optional) for faculty and staff to build cultural competencies and to deepen understanding and develop skills around issues of identity, bias, and creating inclusive classrooms.
The Director of Equity & Inclusion and invited guests provide workshops and trainings on topics such as classroom culture, implicit bias in teaching, recognizing and responding to microaggressions, and supporting LGBT students.
Faculty and staff regularly participate in local, regional, and national conferences and workshops on equity and inclusion, including NAIS People of Color Conference, Teaching Tolerance Workshops, and the Educators for Social Justice Educating for Change Conference.
In addition to the many in-school programs, students wishing to further explore topics of equity, inclusion, and social justice have several opportunities throughout their time at Whitfield to attend off-campus events, including the NAIS Student Diversity Leadership Conference as well as local speakers and workshops.
Whitfield regularly invites speakers, hosts film screenings, and engages in other activities on equity and inclusion topics, to celebrate national holidays, recognition events, and to expand on our curriculum. Recent examples have included a call for community service in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service, a community-wide address on the importance of recognizing Black History Month, a speaker for National Coming Out Day, and a special presentation about the Holocaust.
The Habits of Mind & Heart Curriculum used in Advisory helps students understand their strengths of character and the contribution this understanding makes to their personal growth, as well as to their local, national, and global communities. All of the habits, particularly cultural competence, ethical conduct, and citizenship, intersect with the lessons of equity and inclusion. Through age-appropriate activities and discussions in Advisory, students build skills and knowledge around such topics as developing empathy, understanding privilege, making connections across difference, and exploring personal and social identity.
"As our Diversity and Inclusion statement makes clear, diversity, equity, and inclusion are all important Whitfield values, essential to our mission. My position as Director of Equity & Inclusion (begun June '18 as result of the strategic plan) allows dedicated focus and support for these values. When I think about what an inclusive and equitable community looks like, I think of a place where all of us are welcomed, valued, and supported, and where we all have every opportunity to participate and to succeed. It is a place where we recognize that sometimes our differences give us certain advantages or disadvantages and that it is our responsibility as a community to be aware of that fact and to examine everything that we do in order to remove any barriers that prevent everyone from taking full advantage of the Whitfield experience."