DEI in the Schoolhouse

Lower School

Understanding Community in the Lower School

As early as Kindergarten, we are dedicated to ensuring that we educate even our youngest minds and hearts on the importance of embracing and celebrating the diversity of cultures, languages, and identities throughout our community and our world. We are encouraging acceptance and appreciation at every class level in the following ways:

Community Class

In our Community class, students in Kindergarten, Class I, and Class II begin their journey of developing a greater understanding of and appreciation for differences. They discover and learn how these differences create a mosaic of human experiences, which are central elements in a fulfilling and enriching learning environment and prepare the foundation for a successful life. Through various inquiry-based, individual, and small group projects, they are guided and encouraged to see themselves as active and productive participants in creating a better world for themselves and their respective communities.

Lower School Spanish Program

The Lower School Spanish program’s emphasis on cultural exploration is centered around providing students with several immersive, real-life experiences as an opportunity for meaningful, authentic learning

History of New York

Class II studies the geography and people of New York City, focusing on how the city has changed over time. The curriculum is brought to life with frequent field trips, hands-on projects, books, photos, and online (audio-visual) media.

Human Rights

Class III students learn to effectively, empathetically, and critically look at current events and history through multiple lenses, understanding the rights and responsibilities of people as global citizens. Some of the themes of our study include geography, the United Nations, the rights of the child and the sustainable development goals, and strong female change-makers and role models.

Democracy, Citizenship, and Social Justice

Democracy and Citizenship
Class IV students build an understanding of democracy and its role in building and sustaining communities.

Social Justice Movements
Through a selection of historical nonfiction picture books, novels, and digital articles, Class IV students learn about and investigate the history of various social justice movements in the United States. Through this study, students gain exposure to a variety of change-makers and social justice leaders. They use this knowledge as a foundation for their final cumulative research project and presentation.

Middle School

Developing Comfort, Connections, and Courage in the Middle School

As students navigate their own identities and learn more about the cultures and experiences of their classmates, we believe it is important to provide outlets for expression, exploration, and appreciation of one another’s histories and heritage. We are encouraging acceptance and appreciation at every class level in the following ways:

Community Time

Through an advising curriculum rooted in conversations about race and identity, and complementary assemblies and town hall meetings, students deepen their understanding of systemic racism and other forms of intolerance, including anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, xenophobia, homophobia, transphobia and gender discrimination, and they develop the vulnerability, language, and tools to create a community and world that is actively anti-racist and equitable.

Middle School Inclusivity Board

Members of the Middle School Inclusivity board work with the Director of Diversity to plan programming for assemblies and various cultural celebrations.

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Class VIII

Comfort, Connections, Courage: In this course, students develop the following skills: COMFORT with discussing challenging topics, which will come from a safe and trust-filled environment created together; the motivation and ability to make CONNECTIONS with others, especially others with whom they have less in common; and the COURAGE to engage in the work of creating a more inclusive and equitable community for all, both within and beyond the blue doors.

Class VIII History

In students' capstone year in the Middle School, they are immersed in a course focused on race, racism, anti-racism, and human rights in America. Beginning with a study of the Black Lives Matter movement and race in contemporary America, as the year unfolds, students uncover how systems of oppression were built and how Americans have worked and sacrificed to try to dismantle them. In the pursuit of truth, we amplify voices that have been missing from the narrative, and the year culminates in students' creation of memorials to those Americans not sufficiently recognized by history.

Upper School

Empowering Catalysts for Social Change in the Upper School

As we prepare our older students to lead at Nightingale and after they walk out of our blue doors, we are dedicated to providing opportunities and responsibilities for critical engagement around topics of race, equity, and social justice that empower our students to be catalysts for social change. The following resources and initiatives are designed to support these conversations:

Going Beyond Barriers

Over four years, students reflect on social issues, their roles in the community, and how they can make positive changes. They identify leadership behaviors and hone communication skills through public speaking. The sequence culminates by answering life’s essential questions through a multitude of lenses and educating minds and hearts in a way only Nightingale can do.

Affinity Groups

Under the leadership of the Upper School Inclusivity Board, students in the Upper School have dedicated time during the school day to engage in conversations about shared identity and fellowship.

Global Partnerships/Community Engagement

We strive to give students the skills they need to become globally competent youth. Through discussions about current events around the world, serving our local communities, and travel, students are immersed in situations that demonstrate the breadth of experiences and cultures across the globe.

Student Conferences

  • Student Diversity Leadership Conference (SDLC)
  • Diversity Awareness Initiative for Students (DAIS)
  • Latinx Youth Conference to Latinx Educators in New York Independent Schools
  • Latinx Youth Conference
  • YALA (Young Asian Leadership Alliance) Gala

Student-led Clubs

  • Asian Culture Club
  • Latin Club
  • Ladies of Color Stand (LOCS)
  • Spectrum
  • Jewish Culture Club
  • CAFÉ (Cultural Awareness for Everyone)
  • Women’s Rights Club