We are Committed to an Inclusive and Anti-Racist Nightingale

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion are at the core of our purpose and work at Nightingale. We are committed to ensuring that all students feel empowered to thrive and that all races, ethnicities, religions, sexual orientations, and gender identities are respected and valued.

Nightingale’s ongoing commitment to educate the minds and hearts of all who walk through our blue doors is key developing critical thinkers and compassionate citizens. Our work is a lifelong commitment to fostering a supportive, anti-racist community where all current and future generations of students are celebrated and affirmed. Together, we are strengthening our work and our impact for Nightingale’s second century.

DEI Leadership

Meet Our Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Team

Nightingale’s diversity, equity, and inclusion work is led by the Assistant Head of School for Diversity and Equity, Johara Sealy, and a team of divisional coordinators, all of whom guide members of the Nightingale community into a clearer understanding of each of our roles in the work of equity and justice. Ms. Sealy collaborates with three divisional equity coordinators: Megan Westman (Lower School Librarian) in the Lower School, Zahra Ruffin (Middle School Associate) in the Middle School, and Stefan Bindley-Taylor (English Faculty) in the Upper School.

The DEI team believes strongly that advancing equity work, within and beyond the blue doors, is a shared responsibility and lifelong journey. Beginning with self-reflection and emphasizing community care, the equity coordinators work within their respective divisions to cultivate and sustain an inclusive, intentional, and equitable community. In collaboration with the Assistant Head of School for Diversity and Equity, the coordinators offer an equity-centered perspective on all aspects of programming designed to empower members of the community in joyful learning, critical thinking, and personal agency. Their work includes building programming, curriculum development, holding office hours for students and professional community members, supporting student-led initiatives like the inclusivity boards and affinity spaces, and working towards professional community accountability through leadership and coaching.

“As a team, we hold the following values as core to our mission and vision as an institution: difference as a source of strength and means of growth, the elevation and empowerment of student voice, and the pursuit of equity for the betterment of all. We believe in building a community where students, professional community members, and families can exist as they are, without compromise. We believe in empowering students to share their experiences and speak truth to power. We are committed to elevating and centering their voices moving forward. We are committed to creating a community where all are seen, heard, valued, and given unique pathways to excel. We believe that in doing so, we work to advance justice both within and outside of the schoolhouse.”

"We are committed to creating a community where all are seen, heard, valued, and given unique pathways to excel."

Building A Better Nightingale

We are creating a more equitable model for belonging.

As we continue to answer Nightingale’s second century call to build a more inclusive learning environment, we are taking a comprehensive approach to ensuring that each student is confident that they belong. Our work is informed by input from our community and leading experts in diversity, equity, inclusion, education, and restorative practices.

We Are Fostering an Anti-Racist Environment

At Nightingale, we are continually assessing our policies, procedures, and protocols to ensure that the Schoolhouse is a truly anti-racist space. We are actively engaging experts in diversity, equity, and inclusion to recommend curriculum updates, improve diversity in hiring, provide faculty with resources to deepen their knowledge of equity literacy and strengthen belonging with inclusive programming and affinity groups for students and alumnae. Success will continue to require feedback and engagement from all members of our community. Together, we reach higher.

We are Evolving our Curriculum

We believe that a curriculum that is reflective of the world we live in is integral to educating the next generation of critical thinkers and compassionate changemakers. Each year, our department heads conduct a deep dive into our pedagogy and curriculum to develop more culturally competent lessons. Coursework throughout the Schoolhouse will be updated to explore the lived experiences of people of color through a holistic lens to disrupt notions that any one experience is monolithic. Faculty are introducing more works by people of color while ensuring that these works are normalized, not tokenized, within the curriculum. Our grading practices undergo periodic review to promote equity and to allow for risk-taking by students without penalty.

We are Recruiting and Retaining a More Diverse Faculty

We are committed to ensuring that our faculty reflect the diverse backgrounds and experiences of the students they teach. Our commitment to antiracism is included in all hiring and admissions materials, including all contracts with those we hire. To help recruit a more diverse and representative faculty and staff, Nightingale partners with historically Black colleges and universities and organizations that specialize in employee diversity. All incoming faculty meet with our Student Hiring Committee, consisting of students voted upon by their peers and Johara Sealy, our assistant heaad of school for diversity and equity, as part of the standard interview process.

We Are Holding Ourselves Accountable to Our Community

We want every member of the Nightingale community to feel celebrated and empowered. To ensure that we are creating enduring, sustainable change, Nightingale has conducted a climate survey and is incorporating best practices from other educational institutions with strong records of inclusivity and equity. We are creating an independent bias incident protocol to ensure that students can comfortably report micro-aggressions or racist behavior that will be addressed transparently. The student handbook has been amended to include more explicit protections for students and to reflect our absolute intolerance for racism, discrimination, and micro-aggressions. The Nightingale community’s engagement is essential to this work, and we continue to update our students, families, faculty and alumnae regularly.

DEI in Our Schoolhouse

DEI is an Integral Part of the Schoolhouse

At Nightingale, we believe that the core principles of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion are foundational values that should be built upon throughout our students’ entire educational experience with our community.

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.

READ MORE ABOUT DEI IN THE LOWER 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.

READ MORE ABOUT DEI IN THE MIDDLE 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:

READ MORE ABOUT DEI IN THE UPPER SCHOOL

DEI in Our Community

Our commitment stretches beyond the blue doors

Our families are imperative in our work to create an anti-racist environment at Nightingale, in our learning, and in reinforcing our lessons on cultural competency and anti-racism at home. The following groups and resources present opportunities for our parents to engage more deeply in this work.

  • DEI Training for the Parents Association

    Members of our Parents Association attend diversity training to help parent volunteers engage in conversations about the effects of unconscious biases to better understand, build, and sustain strong relationships in our community.

  • Parents of Daughters of Color (PODOC)

    PODOC is committed to creating a safe and open space for all parents who identify as having daughters of color. Through building community through fellowship, sharing common experiences, and developing strategies to support their daughters along their social, emotional, and academic journeys, parents endeavor to find positive ways to ensure that their daughters are socially and academically successful during and beyond their Nightingale experience.

  • Parent Speaker Series & Diversiteas

    These series present opportunities for parents to engage in and enhance their own learning around issues that affect the social, emotional, and academic endeavors of their children.

  • The Erika Hageman Robinson Majesty Fund

    The Erika Hageman Robinson Majesty Fund is dedicated to supporting and strengthening the school's diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives. This fund, created thanks to alumnae engagement, is named in honor of Erika Hageman Robinson ’75, the first Black student to have enrolled at Nightingale in 1965.

Still have questions? Reach out at any time.