Committing 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 well-represented.

Nightingale’s school year starts with a renewed commitment to educate the minds and hearts of all who walk through our blue doors. Our work is a lifelong commitment to fostering a supportive, anti-racist community where all current and future generations of students are celebrated and respected. Together, we will build Nightingale for the second century.

Read our most up-to-date action plan

DEI Leadership

Meet Our Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Team

Johara Sealy, Nightingale’s director of diversity and equity, has spearheaded our strategic Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion initiatives for the past three years. A graduate of Bryn Mawr College, Ms. Sealy believes in the transformative power of empowering young girls and women and is committed to creating spaces where all students are seen, heard, and valued. Ms. Sealy also holds a master’s degree in educational leadership politics and advocacy from New York University’s Steinhardt School of Education.

Having received a comprehensive education and cross-cultural exposure through attending an international school during her formative years, Ms. Sealy is a living testament to the benefits of an inclusive and multicultural learning community; she credits her passion for equity work to her educational experiences. Ms. Sealy is committed to collaborative change and is passionate about leveraging the multiplicity of voices and experiences in our community to build and sustain positive relationships amongst our community.

Ms. Sealy guides the members of our community into a clearer understanding that everyone has roles to play in the pursuit of equity and justice. She encourages and motivates our community members to be positive and effective agents of change on this journey.

Her team also includes divisional coordinators who support this commitment by identifying opportunities to integrate our equity initiatives and serve as resources to faculty/staff, students, and families and by ensuring that all members of our community feel a sense of belonging.

“This is our opportunity to acknowledge and learn from our past and intentionally seek to co-create a more equitable and inclusive teaching and learning experience.”

Building A Better Nightingale

We are creating a more equitable and open place to learn.

We know that to usher in a more inclusive and equitable second century at Nightingale, the work must begin immediately and endure. We have listened to the input from our community and are partnering with leading experts in diversity, equity, inclusion, education, and restorative practices to guide our actions.

We Are Fostering an Anti-Racist Environment

At Nightingale, we are establishing policies, procedures, and protocols to ensure that the Schoolhouse is a truly anti-racist space. We are actively engaging with diversity, equity, and inclusion experts to implement curriculum updates, improve diversity in hiring, and provide alumnae with inclusive programming and affinity groups. Faculty are deepening their knowledge of equity literacy and students are devoting significant time to fostering and sustaining an anti-racist environment in our first classes of the year. Success will require the changes we have made in the short term to endure in the long term, and for that, we welcome your feedback. We will reach higher, together.

We are Reforming our Entire Curriculum

Beginning with our first classes in September, students are learning what is required of them to help foster and sustain an anti-racist environment within our blue doors. We are doing a deep dive into each of our departments to develop a more culturally competent curriculum. Lessons throughout the Schoolhouse will explore the lived experiences of people of color through a holistic lens to disrupt notions that the Black experience is monolithic. Faculty will introduce more works by people of color, including novels in English and reading classes, and ensure that such works are normalized, not tokenized, within the curriculum. Grading practices will come under review to promote equity and to allow for risk-taking by students without penalty.

We are Recruiting and Retaining a More Diverse Faculty

We must ensure that our faculty reflect the diverse backgrounds and experiences of the students they teach. We are including our commitment to antiracism in all hiring and admissions materials going forward, and all contracts will require this commitment from those we hire. To help recruit a more diverse and representative faculty and staff, we are partnering with historically Black colleges and universities and organizations that specialize in employee diversity. All incoming faculty will meet with our newly formed Student Hiring Committee, consisting of students voted upon by their peers and Johara Sealy, our director of 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 will conduct a climate survey and incorporate best practices from other independent schools and universities with strong records of inclusivity and equity. We are working with an independent expert to review all existing school policies to ensure that they do not contribute to a culture of discrimination in the Schoolhouse. We are creating a bias incident protocol to ensure that students are comfortable reporting micro-aggressions or racist behavior and will address those incidents transparently. The student handbook is being amended to include more explicit protections for students and to reflect our absolute intolerance for racism, discrimination, and micro-aggressions. And as we have promised, we will provide detailed updates to the Nightingale community 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.

Still have questions? Reach out at any time.