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The Gordon School

Diversity, equity and inclusion

A timeline: Diversity and equity throughout the years

Ongoing programs

Gordon’s equity and inclusion programs support the mission of the school, by ensuring that every student and family feels entitled to full membership in the community. The school supports affinity groups, which recognizes shared experiences and promotes cross-cultural dialogue.
 
Affinity groups
• Parents of Students of Color is a network of parents who meet regularly throughout the school year to support students of color.

• Common Ground is a voluntary program that began in 2006 for students of color that begins in the first grade and ends in eighth grade. 

In 2010, Gordon's Faculty of Color program expanded to become a series of race-based affinity group meetings for all faculty and staff.
 
In 2015, the Antiracism Working Group for White Parents was formed, with regular meetings throughout the year and a series of cross-racial dialogues in partnership with the Parents of Students of Color.

Board leadership
Board members, parents, and administrators serve on the Board's Diversity Committee, which provides advice and counsel on issues of equity and the implementation of the goals of the Strategic Plan.

Professional development
A portion of Gordon’s professional development is devoted to the work of becoming an excellent multicultural educator. Faculty and staff meet regularly in affinity group structures to work on understanding how racial identity development influences teaching practice and effectiveness. They also investigate how many of their identities, such as gender, ability, religion, socioeconomic class, sexual orientation, age and other characteristics influence how people teach and learn, and how students engage in the learning process.

Workshops and presentations 
Gordon encourages students and faculty to attend diversity conferences such as New England Conference on Multicultural Education, Teaching for the Future: A Conference for Middle School Faculty, International NAME, AISNE Diversity Conference, NAIS People of Color Conference, Annual White Privilege Conference, AISNE Middle School Students of Color Conference and the Diversity Directions Independent School Seminar. Gordon faculty presents at many conferences across the country. 

Diversity

Vision
Gordon recruits and enrolls a racially diverse student body, giving children of various backgrounds the opportunity to work, play and share experiences with one another.
This diversity works in tandem with Gordon's rigorous multicultural curriculum that broadens students' perspectives through an exposure to races and cultures in their school neighborhood, local communities, country and world.

Gordon seeks out faculty and staff who mirror the diversity of the student body, encourage a healthy exchange of perspectives among students and are sensitive to the dynamics that are present in a racially diverse classroom and school. Gordon encourages parents to participate in this diverse environment and actively cultivates a racially diverse Board of Trustees.

Strategy
Since 1998, Gordon's Board of Trustees has used a series of strategic plans to build and sustain the school's racial diversity. The most recent update of the plans was approved in 2004 and set a new series of goals for increasing racial diversity and growing the multicultural curriculum. More recently, the 2012-2013 Community Diversity Assessment resulted in a series of eight action steps for the Board of Trustees.

Assessment
Gordon tracks the diversity of the school population, at the trustee, faculty and staff levels as well as in the classroom. The most current numbers are always online at Gordon at a glance.

In addition to tracking these numbers, Gordon performs assessments at regular intervals that document how Gordon's diversity efforts have influenced individuals' experience of the school. Assessment tools have included focus groups, one-on-one interviews and questionnaires. Read about the 2012-2013 assessment

Multicultural practice

At Gordon, multicultural practice is an approach to classroom teaching that results in high academic performance.
• Teachers lead students through an integrated, thematic and skill-based curriculum.
• Lessons demand that students connect the classroom material with their own life experiences, and that they are able to form and defend their own ideas and opinions while demonstrating respect for their views of others.

Recognition

• Gordon administrators are regularly asked to present at regional and national conferences on multicultural curriculum and Gordon's strategic commitments to diversity.

• The National Association of Independent Schools recognized Gordon's work in racial diversity with a Leading Edge in Equity and Justice award in 2004 and published several articles by Gordon administrators in their magazine, Independent School.

• Gordon has gained a national reputation for ongoing professional development in multicultural practice. In 2005, faculty developed a set of Guidelines for Multicultural Practice that illustrate how multicultural theory is applied each day in Gordon classrooms.

• From 2010 to 2015, the Teacher Residency Program at Gordon School and Roger Williams University offered a master's degree program grounded in multicultural education and teaching for social justice.

More stories of Gordon’s work in diversity, equity and inclusion: