Diversity at BWL encompasses a broad spectrum of ever-evolving concepts and ideas, all of which connect to nurturing the individual. Our Mission Statement includes the phrase, “nurturing the individual in the community”—this expresses the importance of tolerance and inclusivity, as well as our commitment to celebrating differences. As we work toward specific goals related to diversity, we continue to participate in several successful forums where students and faculty meet regularly to discuss their plans.
Ongoing Programs, Highlighting the Upper School
Student Diversity Forum
The Student Diversity Forum has been a gathering place for Upper School students of color and their allies for years. While the Student Diversity Forum takes place as a club after school, there is also a class period each week for a course, Identity and Society, which parallels the club. This ensures that most of the students interested in taking part have the opportunity to do so. The students use this space to examine topics of their choosing, or those brought by their advisor. On several occasions they have brought their conversations into assemblies for a broader exploration with the rest of the Upper School. More important, they pass forward their growing understanding in their interactions with their classmates.
The Diversity Awareness Initiative for Students (DAIS)
Many BWL students take part in DAIS. As described on their website, “…DAIS is
an organization in the metropolitan area dedicated to strengthening our schools and ourselves, through increased knowledge, awareness, and respect for different cultures. Its members are comprised of students from independent, public, and parochial schools, who wish to discuss and improve human relations within the community and society at large.” Students involved in DAIS plan and facilitate all of their own activities, providing leadership roles for those interested.
NAIS: People of Color Conference/Student Diversity Leadership Conference (PoCC/SDLC)
Every year a number of Upper School students, as well as faculty, attend PoCC/SDLC, the mainstay of NAIS’s equity and justice initiatives. The mission of the conference is to provide a safe arena for both networking and professional development opportunities for adults and students of color, as well as their peers. According to the organization’s website, PoCC/SDLC serves as “an energizing, revitalizing gathering for people who experience independent schools differently.” The students explore issues of social justice, practice authentic expression, stretch their thinking on self and society, and prepare for effective advocacy in independent schools. Students and faculty return to BWL energized and excited about sharing their experiences and newly formed knowledge with the School community.