Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI)
DIVERSITY, EQUITY, AND INCLUSION (DEI)
ARE AT THE HEART OF WESTMARK'S MISSION.
Our students learn differently, our teachers teach differently, and as a result, all of
our students have equal access to curriculum and programming.
Students, faculty, staff, and families bring more than learning differences to Westmark. Our community is diverse economically, racially, ethnically, religiously, and in sexual orientation. Our commitment is to embrace individual identity and ensure that everyone in our community feels welcome and has equal access to the best we have to offer.
Westmark's DEI leadership team work closely with our Teachers, Advisors, Administrators, Curriculum Team, and School Counselors to integrate multicultural practices into our classrooms, and overall school culture. Our work with both students, teachers and leadership positively impacts our community, promoting awareness of identity, equity, and inclusion across grade levels and throughout our community.
Central to preparing students for their futures is teaching them how to become responsible members of society. To succeed in this endeavor, students need to understand their own identities and the identities of others. At Westmark, we embed diversity work into the culture of the school so students can develop a strong
self-concept by understanding and analyzing their own culture while learning to interact and relate with respect to other individuals, students and cultural groups.
- AFFINITY GROUPS AND CLUBS ON CAMPUS
- STUDENT DIVERSITY LEADERSHIP CONFERENCE
- BIG LION, LITTLE LION MENTOR PROGRAM
- PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT FOR FACULTY & ADMINISTRATION
- CURRICULUM - FACING HISTORY AND OURSELVES
AFFINITY GROUPS AND CLUBS ON CAMPUS
Affinity groups provide a “safe space” to explore issues of shared identity, experience and affirm emotional and intellectual responses, reduce isolation, discomfort, and marginalization, and embrace different parts of one’s identity.
Westmark’s DEI efforts have resulted in the development of many different affinity groups and clubs for both Middle and Upper School students. The groups and clubs in turn provide a safe and supportive space for students to explore social justice topics, discuss identity, and learn perspective-taking while developing critical thinking and social-emotional skills. As students reflect on identity and current events, they learn how to make a difference through self-advocacy and allyship. Student clubs and affinity groups include:
● Social Justice Club ● Black Student Union (BSU)● LGBTQ ● Young Feminists ● Culture Club
STUDENT DIVERSITY LEADERSHIP CONFERENCE (NAIS PEOPLE OF COLOR ANNUAL CONFERENCE)
Each year, a group of Upper School students attends the NAIS 4-day People of Color Student Diversity Leadership Conference, an international gathering of 1,600 high school student leaders from across the globe. During the multiracial and multicultural meeting, students have the opportunity to develop cross-cultural communication skills, design effective strategies for social justice practice through dialogue and the arts, and learn the foundations of allyship and networking principles. Upon their return to campus, our students lead assemblies and activities incorporating what they learned at the conference to educate fellow students and lead our Social Justice Club.
BIG LION, LITTLE LION MENTOR PROGRAM
Big Lion, Little Lion is Westmark’s mentor program for our students of color in Lower, Middle and Upper School. Moderated by members of our DEI leadership team, Big Lion, Little Lion pairs Upper School students of color with Lower and/or Middle School students of color. Through arts, crafts and games, mentors provide guidance and shared experiences in a safe environment discussing issues related to identity and diversity.
PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT FOR FACULTY & ADMINISTRATION
DEI Training helps define the purpose, practice, and outcomes of diversity efforts by offering a fresh lens and tools for schoolwide implementation. DEI training has included People of Color Conference (PoCC), QEDU/LGTBQ+, and Facing History, among others.
CURRICULUM - FACING HISTORY AND OURSELVES
Following DEI training for teachers, faculty integrate lessons into the curriculum as well as into our Advisory program, providing the tools and strategies needed to help students become thoughtful, responsible citizens. Teachers are able to use DEI best practices, strategies and approaches to foster empathy and reflection, improve students’ academic performance, to help build a safe and inclusive school community.