Diversity and Inclusion
Our Diversity and Inclusion Mission Statement:
All are welcomed. All are valued.
We, as a community, are engaging in an anti-racism journey and urge you to walk that path us. Our staff continue their professional growth by developing awareness of implicit bias and promoting anti-bias educational practices. We seek to learn more about how to support marginalized communities. We organize parent education events that focus on talking with our children about race and ethnicity. We intentionally seek to recruit diverse candidates for job openings.
When we describe the diversity that we experience at MSD, we're not just referring to race or ethnicity. Our community is proud of our diverse global influences, family structures, and array of world religions and spiritual ideologies. And yes, we even welcome both Duke and UNC fans. Diversity for us is not about a single number, but a dynamic experience of rich interactions among our students, faculty, staff, and families in the classroom, on the playground, and at organized school events. It's also an aspect of our school that we are committed to nurturing and growing in meaningful ways.
Many of our families speaks at least one language in addition to English at home. Almost half of our community has lived abroad, representing approximately 40 countries. Family structures vary, including dual-parent, adoptive, multi-generational, single-parent, same-sex parents, and two household. Numerous religions and spiritual practices are observed by our students’ families including Agnosticism, Baha'i, Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, and Judaism.
Our Diversity and Inclusion Committee
Montessori School of Durham’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee works with the Head of School each year on various topics and organizes educational events to support the community, such as a parent education diversity symposium or community conversations.
Our Staff Commitment to Diversity
Recruitment: Diversity Hiring Fair
Every spring, Montessori School of Durham joins with other Triangle independent schools to host a Diversity Hiring Fair. Triangle-area independent schools are seeking talented educators of color to fill full- and part-time teaching and staff positions in our schools.
Professional Development & Community Initiatives
Our teachers regularly participate in professional development relative to Diversity and Inclusion such as:
- Administrative representatives enrolled in the Anti-Racist Leadership Institute led by Dr. Tracey Benson. This in-depth training led to the creation of a staff Equity team to further conversations on unconscious bias, school-wide practices, and ongoing full-staff training needs.
- The MSD staff completed a “Diverse Family and Gender Inclusion in Education Settings” training with Rainbow Collective for Change and received Rainbow Kits full of resources, lessons, books, and materials to help have developmentally appropriate conversations around self identity, family, diversity, unfairness, and standing up against unfairness. Additionally, the Rainbow Kit tools help us to continue striving for our school to be LGBTQ and gender inclusive. You can learn more about Rainbow Collective for Change and Rainbow Kits here.
- With the guidance of Rainbow Collective for Change, we have an active "Rainbow Club" for which all Elementary age students are eligible. MSD's Rainbow Club holds intentional space for LGBTQIA+ children, children from LGBTQIA+ families, children of color, children with disabilities, and allies to talk about topics like diversity, intersectionality, and solidarity and engage in activities at MSD that would make the school feel even more affirming to LGBTQIA+ families and families of color. A few Rainbow Club initiatives this year were to:
- build and decorate a "solidarity little lending library" which community members can access along Pickett Rd. to find books (for children and adults) that represented stories of solidarity and celebrated underrepresented characters, authors, and illustrators. Check out our library!
- host a school-wide Solidarity week event where students, staff, and Board members came together to decorate the campus sidewalks with messages of solidarity.
- MSD also recently received the GroMoreGood Grassroots Grant and the Pride Specialty Award through Kids Gardening and the Rainbow Club worked during the MSD gardening day to install native plants in colors of the rainbow to beautify the solidarity library space. We will continue to develop that garden space with the grant funds.
- Individually or in small groups, staff have engaged in DEI trainings such as: Teaching Tolerance trainings; Embrace Race webinars; TEACCH Autism Program; Anti-Bias Anti-Racism course with Britt Hawthorne; American Montessori Society webinar: Anti-Bias Education for Students and Teachers Alike with Tiffany Jewel; American Montessori Society Diversity Conference with Derrick Gay; Association Montessori Internationale conference: Embracing Equity; Trillium Montessori courses on Fairness, Equality, and Justice; Montessori Inclusion; Introduction to Anti-bias Education; Building an Equitable Holiday Approach; Culture & Identity through Endicott College; NCCU conference: Let's Talk about Racism; Wisdom of Trauma course; etc.
- The Program Committee (comprised of staff members at each level) spent two years studying Anti-Bias Education and used their study to develop culturally inclusive guidelines for holidays in the classroom and led a school-wide professional development series on the text. Learn more about this book here.