Our Journey: Teaching and Learning for Social Justice
Transforming the School Environment
At Princeton Day School, we are all teachers, and we are all learners. Currently, work is happening in every corner of our institution to ensure justice and equity for all. We are actively engaging in conversations about Diversity, Equity and Inclusion to address the racism experienced by our Black and Brown students and adults, the antisemitism experienced by our Jewish students and adults, and other forms of religious discrimination, as well as the discrimination experienced by our students and adults who are non-gender conforming. It is our goal and objective to transform the PDS community so that all members who are currently experiencing any form of marginalization will, at last, enjoy authentic inclusion within our transformed school community.
We wanted to create a digital archive to chart our learning. This website is, in many ways, a public artifact that states in no uncertain terms our commitment to this work and to document our School’s journey in eradicating systemic racism from our hallways. We believe that through our own humble learning as an institution, we can educate others and work towards social justice.
We invite you into the conversation and encourage you to explore the early stages of this website. In addition to Mr. Stellato’s letters and action plan, you will see the framework for Our Journey: Teaching and Learning for Social Justice. Each of these pages will be built out over time to deepen the conversation including more details of the work that Director of DEI Mr. McKinley is leading in partnership with Olive Branch Educators and Dr. Diana Artis, as well as opportunities to join us in this work. Finally, on this page, you will see the Community Multicultural Development Team’s extensive, collected resources, “Elevating the Conversation: CMDT’s Resources.” These resources are actively curated by CMDT in hopes of sustaining and supporting the conversation among faculty and staff, families, alumni and all members of the extended Princeton Day School community.
In the true spirit of patient and responsible archival work, we are currently collecting our artifacts, our stories and our histories. We are discovering, taking inventory, listening and reflecting. This project, like all collaborative, lifelong learning, is on-going and dynamic as we are documenting our School’s transformation: where we’ve been, who we are, and who we aspire to be as an institution. This is truly a community-wide endeavor.
Please visit this site often. It will be updated regularly with resources, events, stories and initiatives. Join us on our Learning Journey.
Listening & Reflecting
Practice & Transforming Culture
Elevating the Conversation: CMDT Resources for the PDS Community
From the Head of School: Planning for Change
To help support and guide the work ahead, Princeton Day School has retained the services of Olive Branch Educators and its founding director, Dr. Diana Artis. Dr. Artis will work closely with faculty, staff, parents, students, alumni, the Leadership Team, the Board of Trustees, the Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and the Community Diversity and Multicultural Team to ensure that we engage as many members of our community as possible and take full advantage of the opportunities present in this ambitious initiative.
Mr. Stellato has also called for a review of policies and programs in the following areas:
The PreK-12 curriculum: to ensure that the program fully incorporates the experiences and contributions of Black and other underrepresented communities
Standards of conduct, honor policies, and handbooks: to see that all expectations are fair and applied equally; and that discriminatory conduct of any kind is not tolerated
Anti-racism and cultural competency education for students, faculty, staff, and parents: to provide a shared language and understanding of the responsibilities of membership in a diverse community
Hiring, retention, and evaluation policies and programs: to increase and enhance the diversity of faculty, staff, and leadership across the School; and to make available resources to retain faculty and staff of color
Student life, college counseling, and athletics: to provide equal opportunity and benefit of these essential programs for all students
Admissions and retention: to build a diverse pool of candidates, allowing school enrollment to reflect more fully the communities from which its students are drawn
Parent and family outreach: to welcome and connect Black families and families of color to Princeton Day School
Further, to engage Black alumni, the School will create a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion committee of the alumni council, providing a formal way for them to participate in the life of the School and serve as mentors and guides for Black students and alumni.
A task force of faculty, staff, school leaders, students, recent graduates, and parents will be formed during the 2020 summer to begin the review of the areas listed above. Reporting to the Board and the Head of School at specific intervals throughout the school year, the task force will work closely with Dr. Artis, drawing upon all the resources our parent, faculty and staff, and student communities have to offer.
Read Mr. Stellato's full letter to the community of June 28, 2020, and the companion letter from the Board of Trustees, in this section's Updates to the PDS Community.
Note: the CMDT Mission and Affinity Groups information below, along with so much more, may be found above in Elevating the Conversation: CMDT Resources for the PDS Community.
Our Mission: Princeton Day School (PDS) aspires to create a diverse, equitable and inclusive community in which all members are seen, challenged, affirmed, respected and valued.
We believe that in actively cultivating such an environment, we foster intellectual, social and emotional growth for all of our constituents.
We aim to transcend mere tolerance of differences through creating and sustaining safe spaces for PDS students that encourage courageous conversations, leaning into discomfort, deep listening and social-emotional growth.
These conversations are rooted in, but not limited to, the eight major social identifiers: Race, Age, Ability, Sexual Orientation, Class, Gender, Ethnicity and Religion.
PDS faculty and staff are encouraged to actively participate in personal and professional development and engage in daily discussions surrounding topics of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI). Faculty and staff attend the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) People of Color Conference (POCC), New York State Association of Independent Schools (NYSAIS) Diversity Conference, White Privilege Conference, Race Institute, etc. to continue to engage in these essential conversations and stay abreast of best practices and research in what’s affectionately referred to as “the Work.”
The Community Multicultural Development Team (CMDT), composed of representatives across all three divisions, a parent coordinator, Health and Wellness Director and Head of School, organizes and facilitates student programming rooted in anti-racism, cultural competency and social/emotional learning. Additionally, the team consults with school leadership in hiring decisions, curriculum development and faculty/staff affinity groups.
In classrooms, in clubs and affinity groups, in assemblies, through curriculum, and through other programming, CMDT works to support and sustain the growth and development of anti-bias, anti-racist pedagogy and practice for all constituents.
Updates to PDS Community
Below in chronological order are the updates on DEI work shared with the PDS community in 2020-2021. During the summer of 2020, the School also offered a series of seven Town Hall sessions with Head of School Paul Stellato and the Leadership Team and Board of Trustees, as well as numerous Focus Groups facilitated by Dr. Diana Artis of Olive Branch Educators with community members representing every self-identified constituency in the PDS community.
From LS Head Sandy Wang: Additional Resources for Younger Children January 7, 2021
From Student Services: Some Resources for Families Talking with Children About Politics, Racism, Violence, Trauma January 7, 2021
Update from Head of School: About Today's Events January 6, 2021
Facing Forward: Progress Report November 30, 2020
New PDS Non-Discrimination Policy October 29, 2020
Facing Forward: Progress Report October 19, 2020
Here's to Change: Update from Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Anthony McKinley July 30, 2020
Update from Head of School July 7, 2020
Letters from the Board of Trustees and Head of School June 28, 2020
Update from Head of School June 18, 2020
Update from Head of School June 10, 2020
Update from Head of School June 2, 2020