About Us

Our Diverse Community

Our Diversity Mission Statement

approved by the Board of Trustees in January 2013

Shady Hill is a diverse, inclusive school that offers a rich multicultural curriculum. It is our diversity — in ethnicity, family structure, gender, gender identity, race, religion, sexual orientation, and socio-economic background — that makes us a wiser and stronger community. We teach children to explore human similarities and differences, to challenge stereotypes, and to understand how our perceptions affect our ideas about truth. A Shady Hill education validates children's individual lives and prepares them to succeed in a multicultural society.

We are committed to building a community that understands and values our diverse world and we actively seek students, faculty, and staff from a wide range of backgrounds and perspectives. We promote social justice and seek to eliminate bias in school life, including admissions, hiring, and financial aid. Our board maintains and affirms this commitment by formally reviewing the diversity of our community and our admissions, hiring and retention results on an annual basis.

A Commitment to a Diverse Faculty

Recruiting and retaining a diverse faculty is one of our top institutional initiatives. Shady Hill strives to increase the number of faculty of color to mirror the make-up of our student body. 18% of our teaching faculty identify as people of color while 34% of students self-identify as students of color. 

To support our commitment to diversity, we actively recruit teachers of color from sources such as NEMNET (The National Employment Minority Network), a premier resource for recruiting teachers of color. In addition, Shady Hill funds professional development and support for our faculty of color in an effort to provide a nurturing and supportive professional experience at Shady Hill School; support whose outcome enriches our entire community.

In 2010, Shady Hill School established a fund to honor Faith Chase, the school's first African-American faculty member who was hired in 1969. Dedicated to Faith and her extraordinary career and contributions to our School, The Faith Chase Fund underwrites the attendance of Shady Hill teachers at the National Association of Independent Schools’ People of Color Conference (PoCC) each year. To make a gift to the Faith Chase fund, click here and note that you would like your gift directed to Faith Chase Fund

Diversity at Shady Hill (DASH)

DASH (Diversity At Shady Hill) was founded in 1987 by a group of parents and faculty to help foster and celebrate the diversity of the Shady Hill community.  DASH strives to cultivate an atmosphere of mutual respect and welcomes participation from ALL members of the Shady Hill community. DASH accomplishes these goals by: 

1) organizing educational, supportive, and enrichment opportunities for parents 
2) coordinating events to support underrepresented families through our family affinity group structure
3) hosting social gatherings for the full Shady Hill community.

DASH is led by volunteer parent co-chairs who work closely with the Director of Inclusion & Multicultural Practice.

The 2018-2019 DASH Co-Chairs are: Sherri Ettinger and Kafi Garrus.

Groups that are part of DASH include:

Shady Hill’s Affinity Groups
The primary purpose of Shady Hill's Affinity Groups is to provide time and a safe space for students of shared affinities to come together in a group where they are the majority. These are voluntary meetings that children who identify with these affinities may participate in.
  • The Children of Color Affinity Group formally began in 1991 and is the oldest of our affinity groups. Developmentally appropriate groups were later created in 1996 and are now known as Children of Color Lunches (COCL) in Grades I-VIII. These meetings are for Grade I–VIII students of color (i.e., children with Asian, African, Latino/Hispanic, Middle Eastern American, Native American, biracial, and multiracial heritage). Research has shown that children are aware of race differences at a very early age and that affinity groups like these help to minimize the effects of racial isolation.
  • School Sisters is a gathering of African American girls in Grades I-VIII. Pride and celebrating natural gifts are the themes of this group. Please email Tamyko Morris (Lower School) or Laniesha Gray (Middle School) for more information.
  • Rainbow Kids Affinity Group is for children in grades I-VIII with LGBT family members. Please email Erica Rogers-Jensen for more information. 
  • New Student Gathering for Lower School and Middle School students will meet over lunch once or twice a year. Students are invited to attend by Serena Gifford or Krista Demas, and they may choose to participate or not.
  • Steppingstone Academy Students Gathering. Steppingstone Academy students enter SHS in Grade VI. The purpose of this gathering is to help Middle School students integrate their Steppingstone and SHS experiences. 
Middle School GSA (Gender Sexuality Alliance): This group is for all middle school students interested in advancing inclusivity of the SHS LGBT community. It is not an affinity group. Rather, it is an alliance intended to broaden support for students and provide a safe place for all.

Why We Have Student Affinity Groups

The primary purpose of these short meetings has been, and continues to be, to provide time and a safe space for children of shared affinities from different classrooms to come together in an environment where they make up the majority. We help all students understand the definition of affinity and explain that having these groups is not an act of intentional exclusion. These are voluntary meetings for children who identify with these affinities.

Affinity Groups are by no means the only time children discuss diverse, multicultural topics related to affinity. These themes are explored throughout our grades and our curriculum, and in-class discussions take place on a regular basis. 
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