Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion


“We believe that diversity is one of the conditions of excellence for our school.”

- Waynflete’s Mission Statement

Waynflete’s commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion permeates all aspects of our program. Our mission states that diversity is one of the conditions of excellence because we believe that the educational experiences of all students are enhanced in an environment that is truly diverse. We strive to create an inclusive environment, which enables students from all backgrounds to learn from one another. When we are challenged through exposure to a wide range of viewpoints, we learn to examine our assumptions, question the status quo, and creatively craft solutions to even the most daunting challenges.

Our institutional commitment to the principles of diversity, equity, and inclusion is an important component of our faculty and staff culture. Waynflete's faculty practice, and want to continue to develop, inclusive practices in teaching, team work, and leadership. We believe that all students benefit from more inclusive environments.

Our community strives to be equitable and just. In reaching for these goals, we:

  • look for ways to understand and celebrate the richness of the human experience,
  • purposely integrate global perspectives into curriculum,
  • work diligently to create opportunities for all voices and opinions to be heard,
  • emphasize learning and growth through mutual respect and understanding, and
  • desire to include and accept all individuals.

This commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion—and its actualization in all that we do and stand for—is central to both the education of our students and our collective hope that all individuals in their own ways become responsible and caring participants in the world.

Race, Culture, and Ethnicity

We live in a multiracial and ethnically diverse world. As a school, we work to ensure that our community is a place that supports the intellectual, physical, and social-emotional growth of our students. We work with and across our cultural, racial, and ethnic backgrounds in a spirit of inclusion. We design our curriculum and programs in a way that encourages dialogue, uses our diversity as a catalyst for understanding, and encourages a greater awareness of the diversity of cultures around the world.

Waynflete takes deliberate steps to enroll a diverse student body that represents the diversity of our region. One way we began this work was to establish the Global Community Scholars Program in 2005. Each year, we intentionally enroll a cohort of students from the immigrant and resettled refugee community in Greater Portland. We seek to enroll students of color and those from diverse ethnic backgrounds and bring to our school their knowledge and experiences.

We are intentional about offering programming and opportunities for dialogue to increase our understanding of each other and work towards a more inclusive, equitable, and affirming community. We seek to diversify our faculty and provide professional development opportunities that improve our ability to provide a safe, affirming, and intellectually rich experience for all our students.

Religion, Spirituality, and Religious Observances

Waynflete is a non-sectarian school that is enriched by the religious and spiritual diversity in our school community. There are many faith traditions represented in the practices of our students and their families. We believe that religious and spiritual diversity presents an opportunity for mutual education about our different and shared beliefs, values, and traditions.

Waynflete seeks to affirm and support the religious and spiritual practices and observances of students and families. We provide space for reflection or prayer, accommodate dress requirements in all our programs, and support dietary needs when we are able. We try to avoid as much as possible conflict between religious holiday observances and school commitments. We recognize that there will be times when religious observances conflict with the school calendar. We reference many religious holidays in our master calendar and ask our faculty to plan assignments, tests, and school events accordingly. We encourage parents to notify the school in advance so that students may be excused from (or have school obligations modified for) religious holiday observances. The school does not close in observance of any religious holidays, but we will work with students as much as possible to allow their full participation in both school and family religious events.

Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity, and Gender Expression

Respect and appreciation for everyone—individuals and families, in all their variety and complexity—is core to our work as an inclusive community.

Gender and gender self-expression affect a student’s experience across the grades. Waynflete includes gender and sexuality development as part of our comprehensive health and wellness curriculum. We believe that exploring gender and sexual identity development with students at age-appropriate points is essential. We are guided by extensive research that shows that children raised in an atmosphere of openness grow up healthier, delay involvement, and manage associated risks better.

We recognize that sexual orientation, gender expression, and identity are distinct in the experience of individuals. Knowing this, we seek to be a safe and welcoming school for transgender and gender non-conforming students, parents, faculty and staff.

We partner with parents and guardians to assist with the myriad of questions and challenges that arise as children develop their sense of selves. In our curriculum, encourage students to think critically about social and gender roles, feel confident asking questions at each grade level, and help them clarify values at the heart of positive relationships with self and others. Understanding and being able to anticipate important milestones in one’s own growth and development is critical to the healthy development of the whole person.


Socioeconomic Status

Waynflete is committed to enrolling an economically diverse student body. The school awards over $4 million dollars in financial assistance, with roughly 40% of families receiving some level of financial support. We work hard to ensure that all students have the ability to fully participate in all of our curricular and extra-curricular programs. If a student or family is unable to fully participate because of financial considerations, we encourage them to speak with the appropriate division director to see what the school can do to be helpful.

In various parts of our curriculum, we address the challenges associated with the economically stratified society in which we live. Waynflete’s programs seeks to bring together our community based on a shared sense of mission, purpose, and values. We attempt to deal honestly with the societal tensions among the poor, working class, middle class, and the wealthy and to have our school community benefit from the knowledge and experiences of students whose families differ economically.


Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion News

Martin Luther King Spirit Award

Students to add their voices to the chorus of Americans supporting social justice and racial equality in our nation. Go >>

April 5 - April 6

New England Youth Identity Summit

Waynflete welcomes students and educators to a conference designed to spark meaningful conversations about identity, diversity, and community. Go >>

The Can We? Project

Waynflete's collaborative effort to revitalize American Democracy. Go >>


Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Programs and Resources

Observances

Religious observances

Download the full list of religious observances from the Anti-Defamation League


Cultural and affinity group observances

February

  • Black History Month: Since 1976, the month has been designated to remember the contributions of people of the African Diaspora.

March

  • Women’s History Month: Started in 1987, Women’s History Month recognizes all women for their valuable contributions to history and society.
  • National Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month: Increases awareness of issues affecting people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
  • National Multiple Sclerosis Education and Awareness Month: Raises awareness of the autoimmune disease.

APRIL

  • Celebrate Diversity Month: Started in 2004 to recognize and honor the diversity surrounding us. By celebrating differences and similarities during this month, people get a deeper understanding of each other.
  • Autism Awareness Month: Raises awareness about the developmental disorder that affects children’s social and communication skills.

May

  • Asian-American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month: Commemorates the immigration of the first Japanese to the United States in May 1843, and marks the anniversary of the completion of the transcontinental railroad in May 1869.
  • Older Americans Month: Established in 1963 to honor the legacies and contributions of older Americans and to support them as they enter their next stage of life.
  • Jewish American Heritage Month: Recognizes the diverse contributions of the Jewish people to American culture.

June

  • Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Pride Month: Recognizes the impact that gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender individuals have had on the world. The last Sunday in June is Gay Pride Day.

September

  • Hispanic Heritage Month (Sept. 15-Oct. 15): Corresponds with Mexican Independence Day celebrated on September 16, and recognizes the 1810 revolution that ended Spanish rule.

October

  • National Disability Employment Awareness Month: Increases understanding of employment barriers that still need to be addressed.
  • LGBT History Month: This U.S. observance started in 1994 recognizes lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender history and the history of the gay rights movement.

November

  • Native American Heritage Month: Celebrates the history and contributions of Native Americans.



Resources

Resources for Faculty, Parents and Student on Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Topics

Articles

Blogs

  • Black Girl in Maine - Black Girl in Maine is Shay Stewart-Bouley, a Chicago-raised woman who relocated to Maine in 2002 and is as the Executive Director of Community Change Inc., a civil rights organization in Boston, MA. She writes about race, class, social issues and sometimes even motherhood.

Books

  • Search the Waynflete Library Catalog
    - a bibliography of library resources including academic books,
    memoirs, and picture books. One can sort the list by clicking on the
    button with the AZ/arrow pointing down. Contact school librarians Laurel Daly or Emily Graham for assistance.
  • Blindsport: Hidden Biases of Good People, by Mahzarin R. Banaji and Anthony G. Greenwald, 2013.Writing with simplicity and verve, Banaji and Greenwald question the extent to which our perceptions of social groups—without our awareness or conscious control—shape our likes and dislikes and our judgments about people’s character, abilities, and potential.
  • Becoming Nicole: The Transformation of an American Family, by Amy Ellis Nutt, 2015. Chronicles a journey of the Maineses, who came to question their long-held views on gender and identity, to accept and embrace Wyatt’s transition to Nicole, and to undergo an emotionally wrenching transformation of their own that would change all their lives forever.Granted wide-ranging access to personal diaries, home videos, clinical journals, legal documents, medical records, and the Maineses themselves, Amy Ellis Nutt spent almost four years reporting this immersive account.

Movies/Media

  • The Mask You Live In (Netflix, Not Rated but recommended for age 15+) - explores how our culture's narrow definition of masculinity is harming our boys, men and society at large and unveils what we can do about it. Focused on adolescents and teenagers, as well as external influences (media, cultural expectations, institutions) and familial influences (parents, friends, etc.).
  • Miss Representation (2011, Netflix, Not Rated but recommended for age 14+) - explores how mainstream media contributes to the under-representation of women in influential positions by circulating limited and often disparaging portrayals of women.The film interweaves stories from teenage girls with interviews to look at the media and its message. Includes a social action campaign to address change in policy, education and call for socially responsible business.
  • 25 Mini-Films for Exploring Race, Bias, and Identity with Students, compiled by Michael Gonchar, New York Times, 3/15/2017. 25 short New York Times documentaries that range in time from 1 to 7 minutes and tackle issues of race, bias and identity. To help teachers make the most of these films, also provides several teaching ideas, related readings and student activities.

Podcasts

  • Seeing White - a fourteen-part documentary series, released in 2017, Scene on Radio host and producer John Biewen took a deep dive into questions like Where did the notion of “whiteness” come from? What does it mean? What is whiteness for? Featuring an array of leadings scholars and regular guest Dr. Chenjari Kumanyika.
  • Code Switch - a team of NPR journalists fascinated by the overlapping themes of race, ethnicity and culture, how they play out in our lives and communities, and how all of this is shifting.

Web Resources

Committees

Diversity & Equity Committee (DEC) is comprised of volunteer faculty and staff representatives from across the school. Members of the committee act as facilitators for racial, ethnic, economic, sexual orientation, gender identity/expression, physical ability, and religious diversity. The DEC supports the ongoing diversity work at our school, generates resources, and promotes professional development opportunities.

Parent Diversity Committee is a volunteer group that supports the school's commitment to diversity. Committee members organize presentations and discussions with faculty, students, and families. This year, the committee will also actively support school events such as the New England Youth Identity Summit.

The Parent Diversity Committee has compiled a list of resources on topics of inclusion around gender, race, and mental health with supporting annotations for parents and students.


US Activities

PRIDE - GSTA - Gay Straight Transgender Alliance
Waynflete's GSTA promotes meaningful and respectful communication. We work in the school to encourage everyone to take responsibility for their words and actions and we attempt to increase understanding by creating a safe and thoughtful environment.

Click here to view "Gender Inquiry: Thinking Beyond the Binary," a parent presentation.

RAAW- Racial Awareness at Waynflete
This activity is for students who are interested in extended discussion, who are willing to examine closely and deeply how race affects us at Waynflete and in the world, and for students who like to eat! We meet during lunch and activities to talk about race in our community and beyond. In addition, we have a fall retreat, sponsor a movie night and Martin Luther King Jr. activities.

Professional Development

Conferences & Workshops

Waynflete faculty and staff members are engaged in professional development around issues of diversity through workshops, conferences, and all-faculty discussions around these issues.

Here are some of the workshops and conferences regularly attended:

  • NAIS People of Color Conference and Student Diversity Leadership Conference (SDLC)
  • Racial Equity Institute
  • White Privilege Conference
  • Georgetown Day School Equity Collaborative
  • Diversity Directions Independent School Seminar

Parent Programs

Through our Parent Diversity Committee, we are able to promote and sponsor events throughout the year that allow parents/guardians to build a deeper understanding about diversity awareness and how diversity is necessary to build and sustain community. Check the school calendar for upcoming events.