Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Justice at Sage
At Sage, we know that being seen, accepted, and valued for who one is, as well as a sense of belonging are crucial for students to fully engage in academic and social-emotional learning. We strive for students to be aware of the many backgrounds and identities among the people in the world and that no matter who they are as an individual — we care about them. In addition, we want our students to acknowledge perspectives that might not be a reflection of their own experience and to respect others – a Sage core value.
We strive to have an active anti-bias & anti-racist approach to curriculum and to amplify the visibility and voices of historically marginalized identities. As such, we do not shy away from difficult conversations with students. Issues of race, gender, religion, or class come up at school as an element of a subject’s curriculum, in advisory/homeroom, or from student questions. We work with our students to facilitate meaningful dialogue and understanding. Active listening, critical thinking, effective communication, and media literacy around these topics are necessary for students to thrive in the world they are helping to create.
How Do We Support Our Students?
Sage wants to empower our students to speak up, share their perspectives, and actively contribute to the communities of which they are a part. In order to do so, we know it’s crucial to ensure that they feel supported. While we know there is always more work to do in these areas, we’ve taken action in the following ways:
- Crafting an inclusive dress code (found in our family handbook);
- Over the last two years, we have had single-use, all-gender restrooms in our Upper School, expanding to Lower School this year;
- Affinity groups for Sage Students of Color, Neurodiverse Sagers, and LGBTQ+ Students are available to interested upper school students. (Affinity groups are gathering spaces for people who share a common aspect of their identities. Their goals include bringing people together in order to find and build connections, support, or inspiration. These student groups are optional, though are available to interested students; they are separate from our curriculum.)
- Upper School students have recently participated in NAIS’s Middle Grades Survey of Student Engagement, aimed at providing information about student beliefs and feelings about school experiences. This will help us better understand students’ needs in order to create an environment that is engaging, challenging, and productive;
- Community events such as Winter Assembly and Culture & Heritage Night allow students and families to share their own familial traditions.
All educators work with students who hold a variety of identities and come from a multitude of backgrounds, and in that vein, we are all practitioners of equity and justice work. More holistically, Sage’s Dean of Student Life, Equity, and Justice, Jennifer Tanner, works together with a DEIJ task force made up of Sage teachers to work toward improving student experiences and promoting an equitable school community. In addition, the Board of Trustees also has a DEIJ subcommittee to look at inclusivity and equity of school operations at the Board level.
We invite you to reach out with concerns or ideas.