Cultivating Student Diversity Leadership
As a school committed to in-depth diversity work, we encourage the engagement of the whole community in diversity matters, especially in regards to our students. Students in all three divisions are offered opportunities for leadership and learning in diversity, multiculturalism and social justice.
The Lower School supports periodic affinity group gatherings, usually initiated by Upper School student groups. Last year, Sistahs hosted a Valentine’s Day cookie-gathering and community connection event for Lower School girls of color, and in collaboration with BASE, Sistahs hosts an annual Honey Chillun’ springtime playdate for Lower and Middle School students of color.
In the Middle School, we offer periodic opportunities for students to connect around their social identities. Middle School affinity groups are held as monthly optional lunches, where students can come together to have discussions or simply be together informally. Currently, Middle School faculty members offer a Kids of Color Lunch, a Jewish Kids Lunch and a Straight/Gay Alliance Lunch.
Led by students and supported by faculty, our identity-based affinity groups in the Upper School are numerous and vibrant. These clubs offer safety and affirmation at GFS, and include:
- Asian Students Association
- Brothers for Academic and Social Enrichment (BASE)
- Chaverim (Jewish students’ alliance)
- FOCUS (a group for young Christians)
- Sexuality and Gender Alliance (SAGA)
- Sistahs (young women of color alliance)
Cultivating Diversity Leadership
We also offer students diversity training, and opportunities to lead around matters of diversity, multiculturalism and social justice. Some projects are as follows:
- Upper School students are offered the opportunity to apply to participate in twice yearly Student Diversity Dialogue Days. These are all-day experiences where students build community, learn core concepts, and engage in honest discussion about issues of social identity and multiculturalism.
- A group of student leaders attends the yearly NAIS Student Diversity Leadership Conference (SDLC), a part of the yearly People of Color in Independent Schools Conference (PoCC) and the Annual White Privilege Conference (WPC)/Youth Action Project.
- A group of Upper and Middle School boys of color attended the Young Men of Color Symposium at Riverdale Day School in New York City.
- The Greater Philadelphia Diversity Collaborative hosted an inaugural “Elementary Rocks!” diversity conference in which a group of fifth graders participated.
- Middle school students attend a yearly diversity conference with other independent school students, sponsored by the Philadelphia-area Multicultural Resource Center.
- MOSAIC (Moving on Social and Individual Change), daylong diversity training and group-building experiences for the eighth grade.
- SAFE (Student Ambassadors For Equity) leadership and diversity training in the Middle School.