Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging
The Power of Belonging
Together, we celebrate everyone’s uniqueness.
Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging at King School is integrated into every area of school life. Ensuring that every member of the community enjoys a sense of belonging is paramount to the school’s mission and aligned with its virtues of Integrity, Kindness, Perseverance, and Respect.
At King, we are empowered by our diverse talents and inspired by our different backgrounds and perspectives. In our diverse and inclusive environment, children as well as adults learn from one another and create a stronger community.
Students and faculty come from 40 neighboring communities and over 70 countries and engage in an expansive curriculum that spurs conversation on culture, religion, ethnicity, and lived experiences.
King School Diversity Statement
Diversity is a core value at King. At King, we are enriched through our appreciation of diversity’s many faces including gender, race, ethnicity, religion, socio-economic status, sexual orientation, age, physical ability, talent, or learning style. By honoring cultural differences and intellectual diversity, we create a vibrant learning community where each person is valued.
King values a community in which each individual strives for wisdom and goodness found in a deep understanding of equity, fairness, and cultural inclusion. Rooted in respect and personal responsibility, the School’s culture offers a supportive and reflective environment that embraces diversity as central to educational excellence. We honor these values as essential to preparing our students for lives of leadership and achievement in our global society.
At King, we support our commitment with action. We work to build a community that is truly diverse. Proactively and consistently, we challenge stereotypes, create awareness, and develop educational programs that are informed by, and responsive to, our values. We model these values in the School’s activities and affairs. We arm our students with an understanding and appreciation for diversity that prepares them to be thoughtful and successful citizens of the world.
Diversity is a fact. Equity is a choice. Inclusion is an action. Belonging is an outcome.Arthur Chan
Director of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging
Teacher Librarian, Lower School DEIB Coordinator
Counselor, Middle School DEIB Coordinator
Mathematics Faculty, All School Math DEI Coordinator
English Faculty, All-School English DEI Coordinator
History Faculty, Director of Talent Development
Head Coach Varsity Boys Basketball, Athletics DEIB Coordinator
Director of Marketing, Staff DEI Coordinator
Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging in Action
The inaugural Families of Students of Color BBQ welcomed over 120 members of King’s community on Monday, August 28, for an evening of connection and fun. Families enjoyed a BBQ and ice cream between games and dancing. They also had the opportunity to learn about additional ways to connect and support the school’s DEIB efforts at a sponsored table from the PA KInD Committee.
King School hosted a tent at the India Cultural Center's (ICC) HoliFest 2023. More than ten King families attended Holi, a Hindu festival welcoming spring and celebrating the triumph of good over evil. Gorgeous pastels saturated Roger Sherman Baldwin Park in Greenwich on Saturday, May 6, as crowds turned out to commemorate the Hindu festival by throwing colored powders into the air.
Three King School teachers have earned prestigious Global Expression and Thought (GET) prizes from a leading organization for best practices in global education for K-12 schools.
Teachers Aman Samra and Emily Decker collaborated on the vision and content for their Grade 2 Geometry unit. Ran LaPolla collaborated with alum Mimi White ’20 for the Upper School Themes in Global Art lesson. Both submissions were rooted in authentic experiences, meaningfully connecting the students' lives to the world around them.
This year’s Global Fair, sponsored by the PA KInD Committee, was a beautiful showcase of King’s commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging. After a three-year hiatus, the event returned to the lower school gym, where families transformed the space into a multicultural hub.
Students, faculty, and staff enjoyed a Day of Action hosted by the Gender and Sexuality Awareness Club (GSA) in King’s Upper School. Community members gathered during the FLEX period for activities and speeches focused on promoting acceptance and a greater understanding of issues relevant to trans youth.
Members of the middle school affinity group, Students of Color at King (SOCK), enjoyed food, games, and bonding with upper school students from the Black Student Union (BSU), Hispanic and Latin American Affinity Group, and the Asian American and Pacific Islander Affinity Group (AAPI) over lunch on Wednesday, April 13. Led by faculty advisors, the cross-divisional gathering inspired conversation and camaraderie in a welcoming setting.
Eight members of the King community attended the Connecticut Association of Independent Schools (CAIS) Commission on Diversity’s Student Diversity Leadership Conference on April 2 at Hopkins School. The event brought independent schools across the state together to foster cross-cultural understanding and take action to improve the school communities regarding diversity, equity, and inclusion.
Special presentations, discussions, and lessons during Black History Month gave students a deeper insight into the rich history and culture of Black Americans. Celebrating the diverse perspectives and experiences that have shaped our society reinforced King’s values of diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging on a community and personal level.
Upper school students learned about African-American fraternities and sororities known as the Divine Nine and about Stepping, a percussive dance traditionally performed by members of those social organizations. Director of Marketing Lakeya Graves delivered the King Talk on Tuesday, February 7, in the Performing Arts Center, coinciding with the start of the annual observance of Black History Month.
The Lunar New Year flooded King School with red and gold and traditional decorations. The holiday, one of the most important celebrations of the year among East and Southeast Asian cultures, marks the first days of spring in the lunar calendar and serves as an opportunity to celebrate new beginnings. Students sampled traditional foods, presentations, and performances.
King School’s commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging permeates every aspect of the school’s community, especially in January. At King, celebrating Martin Luther King Jr. spans the entire month as students across the divisions research his life, examine his impact, and recognize the power of his example. The school’s hallways bare his quotes, lessons explore his vision, and conversations echo his dreams.
The PA King Inclusion and Diversity Committee’s Festival of Lights was an inclusive celebration of the cultures, religions, and faiths within the King School community. The event took place on December 7 in the Middle School.
A delegation of students, faculty, and staff proudly represented King School at the NAIS’ People of Color Conference and the Student Diversity Leadership Conference in San Antonio, Texas.
Throughout the year, King School celebrates the different cultures of members of the community. Recently, King parents Prachi and Rahul Iyer talked with second grade students about the significance of the Diwali holiday. During the discussion, students learned about the meaning of the holiday as well as the traditions, foods, and decorations that accompany it.
During this year’s Sukkot holiday, the Jewish students’ affinity group shared a meal and conversation under a sukkah.
Through weekly meetings, the group aims to build stronger connections with each other in spaces where they can discuss their shared experiences.
King School is pleased to announce a title change for Dr. Clyde Beverly III P’33, ’34. From this point forward, Dr. Beverly’s title is Director of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging.
In its first year at King School, the Hispanic/Latinx affinity group aims to create a safe space for students who identify as Hispanic or LatinX to share and celebrate their heritage. Members of the group have begun to plan activities for the year to raise cultural awareness and help Hispanic communities in need.
Parents journeyed through the Lower School and learned about countries around the world during the annual Global Studies Celebration. Each grade was provided an age-appropriate theme to discover their shared humanity while they investigated the world and strived to understand new perspectives.
Award-winning authors Veera Hiranandani, Sheela Chari, and Sayantani DasGupta have a few things in common – their Indian heritage, their love of writing, and motherhood. The authors have known each other for over 10 years and have developed a special friendship that offers advice, encouragement, and support in their accomplished careers as Indian-American authors. “It was enlightening to see how their diverse identities have influenced their writing as authors. With this event, we are continuing to provide experiences that seek to educate, engage, and empower students with new perspectives,” said Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Dr. Clyde Beverly III, who organized the event on May 11 in partnership with the Indian Cultural Center (ICC) in celebration of Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month.
April 22, marks the annual Day of Silence, led by the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network (GLSEN), to raise awareness about the discrimination and harassment LGBTQ+ students face in schools. The Day of Silence has been held each year in April since 1996.
King School observed the day as a Day of Action with optional student-led initiatives to celebrate and support members of the LGBTQ+ community. The Gender and Sexuality Awareness (GSA) Club in King’s Upper School organized a gathering to mark the occasion. Students also participated by wearing pronouns pins, rainbow stickers, and colorful clothing. “Here at King, part of our values is that individuals are able to be seen as their authentic selves,” said Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Dr.Clyde Beverly III.
When the Russian forces invaded Ukraine at the end of February, upper school students Anabelle Creveling ’22 and Meredith Joo ’23 sprung into action. They started to network, searching for ways to connect with those directly affected by the attacks.
Together they learned that history teacher Lindsey Rossler had a friend and colleague at the American School of Warsaw. Poland, which is adjacent to Ukraine, has welcomed the largest number of Ukrainian refugees since the onset of the conflict.
The seventh annual music residency, El Sistema, returned to King School in person this year with a powerful new sound. Talented student musicians from King’s Middle and Upper Schools collaborated with seven El Sistema USA music programs from New York, New Jersey, Maryland, and Connecticut. The collaboration resulted in an original composition that premiered at a community concert to showcase the learning and partnership that took place over the weekend. The overarching focus of the residency is to inspire a connection between communities of different socioeconomic backgrounds, using music ensembles to encourage deeper communication among its participants.
King School’s sixth grade students revved their engines as they built custom-designed Lego cars for students in Peru and Costa Rica. The design process included competition, as students raced against one another, using balloons to propel the cars forward. After perfecting their designs, the students disassembled the cars, carefully packaged them up, and sent them off to fellow students in Peru and Costa Rica. The collaboration is part of King’s partnership with the Orphaned Starfish Foundation (OSF).
Journey back to ancient Egypt with an exhibit curated by fifth grade students at King. The exhibition features Egyptian hieroglyphics, King Tut’s tomb, an informational display of the Nile River, pyramids, mummies, and more. Over the past few weeks, the class has explored the ancient culture and developed projects that best demonstrate their interest.
“I wanted to study sports because that’s something that I’m interested in,” said Paxton Freeman ’29. “I wondered about what types of activities the Egyptians used to do for fun and started researching sports that were around back then. That led me to archery.” Inspired, Paxton made a target, an arrow, and a crossbow out of cardboard box and wood for his project.
Throughout the month of February, as King celebrates Black History Month, a host of interesting guests have visited campus to share their unique stories with students. The Middle and Upper Schools welcomed Geiszel and Manual Godoy, owners of Black Sands Entertainment. The Lower School hosted Danielle Robinson, niece of prominent singer and record label executive Sylvia Robinson, and Rochelle Ballantyne, slated to become the first female African American chess master. Each visit contributed its unique perspective to the school’s theme for Black History Month, “Expressions of Excellence and Joy of the African Diaspora.”
Sixth grade students faced off in a series of animated debates about climate change and the use of plastic water bottles during their earth science classes. The students were assessed during the exercise, which served as an alternative to traditional testing. “The debate capped off our controversial environmental topics unit,” said associate middle school teacher Katie O’Connor. “We started the unit discussing a variety of environmental issues, including what they are, how our lives are impacted, and what our role may or may not be. We spent a lot of time talking about how people might have different opinions about environmental issues, which led to the debate.”
During a lively simulation, Grade 8 students at King School re-enacted alliances and negotiations that developed between countries at the onset of World War I. The students began the role-playing activity with a think-pair-share exercise that encouraged students to reflect on what they learned about war, connect ideas, and discuss questions that stimulate curiosity and critical thinking on the subject. What is war? Why do countries go to war? Is war justified?
King School is kicking off Black History Month under the unified theme “Expressions of Excellence and Joy of the African Diaspora.” King’s Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Dr. Clyde Beverly III announced the theme to upper school students at a King Talk on January 31. “This year, we’re using a theme to guide us in moving away from talking only about the negative. Yes, those things are real and factual, but there’s a lot more that has happened that wasn’t always taught,” said Beverly.
The Jewish Student Union is an affinity group in King’s Middle School designated as a safe space for students who identify as Jewish to discuss matters related to pride in their ethno-religious identity. The students met on Friday, January 28, just one day after International Holocaust Remembrance Day, to discuss its impact on the world at large. The discussion was led by the group's advisors, history teacher Kenneth Lewis and Associate Head of Middle School Ben Magidson, both of whom also identify as Jewish.
For Juana Martinez-Neal, being a children’s book author and illustrator is about more than just creating colorful imagery – it’s about telling a story. During her visit to King’s Lower School, Martinez-Neal shared a presentation that painted a picture of life growing up in Peru and how her upbringing and culture have influenced her interests and career path as an author and illustrator. Using paintings and drawings that spanned her career, Martinez-Neal shared the progression of her experience with various art mediums to tell her own story.
This year, King School observed Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day with programming that explored the principles that build and strengthen a community. “Our youngest students learned about the importance of being an upstander and a good friend, while our older students deeply examined King School’s commitment to diversity as an essential element in the school's goal to prepare students to be true citizens of the world. Our entire student body was engaged in this work,” said King’s Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Dr. Clyde Beverly.
Using the SQ3R study method of surveying, questioning, reading, reciting, and reviewing, sixth grade students explored the geography of regions around the world. This five-step process is designed to encourage understanding of a text by engaging the reader throughout the research process. Under the guidance of history teacher Dana Karin, the students studied Africa, Latin America, Monsoon Asia, and Southwest and Central Asia and then designed a poster to present their research.
Students, faculty, staff, and administrators from all over the country came together for this year’s People of Color Conference (PoCC) and Student Diversity Leadership Conference. The conferences, hosted by the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS), were held online from November 29 to December 3, providing a virtual format of seminars, workshops, and affinity groups for its participants. Dr. Clyde Beverly III, who joined King School in July as the Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, reported that over 30 members of the King community participated in the conferences. “If we are to truly be an inclusive, welcoming, and respectful community, it is critical that our students, staff, and teachers engage in learning opportunities such as these,” said Beverly.
From climate change to education reform, eighth grade students at King School are exploring the role of rights and resistance for political or social change through activism. English teacher Stephanie Hoos and history teacher Kenneth Lewis paired up to propose the essential question, “What does activism look like?” The two teachers put together a list of over 80 activists under the age of 25 for the students to research.
Kindness is central at King, so when a few students found a pocket of free time after school, it was recognized as an opportunity, and “Give Back Tuesday'' was born. “We thought of community-based partnerships and a way that would really reach home during the holiday season,” said Ben Magidson, Associate Head of Middle School and Middle School Dean of Student Life. Magidson began working with members of the community to spearhead the initiative.
Hispanic Heritage Month is an annual celebration that recognizes the contributions and influence of Hispanic Americans to the history, culture, and achievements of the United States. To commemorate the occasion, which spans from September 15 to October 15, King School students immersed themselves in learning-by-doing research, delivering presentations, reading books, listening to music, and watching films on Hispanic culture.
Learning the geography of the world can seem daunting, but Grade 6 found a dynamic approach to the process. In 20th Century Global Perspectives class, students created “life maps” on which they marked the places around the world that have contributed to their personal histories.
This summer, King student Tucker Pedersen ’22 was selected to join the first-ever Global Citizens Initiative LEAD Challenge. The virtual summit, which took place from July 26-31, brought together secondary school students from all over the world to learn about leadership, ethics, advocacy, and design thinking. Tucker’s participation in the challenge qualified King School, a member of the Global Citizens Initiative, to become one of 30 schools worldwide to be represented at the summit.
King School is delighted to welcome Dr. Clyde Beverly III as Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) starting on July 1, 2021.
Beverly shared his enthusiasm by stating, "I'm excited to join the King community and continue the work started by Dr. Jean-Baptiste. I'm looking forward to working with Carol Maoz, Interim Head of School, the Board of Trustees, the leadership team, and the DEI team to continue to create an environment at King that is safe, inclusive, and affirming for all members of the King community including students, families, faculty, staff, and alumni."
In celebration of Women's History Month, middle school advisories organized an appreciation for women by acknowledging the wonderful contributions made by women at King School. The advisors identified a woman at King, referred to as a celebrant, that they would like to get to know better and prepared questions for an interview with her. Information about the celebrant is then featured on a dedicated bulletin board.
Members of the Upper School's Young Democrats and Young Republicans clubs interviewed Congressman Jim Himes, who represents Connecticut's fourth district. The meeting took place on March 10, and in the spirit of bipartisanship, the two clubs worked together to develop their questions.
On Wednesday, February 17, King School hosted inspirational speaker and inclusion advocate Schuyler Bailar as the second guest in the new King Reads Together Series organized by the Parents’ Association and the Office of Diversity Equity and Inclusion.
"I think it is really interesting that we are learning about different people who were heroes before, during, and after the civil rights movement," states Middle School Co-President Anya Anderson '25. "We are trying to learn more about people who may not have been better known so that we can show greater respect for them," she adds.
Guided by their teacher, Ellen Eagleton, grade 3 students are becoming increasingly knowledgeable about and empathetic to social issues in the world. Adom Bedu-Addo is inspired by César Chávez because "people would still be treated like slaves on farms" without Chávez's advocacy on behalf of farmworkers. "People can now have freedom, though there is more work to be done to have people treated equally," Adom adds.
Author, speaker, and activist Julie Lythcott-Haims engaged members of the King School community in a thought-provoking virtual conversation about race and identity that revolved around her memoir Real American. The book tells the author's journey of acceptance as a Black and biracial woman living in predominantly white communities.
The presentation, which took place on January 28, was part of the 2021 King Reads Together series sponsored by the Parents' Association, in partnership with the Office of Diversity Equity and Inclusion at King.
Giana Mazotas, Grade 4 student, feels she "likes music class because there are so many songs that you can learn and instruments you can play. You can work with friends and practice independently when you're playing the ukulele. It helps me learn when we can talk to each other and move around the room to keep ourselves active. Because we know so many chords and songs, I feel like I can keep playing the ukulele even after we stop playing in music class."
When the Upper School's newly formed human rights cohort was asked if they would like the opportunity to create community programming for Martin Luther King Jr. Day, the answer was a resounding "yes." Together, students worked to create an interactive board game style activity designed to uncover unsung Civil Rights heroes and stories.
In preparation for Martin Luther King Jr. Day, the Middle School combined academic and advisory programming that explored issues of social justice and civil rights. Encouraging different perspectives, students debated Dr. King's impact on society during his lifetime and beyond.
Lower School students explore the legacy of Dr. King and consider what it means to be a change-maker
Lower School students at King School learned about the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the long-lasting implications of his lifelong work toward justice and equality. Students tackled questions such as, “What does it mean to be a change-maker?” and “What kind of change-maker do you strive to be?”
A group of Upper School students met with representatives from the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Organization in mid-December to be trained in human rights advocacy, forming the first Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights cohort at King. They are already using their training to create meaningful community programming.
Dr. Sandy Lizaire-Duff, Head of Lower School at King School, embraces the Pollyanna Racial Literacy Curriculum and building relationships
Dr. Sandy Lizaire-Duff joined King School this year as Head of Lower School. In this conversation, she shares her perspective on how students benefit from the Pollyanna Racial Literacy Curriculum and from social emotional learning, plus more. Read part one of the Q&A with Dr. Lizaire-Duff in which she describes her perspective on her focus during her first year and on how students benefit from experiential learning.
A group of King Upper School students and staffulty attended the 2020 National Association of Independent Schools People of Color Conference (PoCC), and its student counterpart, the Student Diversity Leadership Conference (SDLC), and found it to be a meaningful and productive experience, despite the virtual format. "I personally enjoyed SDLC just as much as I did in person," says Sarah Cepeda '22, who attended the in-person conference in Seattle last year. "I wasn't expecting to have such a powerful experience." For King students, SDLC's affinity groups were the highlight of the conference. "The Latinx affinity group was amazing," says Sofia Izurieta '23. "Sometimes I've wondered if I really do belong here. Seeing and talking to other people who look like me and have the same background as me made me realize that I'm not alone. I do belong here. I do deserve to be here."
2020 National Association of Independent Schools People of Color Conference: Q&A with King School Head Dr. Karen Eshoo
What does it mean to be a leader of a school community at this critical moment in history? What does it mean to be a leader and a person of color in a predominantly white institution? These questions and more were explored in Lora McManus's "You Are Not Alone: Experiences of Discrimination and Microaggressions Toward Women of Color (WOC) Heads of Independent Schools," one of the presentations at the 2020 People of Color Conference (PoCC). King School's own Dr. Karen Eshoo, Head of School, participated in the study that the presentation explores and was one of three presenters at the PoCC webinar.
Affinity groups provide opportunities for students to connect with other community members who share a common identity. Sarah Cepeda '22, Hannah Greene '21, and Staffulty members Dr. Craig Tunks, PhD, and Adam Boaz reflect on the importance of the Students of Color, Jewish Students, and LGBTQIA+ affinity groups in the Upper School.
The Upper School has been engaging in a series of programs throughout remote Wednesdays focused on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion and defining what inclusive academic excellence means at King.
Congratulations to Milei Wyatt '21 (pictured in the middle) who was selected as a Scholar for the College Board National African American Recognition Program.
Congratulations to Alesia Paz '21 (pictured) who was selected as a Scholar for the College Board National Hispanic Recognition Program and to Cassandra Jean-Baptiste '21 on her selection as a Scholar for the College Board National African American Recognition Program.
Our first Spanish assembly was truly successful as it met all the goals we hoped to achieve. It allowed the students to practice their Spanish and learn about a very important topic; that of environmental conservation and the ways we can take part in helping reduce our carbon footprint.
Christos Galanopoulos, Chair of History Department, explores the "emotional outpouring of love of our community" at the last Upper School assembly this year. Experience Mr. Galanopoulos's reflection and a video of the assembly featuring the passionate speech by Luke Buttenwieser, President of the Upper School student body, and the touching tribute by Mr. Lear-Nickum to retiring teachers Cathy Mishkin and Connie Nichols.
"Big props to King School for bringing Christopher Dial to Stamford to talk about implicit bias. Many thanks to the KInD parents for the work they do to support the Committee. And may we all be patient with ourselves and those around us as we strive to understand how our brains work for us and against us, as individuals and as groups."
The King Community took a trip around the world last week and never left the LS gymnasium. It was an afternoon filled with memories of faraway places where the roots of our community began; delicious food once shared by families much like our own; and the differences that bring us together.
In late January, Grade 7 students enjoyed a day of service and activities at Building One Community: The Center for Immigrant Opportunity, Long Ridge Rehabilitation Center, and Trap't Escape Room. Students worked with local communities for a morning of meaningful service and collaborated as a team for afternoon activities.
The Grade 8 exchange program with the Greenwich Japanese School (GJS) has been part of the King MS curriculum for ten years. "The most fascinating aspect of the program is the way the students interact considering the language differences. Alternative communication in the way of gestures, smiles, and laughter always make the experience all the more enlightening and enjoyable."
In celebration of King's inclusive and diverse global community, flags have been installed in all three divisions that represent the countries native to King's students, parents, faculty, and staff. Following a community survey conducted in the fall, the School identified 65 different countries represented in the King family and the flags of origin were installed, over winter break, in the Upper School lobby, as well as the Middle and Lower Schools.
How does King School define a kind and inclusive community? Every day our staffulty, students, and parents make a choice to intentionally show consideration and compassion for others. King is committed to our Virtues of integrity, kindness, perseverance, and respect. One important way we show our commitment to cultivating a kind, inclusive community is by supporting staffulty at the NAIS People of Color Conference (PoCC) and students at the Student Diversity Leadership Conference (SDLC).
The Chinese guests tested the virtual reality and 3D printing machines in the Innovation Lab, explored 1980s art history and the techniques used during that period, attended AP Government, Chinese, Chemistry, and Biology classes, played basketball in the US gym, and toured the entire campus.
To round out Homecoming weekend, student-athletes from the fall sports teams welcomed over 125 runners, volunteers, alumni, family members, and friends to the 6th Annual King Cares 5K. The event benefits two non-profit organizations, the Orphaned Starfish Foundation (OSF) and the Boys and Girls Clubs of Stamford and Greenwich.
The Grade 8 Japanese School partnership has been part of the MS curriculum for eight years and seeks to create social connections for students. Our students learn to acknowledge and respect a culture much different than their own and practice kindness with a diverse group of kids. These are the important themes and beauty of the partnership and the cornerstone of our Virtues.
The topics of diversity and inclusion discussed on MLK Day are an important part of our curriculum. At King, we are guided by the School's Mission, Diversity Policy Statement, and Virtues of Integrity, Kindness, Perseverance and Respect