A group of six Upper School students and six staffulty, including Head of School Karen Eshoo, from multiple divisions and disciplines traveled together for and experienced an insightful and transformative experience at the NAIS People of Color Conference and the Student Diversity Leadership Conference in December. As student Hanhah Greene '21 enthused, "What was so compelling about this conference was meeting people from all around the country living totally different lives, but were able to connect and find such close similarities between one another."
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
Diversity is about representation -- ensuring that people across a wide spectrum of worldviews, ability, race, gender, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, religious beliefs, and political affiliation -- are part of a community. Research has shown that a diversity of viewpoints and life experiences leads to innovation and creativity. Connecting the dots from a passive place of having diversity to leveraging diversity for innovation and creativity is: equity. This means ensuring fairness in access to information and resources for all, which entails acknowledging that different students have different needs to achieve success and putting those tools in place. Inclusion requires intentional practice on everyone’s part. Inclusion entails leveraging diversity in order to make it so that all students, staffulty, and families experience King as a safe, welcoming community to which they belong. It means that it is this type of culture that will ensure that King continues to be at the cutting-edge of delivering innovative education for the long-term.
King School Diversity Policy 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.
PreK-Grade 12 Curriculum
Rooted in respect and personal responsibility, the King culture offers a supportive and reflective environment that embraces diversity as a central component to educational excellence. The program promotes understanding, dialogue, empowerment, and opportunities among the King community.
The Diversity Program is integrated across the PreK-Grade 12 curriculum. Age-appropriate texts are carefully selected from different global, cultural, religious, gender, and socioeconomic perspectives to engender awareness and class conversations.
To build upon the curriculum, there are additional initiatives:
- Across multiple-divisions, we celebrate with our Global Fair
- In Lower School, we build upon the theme of identity. Through developmentally appropriate classroom activities, students share “Who Am I?” and “What makes me unique?”
- In Middle School, conversations are held to engage in reflections on gender norms and stereotypes, personal identity, microaggressions and micro-affirmations. King students in Grades 7 and 8 join students from other independent schools at a yearly diversity conference sponsored through the Connecticut Association of Independent Schools.
- In Upper School, students are offered the opportunity to engage in discussions about issues of social identity and multiculturalism. Through these experiences, students build community, learn core concepts, and engage in honest dialogue. A group of US students and faculty attend the yearly National Association of Independent Schools’ Student Diversity Leadership Conference (SDLC), a part of the yearly People of Color in Independent Schools Conference (PoCC). Faculty also attends the annual White Privilege Conference.
- National Association of Independent Schools’ Student Diversity Leadership Conference (SDLC), a part of the yearly People of Color in Independent Schools Conference (PoCC)
- National Association of Independent Schools’ Student Diversity Leadership Conference (SDLC) - Connecticut Regional Event
- Young Women of Color Conference
- Young Men of Color Conference
- Saturday Summit on Social Justice
Faculty & Staff Diversity Committee
The Committee on Diversity consists of a broad range of King faculty and staff who work in collaboration to support and promote intellectual, cultural, and social pluralism at King. This advisory group is responsible for monitoring programs and policies adopted by the School in supporting its commitment to diversity. The Committee works to promote shared values of mutual understanding and collaboration around intellectual and cultural understanding, diversity, and inclusion.
PA KInD Committee
The mission of the Parents' Association's King Inclusion and Diversity Committee (KInD) is to help create a safe, welcoming space for King parents and our entire school community, through inclusion, while, at the same time, accepting and embracing our diversity. The goal of this committee is to serve as a liaison with the PA as a resource for parents, particularly those new to King. The KInD committee works to engage the School on matters of difference, works together to tackle barriers, and embraces opportunities to enhance diversity. The committee brings events to the King community, including: movie screenings, book readings and celebrations of the full spectrum of issues of difference, race and class, learning differences, non-traditional families, and gender equality. The KInD committee looks to become agents of change in many ways on issues of social justice and equality. King is a place for all parents. The Committee also works closely with the Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion to help foster a culture in which King is a welcoming, safe space for our entire school community through various events throughout the year.
Diversity in Action
King students and staffulty attend Saturday Summit on Social Justice to gain knowledge, make connections, and explore diversity, equity, and inclusion.
The King community celebrated our first Indigenous Peoples' Day (IPD) in October. The SilverCloud Singers visited campus and spoke about Indigenous Peoples' Day and its significance for Indigenous groups in the United States today. By honoring cultural differences and intellectual diversity, we create a vibrant learning community where each person is valued.
Dr. Jean-Baptiste introduced a new series of parent education events: Hot Coffee, Hot Topics. These are parent/caregiver workshops and discussions to grow our collective social, intellectual, emotional capacity for navigating current cultural and social transformations that impact how children learn. In these events, parents and caregivers will engage with each other, learn, and talk about tools, strategies, and challenges for developing cultural competence and how to provide a full circle of support for students from school to home.
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.
The King Cares program continues to participate in an array of wonderful service work throughout the greater community. During the month of December, several Upper School advisories collaborated to support King's partner organizations. For instance, students collected items for Pacific House, a men's shelter in Stamford, others conducted a children's coat drive to support a shelter in Danbury. Another group prepared a meal with Flik to serve at Inspirica, an organization working to break the cycle of homelessness.
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.
Earlier this week, the PA King Inclusion and Diversity Committee (KInD) sponsored a breakfast meeting with Head of School Karen Eshoo, who offered insight about the definitions of diversity, inclusion, and equity.
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.
Grade 3 spent the day with Lady Liberty on Tuesday, April 24 with a visit to Ellis Island that culminated their year-long study on the city of Stamford and immigration.
On Sunday April 15, King students and faculty attended the Student Diversity Leadership Conference hosted by the Connecticut Association of Independent Schools (CAIS).
In early April, students, faculty, and parents enjoyed the cultural immersion and fantastic food at the annual Multicultural Fair. The Parents' Association's Parents Diversity Committee (PDC) organized the event, which consists of parent-sponsored tables that showcase a country's culture, customs, and food as well as facts about the country.
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.