Diversity & Inclusion at Berkeley Carroll
An area of focus at Berkeley Carroll is creating an environment that is not only diverse, but inclusive, so every member of the community feels respected, valued and that they belong as an equal. This means approaching diversity and inclusion with a multi-pronged strategy encompassing academics, admissions, financial aid, student life, family support, faculty and staff hiring and accessibility to the school.
“What we need—as a community, as a culture, as a society—is constantly evolving,” Director of Community and Inclusion Brandie Melendez said. “We have to work harder and dive deeper to have challenging conversations.”
Integrating diversity and inclusion as cornerstones of a Berkeley Carroll education means incorporating them into the daily life of the school not simply discussing them at special events as a one-off topic. They should be an ordinary, familiar part of life at Berkeley Carroll for every member of the community.
Diversity Mission Statement
As an inclusive community, Berkeley Carroll honors the dignity of all people. In our culture and our program, we embrace and respect differences.These include age, ethnicity, family structure, gender, learning style, physical ability, race, religion, sexual orientation, and socioeconomic class.
We believe in teaching and learning about these issues, even when the conversations are difficult. Our commitment to diversity is one expression of the mission of our school. We want to help students understand the complexity of a constantly changing world. The confidence and ability to engage respectfully with others is a signature of a Berkeley Carroll education.
- Diversity in Admissions
- Diversity in the Lower School
- Diversity in the Middle School
- Diversity in the Upper School
- Diversity in Employment
Berkeley Carroll's student body is representative of a wide range of backgrounds. In addition to community outreach by the Admissions Office, the school works with organizations such as Prep for Prep, The Oliver Program, The TEAK Fellowship, Boys’ Club NYC, and The Breakthrough Collaborative to enroll students who will further add to our economically and racially diverse community.
In the Lower School, it is our hope that our students should never feel that they need to leave any significant part of themselves behind when stepping through the door and becoming part of the community. With that in mind, we follow the Responsive Classroom (RC) approach, which promotes the idea that the social emotional curriculum is as important as the academic. RC helps children learn to cooperate with one another, to assert themselves appropriately in academic and social situations, to be responsible, and to develop empathy and self-control. Each teacher is trained in using particular language to foster children’s positive self image and growth. This approach creates a warm, nurturing environment where expectations are consistent and clear and students learn to be kind, honest, and respectful toward one another.
Beginning in PreK, students learn about what it means to be a member of a diverse community. Through a selection of purposefully chosen literature and many conversations and activities, students are exposed to different aspects of diversity throughout their years in Lower School. Curricular topics are shared in each grade with intentionality so children see not only themselves and their families, but the diverse population of the neighborhood and city represented in their studies, in classroom materials, and on classroom walls. Racial and ethnic identity, gender expression, sexuality, family structure and other topics are highlighted and celebrated as we encourage children to understand the world around them. Students explore ideas around social justice and equity and are empowered to affect change through a variety of service learning projects.
Our health and human sexuality curriculum, which also begins in PreK, helps our students develop age-appropriate understanding of and respect for sexuality and gender related topics. Through their work in science classes and the classroom, children gain an understanding of differences and similarities in the physical characteristics of bodies and how and why bodies function as they do and change as they get older. Students learn scientifically accurate vocabulary for anatomy (including sex-specific body parts) as they learn about body systems. Children are given opportunities to explore their own personal identity and come to recognize and respect the identity of other individuals and families.
The Middle School integrates the theme of diversity and inclusion throughout all courses -- from the hard sciences to humanities, Spanish and the arts -- to help students prepare for citizenship in a global, multicultural society.
Faculty treat each student as an individual, respecting each for who (s)he is. They encourage students to develop a clear sense of identity, justice, and appreciation for cultures different than their own, as well as an understanding of how they might create change in the world.
In Humanities, a required 4-year Middle School course, students examine issues of race, identity, and social justice, as well as examining how socio-economic class, gender and sexuality affect the lives of individuals.
History projects and topics are designed to explore underlying power structures and ways in which individuals and groups have managed to overcome obstacles to create social justice. 7th graders focus on American history and the institution of slavery with its long-lasting legacy. They also study the role of the justice system in maintaining and depriving citizens of essential rights. In 8th grade, the Wax Museum project asks students to choose a person who has had a positive impact on the world, research that person, then embody him or her at a public presentation.
Providing young people with ways forward and examples of successful efforts at making a difference in the world is important to us. We hope to support a justified sense of optimism and hope in all our students.
Middle School Affinity Groups and Alliances
Middle School People of Color (MSPOC)
MSPOC is open to all middle school students who identify as people of color. It is a space for us to connect with each other, create a sense of unity, and discuss topics relevant to our experiences as POC inside and outside BC. If you identify as a person of color, we encourage you to join us. MSPOC is facilitated by several of the race-based affinity group leaders and other adults who identify as POC.
Middle School Multiracial Affinity Group
To be multiracial means you have mixed ancestry of two or more races. We invite all students who identify as multiracial to join our brave space as we build a cohort of support, kindness, and understanding.
Girls to Women Affinity Group
The Girls to Women (G2W) Affinity Group is a space where students that identify as girls have the opportunity to discuss different topics and how they relate to being female identified. It is a space of kindness, support, understanding advocacy and empowerment.
LGBTQ+ Affinity Group
The LGBTQ+ Affinity Group is a space where LGBTQ+ identified people have the opportunity to discuss different topics and how they relate specifically to the LGBTQ+ community. It is a space of kindness, understanding advocacy and empowerment.
Black Student Affinity Group
The Black Student Affinity Group is a space for students who identify as Black to come together to celebrate the various ethnic and cultural identities of people who identify as African, African American, Afro Caribbean, Afro Latinx, and all others included in the African diaspora. We will share stories and discuss issues impacting us as Black people.
Learning Differences Affinity Group
The learning differences affinity space is a place for students with a diagnosed learning difference to connect. Any student who has a learning plan is welcome to join a relaxed, low-key, conversational space. We can talk about the challenges and joys of having a learning difference and what it means for you. However, you are not required to share the specifics of your learning difference.
First Generation Affinity Group
If one or both of your parents, or you, is the first to be born in the United States, please join us in our First Generation Affinity Group to connect with each other, share stories, and talk about the importance of food, and what it’s like to be multicultural.
Arab, Middle Eastern, and Western Asian Affinity Group
If you identify as someone from the cultures of North Africa, the Middle East, or Western Asia, please join us! We will come together to share our experience of having multicultural identities, what our cultures have in common, the foods that are important to our families, and what it is like to be a member of these communities.
Asian/Asian American Affinity Group
If you identify as Asian, Asian American, and/or you or your family is from an East Asian, Southeast Asian, South Asian country, please join us! We can share our experiences, find unity and solidarity, and discuss relevant topics. This will be a kind and welcoming environment where we can support each other.
Latinx Affinity Group
If you identify as Latina, Latino or Latinx and/or you or your family is from a Spanish speaking country, we invite you to join us! We will spend our time together sharing our experiences and discussing topics related to our Latinx identity. Our affinity group is a safe space where we can get to know one another and celebrate our shared cultural heritage and roots.
MS JADA (Joint Alliance for Diversity Awareness)
The mission for MS JADA states the following:
MS JADA provides a brave space for all members of our community who respect, honor and celebrate the wide range of differences in ourselves. Our purpose is to discuss important, controversial, tough, and uncomfortable issues that affect all individuals who identify with any race, culture, socioeconomic class, gender spectrum, sexual orientation, religion, political leanings, and the like. Our goal is to strive to help raise awareness for diversity and equity in our school’s community. For a community to thrive, it must be aware of the experience of each and every individual in it.
Diversity is the cornerstone of the High School Program. Tolerance, respect, connection, an open mind, these are just a few of the ideas that drive the discussion about what it means to be an ethical and global citizen in the 21st century. Students read, write, debate and analyze their responses to a diverse range of literature, history and language. The Visiting Speakers Program reinforces this conversation by hosting published writers of political science, the environment and racial relations. Students and Faculty broaden their perspectives about difference through participation in the Student Leadership Conference (SDLC), People of Color Conference (POCC), the United Nations Student Conference on Human Rights, the 9th Grade New York at Night Program, the World Affairs Breakfast Club, and the leadership and service courses in Costa Rica, India, and Kenya. These experiences give students the skills to facilitate affinity groups and workshops on Diversity Day and Awareness Day, tackling questions such as “Does Gender Matter?”, “Who Gets a Voice?” and “Am I My Brother’s Keeper?” Understanding diversity in all its forms is ongoing and is a key to building empathy and leadership in our community and in the world.
Upper School Affinity Groups and Alliances
The Asian American Affinity Group - AAA
The Asian American Students Association is a club that meets several times a year to discuss issues of concern to Asian American students and to celebrate the various cultures of the student members. We are planning to enjoy food, music and dance from different Asian countries. We will also discuss political and social concerns in the US as well as throughout the world. This affinity group is intended for students who identify as Asian or Asian-American. In 2018-19, we planned a movie event, a Dim Sum outing, a BC Talks, and other Holiday festivities. We hope to plan these, as well as new events in the upcoming year.
Black Human Girl - BHG
BHG is a sacred space that centers the experiences and needs of Black girls, women and femmes. We will include current events surrounding those who identify as Black and female, and we would like to highlight and celebrate the positivity that comes with the intersectionality of black girlhood. All faculty, staff, and US students who self identify as black girls/women, are encouraged to join us.
Girls to Women - G2W
Girls 2 Women is an affinity group striving to create a safe space for self-identified girls and women. Those who attend will have the chance to discuss serious (and not so serious) topics with female peers and faculty at our school. We will learn about what it means to be a girl at Berkeley Carroll, and in the greater world. We will have a combination of structured meetings, ones with predetermined discussions and scheduled speakers, and less structured meetings, where students will have the opportunity to share personal stories experiences, thoughts on being a woman in society as a whole, and anything in-between. Throughout the year, G2W will be hosting fundraisers to support women locally and globally. It is important to us as leaders that this group represents intersectional feminism.
Jewish Culture Club - JCC
JCC is a group for students and faculty who identify as Jewish to discuss and take part in Jewish culture. We will be watching movies, discussing shared experiences and current events pertaining to the ethnic group, and eating Jewish foods. We will have some meetings and school-wide activities open to all students and faculty to attend.
Joint Alliance for Diversity Awareness - JADA
JADA provides a secure space for all members of our community who respect, honor and celebrate the wide range of differences in ourselves (aka intersectionality). Our purpose is to discuss important, controversial, tough, and uncomfortable issues that affect all individuals who identify with any race, culture, socioeconomic class, gender spectrum, sexual preference, religion, ability and the like. Our goal is to strive to help raise awareness for diversity in our school’s community, and to hopefully spread this beneficial knowledge to others. For our community to thrive, we must be aware of the experience of each and every individual.
The LatinX affinity group provides a safe space for anyone who identifies as Latinx, both students, and staff of BC, to safely and honestly express themselves. In our group, we spend time discussing many diverse aspects of our identities, such as race, language, religion, media representation, current events, etc. We will be addressing topics concerning latinidad worldwide, nationwide, and locally. Through food, dance, media, and other various activities, we’ll further explore our Latin roots. LatinX will embrace all members and their culture(s) in a positive environment.
Multiracial Affinity Group
The multiracial affinity group is a place of unity for all students who feel that in the past they have not really 'fit in' with just one particular race or ethnicity due to a multiracial background. The aim of this space is to provide a place where people who are often found 'caught between two worlds' to embrace differences and find strength in shared experience.
People of Color - P.O.C.
P.O.C. provides an embracing environment where all students of color can support and promote their differences. P.O.C. allows students to be honest without feeling inhibited by the presence of people who don’t share the same identities and experiences. It offers a platform to help students develop a deeper sense of belonging and community with one another. We hope to highlight the unique diversity in our experiences, cultures and ethnicities.
Spectrum is a space for and by students: we wish to create a safe space for students of all genders and sexualities. Spectrum is also about confidentiality, open dialogue, advocacy, and snacks. Open to both members and allies of the community, our goal is to create a safe space, and to work towards making the entire school a safer space for LGBTQ+ people.
Young Men of Color - YMC
Young Men of Color is an affinity group for those members of the BC community who would like to explore and question the intersectionality of their race/ethnicity and gender. We will deeply listen to each other, challenge preconceived notions of race, class, and gender, and build connections with each other and other affinity groups. Please join us for music, life-changing discussion.
Professional Development OpportunitiesFaculty and administrators participate in several professional development opportunities throughout the school year, both on campus and off, which enrich our understanding of diversity in our community. Some opportunities include:
- The NYSAIS Diversity Conference on Social and Economic Class in Independent Schools
- Each year we send a group of faculty to the annual POCC (People of Color Conference) sponsored by NAIS (National Association of Independent School).
- On-campus meetings of SEED (Seeking Educational Equity and Diversity)
- Undoing Racism Conference (The Anti-Racist Alliance)
Statement of Non-Discrimination in EmploymentThe Berkeley Carroll School ("Berkeley Carroll") is an Equal Opportunity Employer. Berkeley Carroll does not discriminate in hiring or employment on the basis of race, color, religious creed, national origin, sex, ancestry, sexual orientation, as defined by law, or on the basis of age, as defined by law, disability or genetic information.
Berkeley Carroll provides health insurance for the domestic partners of its faculty as well as maternity and paternity leave for birth or adoption of a child