Diversity, Equity & Inclusion at MCDS
When Marin Country Day School was founded in 1956, our founders were committed to creating a diverse community comprised of families from both sides of the Golden Gate. The Bay Area is now one of the most diverse places in the country and we are committed to reflecting the vibrant mix of cultural, economic, racial, ethnic, sexual orientations, and family structures that are part of our everyday lives.
We believe a diverse and inclusive school community makes us better informed, more compassionate, and better prepared to effect positive change in the world.
Our families, faculty and staff represent an increasingly broad spectrum of economic backgrounds, family structures, racial, ethnic, and gender identities. We believe this diversity of experience equips our students with the perspectives and skills necessary to thrive in a complex, multicultural, and increasingly connected world.
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) is one of our three major strategic initiatives set forth by the Board of Trustees. Setting this initiative has led us to set thoughtful goals and make progress among our students, faculty, staff, and parents in DEI work. We hope you enjoy reading about how we engage students, faculty/staff, and parents in DEI work.
- Multicultural Education
- Anti-Bias Goals
- Identity Development Curriculum
- T.E.A. - Teaching Equity and Acceptance
- Learning Difference Panels
- Affinity Groups
Multicultural Education is a process that permeates all aspects of school practices, policies and organization as a means to ensure the highest levels of academic achievement for all students. It affirms our need to prepare students for their responsibilities in an interdependent world. It values cultural differences and affirms the pluralism that students, their communities, and teachers reflect. It helps students develop a positive self-concept
Multicultural education advocates the belief that students and their life histories and experiences are essential and necessary elements of the teaching and learning process. As such, pedagogy should occur with a context that is both familiar to students and addresses multiple experiences and ways of thinking. In this way, teachers and students are better equipped to critically analyze their communities, society and the world.
The process of Multicultural Education is iterative, ongoing and never ending. Best supported by a school staff that is diverse across multiple dimensions, culturally competent and capable of including and embracing diverse families and experiences, multicultural education, by its fluid rather than static nature,
Lower School faculty and administrators approach the teaching of diversity, identity, social justice and action, by weaving in the four Anti-Bias Education Goals throughout all aspects of curriculum. These four goals come from Louise Derman-Sparks & Julie Olsen Edwards' book, Anti-Bias Education for Young Children and Ourselves.
The four core goals of Anti-Bias Education are:
- Each child will demonstrate self-awareness, confidence, family pride, and positive social identities.
- Each child will express comfort and joy with human diversity; accurate language for human differences; and deep, caring human connections.
- Each child will increasingly recognize unfairness, have language to describe unfairness, and understand that unfairness hurts.
- Each child will demonstrate empowerment and the skills to act, with others or alone, against prejudice and/or discriminatory actions.
T.E.A. (Teaching Equity and Acceptance) is a student-initiated and -led group that engages in conversations about student-generated issues related to diversity, inclusion and social justice. Open to any Upper School student, this group meets regularly, presents at assemblies and leads events such as the Upper School Day of Silence. An adult facilitates this important Upper School group.
Learning Difference Panels are designed so that Upper School students talk to Lower School students about their experience at MCDS. They give advice on how to succeed in school and how to ask for what one needs in the classroom. There is an emphasis on exploring and learning about one’s own unique learning style which creates
Affinity Groups are intentionally designed to create a safe space for students, faculty/staff, or parents to discuss topics of interest, support one another, and explore one's affinity experience. All affinity groups are supported by the Head of School and the Division Heads. Student affinity groups in Upper School are optional and meet approximately once a month. Student input is used to form desired affinity spaces.
- Professional Development
- DEI Leadership Team
- Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Committee
As a school that models lifelong learning for students and parents, our faculty, staff and administrators participate in a wide array of learning opportunities around diversity, equity, and inclusion. Below is a sampling of recently attended workshops and conferences.
- Developmental Designs
- Gender & Athletics
- Gender Odyssey
- Learning and the Brain
- NAIS Diversity Institute
- Orton Gillingham Multi-Sensory Training
- People of Color Conference
- Remixed Festival
- Seed and Reseed
- Social Emotional Learning Institute
- Stanley King Counseling Institute
- White Priviilege Conference
- Wildwood Multicultural
- Wilson Fundations Workshop
The faculty/staff DEI Leadership Team is charged with the task of guiding the faculty and staff
SEED is a peer-led group open to all faculty and staff and meets monthly. These seminars promote community to address personal, institutional and community change through conversations around equity and diversity. Privilege, power and oppression are explored in safe, meaningful peer-led meetings. Looking to the future, our hope is to add a SEED group for parents in the next three to five years.
Through multiple units throughout the Lower School years, parents are engaged through homework and projects to have conversations with their children about various aspects of family identity. Parents, grandparents and other family members are also encouraged and often choose to share cultural or religious traditions in classrooms and at assemblies.
Affinity Groups are intentionally designed to create a safe space for students, faculty/staff, or parents to discuss topics of interest, support one another, and explore one’s affinity experience. All affinity groups are supported by the Head of School and the Division Heads. Student affinity groups in Upper School are optional and meet approximately once a month. Student input is used to form desired affinity spaces, and it was students who chose to establish race-based affinity spaces, including affinity groups for students of color and an affinity group for white students.
The active affinity groups for parents include the following:
- Adoptive Family
- Asian/Pacific Islander
- Black/African American
- Fil-Am (Filipino-American)
These affinity groups are led by either parents and/or faculty members.
Parent Education We strive to provide quality parent
- Tim Wise - anti-racist educator educator
- Cristen Brew -psychotherapist, educator, LGBTQ
- Elizabeth Scott - psychotherapist, body image focus
- Stephen Jones - consultant, Cultural Competency
- Susan Cain - author, introvert/extrovert focus
- Julie Lythcott-Haims - writer, parenting focus
- Rosetta Lee - diversity speaker, trainer, and educator
- Breakthrough San Francisco
- Bridge the Gap (Marin City)
- Next Generation Scholars (Marin)
- Our Family Coalition (Bay Area)
- People of Color in Independent Schools (POCIS)
- Schools Mentoring & Resource Team (SMART San Francisco)