Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (D.E.I.) 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 D.E.I. work. We hope you enjoy reading about how we engage students, faculty/staff, and parents in D.E.I. work.


Multicultural Education

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 by providing knowledge about the histories, cultures, and contributions of diverse groups. School curriculum must address issues of race, ethnicity, age, ability, gender, sexuality, religion and socioeconomic status.

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, seeks to accomplish the goals of equitable educational access and rigorous academic achievement for all students so that they can work toward social change.

Anti-Bias Goals

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:

  1. Each child will demonstrate self-awareness, confidence, family pride, and positive social identities.
  2. Each child will express comfort and joy with human diversity; accurate language for human differences; and deep, caring human connections.
  3. Each child will increasingly recognize unfairness, have language to describe unfairness, and understand that unfairness hurts.
  4. Each child will demonstrate empowerment and the skills to act, with others or alone, against prejudice and/or discriminatory actions.

Identity Development

Identity Development: Identity development is emphasized in each grade level at MCDS. We believe working with students and families to explore and learn about topics such as race and ethnicity, gender identity, skin color, family culture, and stories of immigration contribute to a deeper understanding of what it means to be culturally competent.

Examples of Identity Curriculum By Grade Level:
Self-awareness, family structure and gender identity are taught through Energy Time, puppets & songs.
First Grade
Students exploring their own skin color and the origin of their names. They learn about different family structures  through literature and watching the video “That’s a Family.”
Second Grade
Deepening students’ understanding of the beauty of different family structures, families race, ethnicity, and culture and diving into gender spectrum exploration is the focus for 2nd graders.
Third Grade
Students dive into hands on research of diverse San Francisco neighborhoods, so that they can learn about geographic diversity and gentrification.
Fourth Grade
Sharing family stories of immigration leads to historical immigration events throughout California history. Students name their own ethnicity and discuss terms such as ethnicity, race, biracial, multiracial & white.
Fifth Grade
Exploring cultures, natural resources, food and material possessions under the umbrella of cultural competency & global citizenship guides the work to answer the Essential Question: How does where you live and your experiences affect your perspective and opportunities?
Sixth Grade
A deep study of the Civil Rights Movement, along with reading “Brown Girl Dreaming,” “Wonder,” and current news publications  allow for rich discussions about the history of race in America.
Seventh Grade
Reading “The Curious Incident of the Dog at Nighttime,” “Friends with Boys” and “Anya’s Ghost”allow students to deepen their understanding of empathy. Writing personal narratives focuses on discovering one’s own changing and developing identity.
Eighth Grade
Understanding your identity as part of a larger community through literature, group activities  and personal narrative writing is the focus of the eighth grade experience. Students read “American Born Chinese” to embrace one’s identity and “All American Boys” to learn about social justice.


T.E.A. - Teaching Equity and Acceptance

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

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 inclusivity through sharing personal stories.

Affinity Groups

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. Last year, students chose to establish race based affinity spaces, including an affinity group for students of color and an affinity group for white students.



Professional Development

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

Adult Equity & Inclusion

The Co-Coordinators of Adult Equity and Inclusion are charged with the task of guiding the faculty and staff in work on diversity, inclusion, and equity, as well as leading the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee. Karin Soriano-Bilal and Leslie Tran will lead both divisions, working closely with the Division Heads, to continue to move our adult community forward in defining identity and deepening our work on cultural competency, so that our work in the classroom is meaningful, and rich. Our faculty is focused on guiding our students to understand themselves and their world through a meaningful, respectful, and compassionate lens.

Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Committee

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee is comprised of faculty and is lead by the Co-Coordinators of Adult Equity and Inclusion. The main goal is to build community through the lenses of equity and inclusion. Additionally, the committee will be focused on deepening our faculty's skill set around cultural competency.


Fusion is an affinity group for faculty and staff of color and provides a regular safe space for members to explore their affinity experience and discuss pertinent topics with peers.


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.


Curricular Engagement

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

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 last year, students chose to establish race based affinity spaces, including an affinity group for students of color and an affinity group for white students. 

Currently, there are three active affinity groups for parents including an Adoptive Family Affinity Group, a Black/African American Affinity Group, and an LGBTQIA+ Affinity Group. These affinity groups are led by either parents and/or faculty members.

Inclusion Contact Volunteers

Inclusion Contact Volunteers are a group of past and current parent volunteers. This group is led by the MCDS admission team and is a resource to prospective parents, as well as an internal resource, helping administration improve recruitment, retention, and communication efforts.

Parent Education

Parent Education We strive to provide quality parent education exploring various topics including, but not limited to, cultural competency, body image, gender, and learning differences. We record many of the speakers so that parents who cannot attend have access to the information. Below is a sample of past and current speakers:

  • Tim Wise - anti-racist educator educator
  • Cristen Brew -psychotherapist, educator, LGBTQ focus
  • 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

Affilliations & Community Partnerships

  • 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)