From the Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Portledge’s mission to provide a competitive college preparatory program in a warm, inclusive community is only realized if every single student experiences a sense of belonging throughout their tenure at our school.  When a school makes a true commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion, all students are centered in the learning process and all school policies, instructional practices, and extracurricular activities are created, developed, and implemented to meet the needs of each student where they are and where they want to go.

At Portledge, diversity is most certainly reflected in the different races, ethnicities, religions, and geographic backgrounds of our student body.  However, the diversity we strive for goes beyond common cultural identifiers.  We have realized our mission when each student’s individual identity is validated and celebrated in and outside of the classroom and when we intentionally and consistently elevate students who may feel marginalized, including our students of color, students with disabilities, English language learners, students who identify as non-binary and our LGBTQ+ students.

At Portledge, we provide students with high-quality instruction, top-notch arts, and athletic programs, and a variety of community and travel programs that emphasize the Portledge Pillars of kindness, purpose, honor, and respect.  That is our vision and we execute on it every day.  Yet, our vision is not fully actualized unless we also look at the individualized needs of our students and then meet those needs in an equitable way.  We recognize that different students require different supports academically, socially-emotionally, and financially.

At Portledge, that sense of belonging is everything and it is such a personal feeling.  It is about acceptance, safety, and being a valued member of the community.  An inclusive school environment is defined by the student experience.  Every administrator, teacher, and coach at Portledge is responsible for cultivating that inclusivity through purposeful student engagement and in response to ongoing student feedback.  We have begun to do this through the creation of multicultural clubs, affinity groups, and faculty/staff development in the areas of diversity, equity, and inclusion.  We have begun to do this through the integration of a more culturally relevant curriculum and responsive teaching in the classroom.  We have begun to do this by engaging our larger community in this work through our Board DEI committee and Parent Association DEI book club and training.

As the Director of DEI, I work collaboratively with the Board, faculty, staff, students, and families of Portledge to further the school’s mission and vision.  Together, we must approach this challenging and necessary work with open minds, meaningful conversations, and a shared understanding that all Portledge students benefit from and deserve a learning environment that is diverse, equitable, and inclusive.

Traci L Douglas
Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Supporting Diversity and Inclusion

These books serve as resources for the type of work the Portledge community embraces as the school continues to create an inclusive learning environment that engages teachers, students, families, staff, and administrators in a commitment to equity, social justice, and intercultural awareness as aligned in the current Strategic Plan.

List of 4 items.

  • Multicultural Teaching: A Handbook of Activities, Information, and Resources

    Multicultural Teaching: A Handbook of Activities, Information, and Resources
    8th Edition - Pamela L. Tiedt
    If you need activities that will help you roll out a curriculum that respects diversity and celebrates it, this handbook is very helpful.
  • Teaching Controversial Issues: The Case for Critical Thinking and Moral Commitment in the Classrooms

    Teaching Controversial Issues: The Case for Critical Thinking and Moral Commitment in the Classrooms - Nel Noddings, Laura Brooks
    Eminent philosopher and Stanford University Professor, Nel Noddings and his daughter Laurie Brooks explain how teachers can foster critical thinking through the exploration of controversial issues. The emphasis is on the use of critical thinking to understand and collaborate, not simply to win arguments. The authors describe how critical thinking that encourages dialogue across the school disciplines and across social/economic classes prepare students for participation in democracy. They offer specific and concrete strategies for addressing a variety of issues related to authority, religion, gender, race, media, sports, entertainment, class, and poverty.
  • Teaching for Diversity and Social Justice

    Teaching for Diversity and Social Justice
    Third Edition - Maurianne Adams and Lee Bell with Diane J. Goodman and Khyati Y. Joshi
    For 20 years, Teaching for Diversity and Social Justice has been the definitive sourcebook of theoretical foundations, pedagogical and design frameworks, and curricular models for social justice teaching practice. Thoroughly revised and updated, this third edition continues in the tradition of its predecessors to cover the most relevant issues and controversies in social justice in a practical, hands-on format. Filled with ready-to-apply activities and discussion questions, this book provides teachers and facilitators with an accessible pedagogical approach to issues of oppression in classrooms.
  • The National Network of State Teachers of the Year

    The National Network of State Teachers of the Year (NNSTOY) - Teachers Leading -

Club Descriptions

List of 6 items.

  • DEI Club - Upper School

    Students strive to raise awareness in our community and empower all of our members to know that they have something to contribute to our community through their voices and through service to others. We do all we can to be positive role models who appreciate and respect each other. We value and treat everyone equally. Through our weekly gatherings, we continue to realize that our differences will always link us in our most common bond - that of our humanity.
  • Gender Sexuality Diversity Club - Upper School

    Gender and Sexuality Diversity Club mission statement:
    The students have defined the group as one that promotes understanding, knowledge, and acceptance of the GSD community in order to provide a safe, non-judgemental space for everyone as a support network in Portledge School.
  • Portledge World Cultures Club - Upper School

    Portledge World Cultures Club both celebrates the cultural diversity of the Portledge community and promotes interest in world cultures through study sessions (e.g. on Chinese history or French literature), service projects (e.g. fundraisers for communities in need), and school-wide events (e.g. the Asian New Year celebration, dramatic performances in French or Spanish, World Food Day).
  • PRIDE Club - Upper School

    We serve the LGBTQ+ community of Portledge School through outreach, service, and education. We want everyone to know that regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity, they matter and their feelings are important and valid. This club is open to all students of Portledge School, even if they are not a member of the LGBTQ+ community. We hope that this club will help to create an environment where all students will feel welcome, appreciated, and accepted.
  • Upstander Club - Middle School

    The Upstander Club is designed to promote kindness within and beyond the Portledge community. It raises awareness about issues of injustice and then brainstorms and enacts ways to combat them. The club members are advocates for tolerance and understanding. The Upstander Club also emphasizes the importance of community service and the celebration of differences.  We have screened Soul Surfer for Disability Awareness Month and Remember the Titans to raise awareness of social justice and equity issues.
  • World Cultures Elective - Middle School

    Students in the World Cultures elective explore celebrations and holidays of different cultures through research and hands-on activities in alignment with when the events fall on the calendar. Special foods are sometimes sampled to enhance the learning experience.

Past Highlights

Director of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

Traci L. Douglas

DEI Consultants

“My vision is a world where schools and organizations are built upon and operating from strong foundations for equity and justice, and where the people in them are inspired to be their best selves.” - Martha Haakmat
    • Molly Davis

List of 1 items.

Portledge School Diversity Statement

The Portledge School community strives to raise awareness about the beauty of diversity in its many forms.  We work to empower people in our community to know that they have something to contribute to our school through their voices and through service to others. We strive to develop an inclusive community that values respect for social justice and equity. We aspire to consider all perspectives. Through our efforts, we continue to realize that despite our differences, we will always be linked through our most common bond - that of our shared humanity.

DEI Committee Mission

Our mission is to help our inclusive and diverse school community further embrace differences and view issues from multiple perspectives. The committee works to promote respect, awareness, understanding, and appreciation of diversity, equity, and inclusion on and off-campus, as well as to increase multicultural competencies throughout the school community.

Cultural Identifiers

  • Ability
  • Age
  • Beliefs
  • Ethnicity
  • Family of origin
  • Gender
  • Geographic/regional background
  • Language
  • Learning style
  • Race
  • Religion
  • Sexual orientation
  • Socioeconomic status
  • Body image
  • Educational background
  • Academic/social achievement

Diversity Education

Portledge School’s commitment to educating its students for national and global citizenship is aligned with our current strategic plan goal of Equity and Social Justice.  Teachers, students, families, staff, and administrators partner together to deliver and support diversity education in an inclusive learning environment. Portledge readies its students to thrive in a globalized society and multicultural communities. We offer a curriculum and co-curricular programs that build the knowledge, understanding, mindset and skills students will need for leadership and life in a diverse and interdependent world.  Students are positioned for rich human encounters not only today but as they move forward in future endeavors.

Alumni Corner

Alumni Zoom Meeting
DEI Information Session I: A Discussion on Diversity
June 24, 2020
In light of the recent events that have sprung in our nation after the killing of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery, the Black Lives Matter movement has sparked some of the largest protests in U.S. history. Portledge School partook in meaningful conversation with its alumni by hosting an information session to discuss and engage in honest conversation on the issue of race and racial tension in America. Alumni voiced their concerns, discussed common grounds for their alma mater, and engaged in authentic and meaningful dialogue through the sharing of diverse perspectives that bettered the school and will continue to do so in the future.
Alumni Zoom Meeting
DEI Information Session II: Mobilizing for Impact
July 23, 2020
The second session addressed the different ways Portledge School intends to educate its school community on becoming an anti-racist institution. The DEI Coordinator, along with members of the DEI Committee will facilitate the discussion and update their alumni community on the steps the school is committed to as it prepares its students to have the skills necessary to tackle issues of race and racism in an ever-changing world.
Brown-Gary Associates - Engage. Lead. Change.
DEI Training: Why Create an Inclusive School Culture?
August 28, 2019
After defining the synergy between “diversity,” “inclusion” and “multicultural practice,” this workshop makes the Demographic, Business, Psychological and Educational cases for why independent schools need to create and sustain an inclusive culture. The presentation proceeds to describe what elements constitute an inclusive culture at a school and to assess where your school is on a time-line of inclusion.