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

DEI Resources for the Portledge Community

Portledge DEI Student Club Opportunities

List of 4 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.
  • Sexuality and Gender Acceptance (SAGA) 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.
  • 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.

DEI Committee Mission

Our mission is to bring together faculty and staff to develop programming that raises awareness as well as promotes respect and appreciation for diversity, equity, and inclusion at Portledge.  This is accomplished through multicultural curriculum, student-led clubs, faculty professional development, school-wide activities, and parent engagement events.

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

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Portledge School DEI Statement

Portledge strives to celebrate the diversity of our school community by embracing our differences and highlighting our shared experiences. We look at the individualized needs of our students and then meet those needs in an equitable way. We support our faculty and staff in identifying resources and professional development to build their cultural competencies and deliver culturally relevant instruction. We plan strategically on the Board level to advance our DEI initiatives in keeping with the school's mission and vision. We ground ourselves in our four pillars of kindness, purpose, honor, and respect to ensure that there is a common understanding and unifying language to strengthen our diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts.

Cultural Identifiers

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

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.