Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

At The Elizabeth Ann Clune Montessori School of Ithaca we prepare children for leadership in an equitable, just and peaceful world.

The goal of a Montessori education is human solidarity. Montessori’s aim was to bring our global interdependencies to consciousness in young people. Her pedagogy highlights the reality of a single human nation in the hearts and minds of students. Montessori considered this direct preparation for their future as architects of societies where all are responsible for the common good.

Montessorians create environments that honor and protect human dignity, validate individual experiences and lives, and habituate seeking understanding. An authentic Montessori environment prioritizes teaching children the necessary skills to interact with others in a respectful manner.

A Montessori curriculum evolves with life and responds to the realities and needs of the current era. Today, the changing demographics in the United States, the growing global interconnectedness in the work lives of adults, and the racial/economic inequities embedded in our highly stratified society, must all be addressed in a Montessori experience.

As a Montessori school, we teach children to recognize and appreciate human similarities and value human solidarity. As an educational institution working towards equity and justice, we also teach children to recognize and value human differences. Through curriculum and day to day experiences we address concepts such as race, gender, ethnicity, ability and sexual orientation.

Our goal is vibrant co-existence by means of skillful engagement across differences. We aim to build a community where difference is recognized and celebrated, not just tolerated, and inclusion rather than assimilation is the goal. Our intention is to create a community that affirms each individual’s identity so that they may be a full participant in every experience offered.

We believe…

Diversity in ethnicity, race, gender, gender identity, religion, sexual orientation and social class makes us a stimulating and relevant learning and growing community.

Diversity leads to academic excellence and is critical to building leadership qualities in our students..

To best prepare our students for the future, daily life at EAC should involve interacting and working with a multitude of others, contemplating various and differing points of view, and taking in and appreciating multiple perspectives brought forward by people from divergent backgrounds.

All students deserve to see their identities represented and reflected in the curriculum.

All students should have access to safe spaces to connect with those with shared salient identities, as well as brave spaces to forge relationships despite discomfort.

We will strive to:

Increase the number of students from underrepresented groups through outreach and active recruitment.

Improve the quality of experiences for students from underrepresented groups by evaluating and amending our curriculum to better reflect and represent the diversity of our student body.

Promote the success and retention of students from underrepresented groups by developing support systems deemed “best practice” for underrepresented groups in predominantly white schools

Increase the number of faculty/staff from underrepresented groups by active recruitment and offers of training via NEMNET (The National Employment Minority Network), outreach to Cornell University, Ithaca College, SUNY Cortland and Wells College, as well as Montessori training centers.

Develop support systems deemed “best practice” for faculty/staff from underrepresented groups in predominantly white schools.

Continue to focus professional development resources on diversity/equity/inclusion training for all faculty/staff.

Develop and implement affinity groups for parents to foster engagement of all constituencies in the challenges and rewards of valuing diversity and multiculturalism and gather input from members of underrepresented groups to ensure that their voice is heard.

Evaluate all policies and protocol through an equity lens.

Faculty/Staff DEI Training:

Brave Trainings, LLC workshops on identity, anti bias, cultures of belonging

Mental Health First Aid

LGBTQ Inclusive Practices

Diversity Directions Independent School Seminar

Independent School Management’s Double Edged Sword of Diversity

SEED (Creating Conversational Communities That Drive Change)

Summer Work 2018:

Each member of the faculty, staff and administration participated in small group discussions and curriculum development based on their choice from the following resources:

Raising White Kids, Jennifer Harvey

Witnessing Whiteness, Shelly Tochluk

So You Want To Talk About Race, Ijeoma Oluo

What If All The Kids Are White?, Julie Olsen Edwards

What Does it Mean to Be White?, Robin DiAngelo

Other Professional Development Resources Used by EACMSI Faculty/Staff:

Race: The Power Of Illusion

The Mask We Live In

Tim Wise: White Like Me

Chimamanda Adichi: Danger of a Single Story

Peggy McIntosh: White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack

Louise Derman Sparks: Anti-Bias Education

Rethinking Schools: Rethinking Sexism, Gender and Sexuality

Stacey York: Roots and Wings: Affirming Culture in Early Childhood Programs

Lee Mun Wah: The Color of Fear

Anderson Cooper 360: A Look at Race Relations through a Child’s Eyes

NPR: Bias Isn’t Just A Police Problem, It’s A Preschool Problem

TED: How Can I Have a Positive Racial Identity? I’m White! | Ali Michael

TED: Is My Skin Brown Because I Drank Chocolate Milk? | Beverly Daniel Tatum

NYTimes Op-Docs: 25 Mini-Films for Exploring Race, Bias and Identity

ItzYourz TV feature: Tim Wise, “The Pathology of White Privilege”

The Seattle Times: What Does White Privilege Mean To You?

Ta Nehisi Coates: The Case For Reparations

Terry Real (Salon): Patriarchy and Toxic Masculinity are Dominating America Under Trump

For Parents: