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Diversity Mission Statement

Differences Lift Us

We believe that diversity of all kinds enables us to better understand ourselves and others, value multiple lived experiences, practice advocacy, and become co-conspirators and activists toward creating a more just and equitable world. 

We define diversity as inclusive of race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, gender identity, sexual orientation, family structure, neurodiverse learning styles, age, ability, nationality, immigration status, physical appearance, religion, belief systems, language, and more. A diverse, inclusive, and respectful community enhances the academic and emotional intelligence of all students and lays the foundation for them to make a change in meaningful and mindful ways. 

Differences lift us.

For more on diversity and inclusion at CDS, please refer to the resources in the sidebar.


The Committee on Inclusion and Diversity (COID) was created by the CDS Board of Trustees during the 2006–2007 school year with a goal of ensuring a diverse CDS community and providing strategic direction.

Members of the faculty and staff also form a COID group. The focus is on achieving goals set by the board and developed independently by engaging with the entire CDS community to create an environment where all people can feel safe, visible, and valued.

Examples of recent or ongoing COID initiatives:

  • CDS Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Toolkit - context, links, and ways we approach DEI at CDS
  • Language Agreements - what language is best to use in conversation and what is better to avoid? We will periodically update this as language evolves. 
  • Gender Support Plans - we hope to partner with families in supporting children and their identities along the spectrum of gender. These support plans (Early Childhood, Lower, and Middle School programs) can help.
  • How are we providing support and being culturally inclusive to ensure that all families feel welcome at CDS from the admissions process to graduation?  
  • Adult Education Nights to discuss issues of socioeconomic diversity, race and ethnicity, the gender spectrum, sexual orientation, language, privilege, and other important topics.
  • Teachers on COID work on social justice curricula and also lead professional development with the faculty and staff. 
  • Affinity Groups - faculty and staff lead student affinity groups that promote a sense of pride, belonging, and community.

Diversity in the Preschool Curriculum

We consciously construct a curriculum that provides an anti-bias education, defined by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) as “an active/activist approach to challenging prejudice, stereotyping, bias, and the ‘isms’ in a society in which institutional structures create and maintain sexism, racism, and handicappism.” For example, on any given day you might see preschoolers:

  • Reading books that reflect a variety of races, ethnicities, genders, and abilities, including The Colors of Us by Karen Katz, The Family Book by Todd Parr, All The Colors We Are/Todos los Colores de Nuestra Piel by Katie Kissenger, Shades of Black by Sandra L. Pinkney, family- and class-made books, and many more.

  • Listening to guest speakers who break stereotypes, such as female firefighters, male nurses, and people with disabilities.

  • Participating in project work that reflects the variety of people who make up our world, such as family share and parent activities, role playing, sharing family photos, introducing words and languages from families and teachers, looking at various cultural artifacts, tasting and cooking food from families represented in the classroom, and exploring ideas of equity and justice in the classroom and beyond.

Diversity in the Lower School Curriculum

In the elementary grades, students are eager and curious learners: they want to read and write, to add and subtract, to figure out the world and how it works. These years provide an important opportunity for teachers to build students’ empathy, their sense of fairness, and their commitment to equity and justice. Some examples of this include:

  • Students role playing experiences of fairness and justice to talk about Martin Luther King, Jr. and the civil rights movement.  

  • Discussing the realities of disabled individuals and assessing CDS’ accessibility for disabled people promotes student awareness about ableism and inclusion.

  • Reading a storybook about a child who does not fit into gender boxes to talk about gender expression and diversity.  

Diversity in the Middle School Curriculum

The middle school years are a critical time of intellectual, physical, and emotional change. At the same time, the reality is that there is tremendous external societal pressure to conform to some limited idea of acceptable sameness. So our teachers have the challenge—and the opportunity—to foster the empathetic imagination of our middle school students in order to reinforce ideas of equity and justice: that people do not have to be, think, or live the same way (understanding and tolerance), that all people have a right to their differences (giving people “space”), and that individual people's qualities and traits are theirs alone (avoiding stereotyping). A few examples:

  • Media studies classes that explore sexism, racism, classism, and homophobia in our society.  

  • Our robust community-based learning program where students learn through doing, gaining understanding of the power of taking community action for positive social change and learning to value and appreciate people of all ages and means as citizens with talents and experiences to share.

  • Students seeing themselves and others reflected in the world as they research mathematicians and scientists who are LGBTQ, people of color, and/or women.