Equity, Diversity and Inclusion

Program Mission Statement
At North Shore Country Day School, we believe that diversity, equity, and inclusion are essential to the fulfillment of our mission, to the achievement of educational excellence, and to the creation of a better world. We are committed to building a community that is diverse in terms of race, gender, age, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, and economic background. Diversity, though, is about more than just numbers. Therefore, we also strive to create an inclusive community where all people are treated with respect and dignity, where multiple perspectives and experiences are welcome, and where students from all cultures and backgrounds can succeed. North Shore Country Day engages its community members in working to develop cultural competencies that allow us to communicate and interact effectively across cultures. Both inside and outside of the classroom, learning from and coming to understand differences and commonalities enrich us and empower us with skills for living in a diverse, twenty­first­century world. Grappling with the complex issues of this world enables us to explore the roles, rights, and responsibilities of citizens in a democratic society and to examine a range of ways in which to participate in developing a more just and equitable society. We invite all members of the community to join us in this continuous learning journey.

Faculty and Staff
We believe that having a diverse and culturally competent faculty and staff guiding and developing our students is essential to the fulfillment of our mission, to the achievement of educational excellence, and the creation of a better world. Therefore, we continue to grow the diversity and dimension of our faculty and staff and support their growth through professional development programming. In doing so, we ensure that all of our students engage with a curriculum that provides both windows into different experiences and mirrors for all students.  

Equity, Inclusion and Diversity Council
A group of faculty representatives from Lower, Middle and Upper School meet throughout the year to discuss issues of equity and justice. The council leads the community's work by hosting speakers, facilitating faculty readings and discussions, and coordinating work with students in their divisions. The council members include:  Lower School, Sara Pyne and Winder Holeman; Middle School, Keith Sklar; Upper School, Vinny Cousineau, Laura Hsieh, Lynsey Wollin-Casey (chair).

In conjunction with other faculty from their divisions, the council members work to help create and implement co-curricular programming around topics of equity, diversity and inclusion in their divisions.  

Lower School
The Lower School Kaleidoscope curriculum is informed by our five community values: kindness, inclusion, compassion, integrity and respect. Working from this foundation, throughout the school year, students engage around themes including family, cultural diversity, human rights, social justice, gender, ability, race and ethnicity. Lessons are designed to spark authentic curiosity in order for students to engage across difference in a meaningful way. Lessons are collaborative, often cross-graded and built to be responsive to both our students’ and community’s needs, as well as school-wide equity, diversity and inclusion initiatives.

Middle School
The Middle School has a three-year curriculum guiding students in developing skills to demonstrate compassion, care and empathy when considering perspectives of diverse groups. Each grade level meets regularly throughout the year to study and discuss various social issues including, but not limited to, privilege, race, religion and gender.

Upper School
During students’ 9th grade year, all students participate in “Intro to Upper School.” In addition to addressing topics such as academic integrity and stress management, this carefully crafted curriculum enables and empowers all students to understand and develop core principles of identity, equity and living in a diverse community.

To extend students’ conversations and education on equity, diversity and inclusion issues, the House Leaders, in coordination with the council, develop a curriculum tied to the theme of the year, which they implement during House Meetings. These workshops and discussions are often developed with student leaders who have done extensive training themselves in these areas, and students also often take the lead in facilitating the conversations.

Each year, the council chooses a theme to implement in each of the three divisions. In the Lower School, the theme is integrated through Kaleidoscope community time and in classrooms. In the Middle School, students engage in curricular discussions and in cross-grade advisory discussions. In the Upper School, dialogue on these topics occurs in class and is also facilitated through House and Advisory activities.

Learning To Listen. Listening to Learn.
In order to grow and be thoughtful citizens of our community, we need to listen to and engage with viewpoints different from our own and learn to view events and ideas through a variety of lenses. The best way to do this is to listen not simply to respond but to gain a deeper understanding of each other’s experiences.  This requires effort, an open mind and practice.  Deeper listening helps us to develop empathy for each other.   
You Belong
This year, the focus was on how belonging and inclusion provide all members of the School community space and opportunities to explore how they as individuals are unique and valued parts of a larger whole, while challenging each of us to take ownership of the agency we possess to embrace, celebrate and honor all of our community members. 

Building Bridges, Crossing Together
During this year, students moved beyond telling their own stories and practiced finding connections and common experiences to develop empathy for others’ lived experiences. We also encouraged students to move forward together and find ways to continue to improve our community.
Telling Our Stories: Courage, Understanding, Hope and Change
This year’s theme was built on what was explored the previous year as students and faculty strived to listen and understand each other’s stories, in addition to hearing others—outside our community—telling their stories using a variety of media.

Cultural Identity: The Intersection of the Individual and Society
During the year, the council worked with students and faculty in all divisions to develop a common language around identity and to explore their own and others identities.
North Shore Country Day School is a junior kindergarten through 12th grade, college-preparatory school founded in Winnetka, Illinois in 1919.  With rigorous academic pursuit as the cornerstone, North Shore provides many opportunities for all students to excel – in the classroom and the laboratory, on the stage and the playing field, in their communities and beyond.