Diversity at Far Brook
Together, we foster a sense of belonging, and we model and nurture kindness, caring, and respect for one another.
From the Far Brook Diversity Statement
A Talk by Dr. Mahzarin R. Banaji
Sunday, March 5, 6:00-8:00 pm, Kent Place School
Each summer, Far Brook's faculty and staff reads one or more books relevant to our philosophy, pedagogy, or practice. For summer 2016, our reading included Blindspot: Hidden Biases of Good People by Mahzarin R. Banaji and Anthony G. Greenwald. Our book discussion and workshop in September highlighted the importance of the book's findings in helping us understand the source of implicit biases.
We are pleased to co-sponsor with Kent Place School a talk by Dr. Banaji, who studies unconscious thinking and feeling as it unfolds in the social context. She is the Richard Clark Cabot Professor of Social Ethics in the Department of Psychology at Harvard University, and an engaging and sought-after speaker. All are welcome and encouraged to attend to hear directly from Dr. Banaji about her groundbreaking research. Dr. Banaji will offer a book-signing, and books will be available for purchase that evening. To register: Dr. Banaji - Sunday, March 5
Widening the Lens, Far Brook School's inaugural Diversity Conference for NJ independent schools, took place November 12, 2016.
Far Brook was thrilled to be one of the sponsors of the 2016 North Jersey Pride Festival on Sunday, June 12, in Maplewood.
At Far Brook School we value bringing students “to their highest level of academic and personal competency, both for their present and in preparation for their future education” and life experiences. We strive to “create a supportive and caring community that cherishes love of learning, creativity, and individuality.”
These words, written collaboratively by our faculty, administration, and the Head of School in 1988, illustrate our core belief that each of us has something valuable and unique to contribute to the Far Brook community and to the world.
Implicit in this belief is a commitment to diversity.
Diversity in race, ethnicity, gender, socio-economic level, sexual orientation, family structure, and religion provides us with a vibrant community in which to learn about the array of perspectives and experiences that enrich our world. Together, we examine and celebrate our differences and commonalities. Together, we foster a sense of belonging, and we model and nurture kindness, caring, and respect for one another.
We acknowledge that being a truly diverse learning community is an ongoing process and requires us to be reflective and proactive. We accept the challenges that this entails and trust that our journey together will honor our individuality as well as our shared humanity.
--from the Far Brook School Diversity Statement, approved by the Board of Trustees, 2009
For the past few years, an affinity group for students of color in Grades 6, 7, and 8 has met approximately mothly. Students who self-identify as belonging to one of the following racial groups collected and reported by the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS): Asian, African American, Latino/Hispanic, Middle Eastern, or Multi-Racial, come together to socialize, share stories, and discuss current and historical events.
This year, we have expanded the program to include a white ally/identity group for white students in Grades 6-8 to also discuss race and identity. Out hope and expectation is that the experience will be enlightening for all, and that it will foster greater understanding and community.
The Far Brook affinity groups are called Spectrum. The group for students of color is facilitated by several faculty and staff of color and the group for white students is facilitated by white members of our faculty and staff. Participation in Spectrum is optional.
Far Brook faculty and staff members attend conferences, participate in workshops, and enjoy speakers brought on campus to further our understanding of issues and practices related to diversity and inclusion. Below is a list of professional development opportunities that Far Brook faculty have participated in:
|Mini White Privilege Conference|
|Sexuality and Gender Conference|
|The NAIS People of Color Conference|
|The White Privilege Conference|
|NJAIS Equity and Justice Forum Program and Dinner|
|Deconstructing Power, Privilege, and Oppression Workshop with The Forum Project|
|NJAIS Gender and Sexuality Diversity PreK-12th Grades: Exploring Frameworks, Values, and Practice with Jennifer Bryan|
|NYSAIS Sex, Gender, and Sexuality: Educating Students, Supporting Families, and Creating Safer School Communities|
|NYSAIS One Day Diversity Workshop|
|Undoing Racism Training with The People's Institute for Survival and Beyond|
|Diversity Workshop with EDGE (Educators for Diversity, Growth, and Empowerment)|
Speakers at Far Brook
|Tiffany Taylor Smith – TRTaylor Consulting|
|Debby Irving – Author of Waking Up White|
|Ralph Wales – Head of School, The Gordon School (Rhode Island)|
|Jennifer Bryan – Gender and Sexuality Diversity|
|Theodora Lacey - Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.|
|Hilary Beard - Co-author of Promises Kept: Raising Black Boys to Succeed in School and in Life|
films at Far Brook
|I Shall Not be Silent - Documentary made by a Far Brook parent about civil rights leader, Rabbi Joachim Prinz.|
|I’m Not Racist, Am I? – Documentary by The Calhoun School, NY|
|Dancing in Jaffa*|
*Sponsored by GLI
Far Brook students initiate and participate in a number of service learning activities that impact our school community, our neighboring communities, and people throughout the world.
Far Brook has had a 20-year relationship with Isaiah House in East Orange, NJ. Each year, as part of our celebration of the harvest, we collect canned and dry goods to donate to the shelter. Students also bring in fresh fruits and vegetables, used for our Thanksgiving event, The Processional. These fruits and vegetables are also donated to Isaiah House and used for the Thanksgiving meal or frozen for later use.
“The Family Photo Project”
In 2015, we celebrated family with a photo gallery of Far Brook family portraits taken on campus. The photos were mounted and shared at an event on April 22, 2015, celebrating the diversity of family structures and backgrounds in our community.
Food and clothing Drives
Far Brook coordinates several food and clothing drives throughout the school year for those who are in need in surrounding communities.
Interfaith Hospitality Network (IHN)
For the past three years, Far Brook students in Nursery, Kindergarten, First, Second, and Third Grades have worked together to package donated mittens, socks, and hats for children who are supported by the Interfaith Hospitality Network. Students write and decorate notes of encouragement and package them with a clothing item and hot cocoa packet. Through this activity, students practice empathy and learn about the value of responding to needs in the community.
Girls Learn International (GLI)
Far Brook’s chapter of GLI meets after school twice a month and gives Sixth, Seventh, and Eighth Grade students an opportunity to learn about and to support access to education around the world. GLI is a national organization that pairs U.S. middle schools and high schools with partner schools in countries where girls have limited access to education. Far Brook’s partner school is in Pakistan. Learn more about GLI.
- In Nursery, students read The Family Book by Todd Parr and bring in photos of their own families to display in the classroom.
- Kindergarteners read The Colors of Us by Karen Katz and The Skin You Live In by Michael Tyler and then mix paints to create their own unique skin colors for self-portraits.
- First graders read The Sneetches by Dr. Seuss and participate in experiences that highlight inclusion and fairness.
- Second graders discuss legends from cultures around the world about the sun, moon, and universe as they read Legends of the Sun and Moon by Eric and Tessa Hadley.
- Third graders have the opportunity to interact with members of the Lenape nation when they visit Waterloo Village and The Great Swamp Education Center.
- The Fourth grade reads poems composed by writers from various time periods which provide us with talking points for diversity topics.
- Fifth graders begin their study of historical fiction by analyzing picture books that represent numerous backgrounds, ethnicities, and abilities.
- Sixth graders read The House of Dies Drear and study the Civil Rights Era to fully understand the action of the story.
- Seventh graders discuss issues of gender stereotyping and discrimination based on ability that arise in "Raymond’s Run" by Toni Cade Bambara.
- Eighth graders study American history and learn about the struggles during the 1950s and 1960s for civil rights.
The two action statements below were agreed upon collaboratively by the Far Brook School faculty, staff, and administration. As a community, we are committed to build upon our Diversity Statement utilizing the following two goals as our focus.
1. Curriculum Development
We will continuously evaluate and improve upon our curriculum in order to ensure an equitable representation of race, ethnicity, religion, age, gender, sexual orientation, physical ability, learning style, socio-economic status, and family structure.
2. Communication and Transparency
We will communicate openly and use a common language in order to promote continuity and transparency regarding all work related to diversity.
- Family Photo Project Opening Reception - April 22, 2015 - 7:00 PM - Moore Hall
A celebration of the diversity of our families, including a short film and display of all of the family portraits.
- Film Screening - April 1, 2015 - 7:00 PM - Moore Hall
I Shall Not Be Silent - Documentary of civil rights activist Rabbi Joachim Prinz
- Tiffany Taylor Smith - January 28, 2015 - 7:00 PM - Moore Hall
"Raising Culturally Competent Thinkers in the Twenty-first Century"