Diversity, Equity, Community
“Building community requires truth-telling, bravery, courage, and grace.”
-Nikki Young, PhD, Bucknell University
At Far Brook, our diverse community fills each of us with so much invaluable knowledge – important truths that challenge stereotypes and affirm our best ideals. And so, we share a commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion in all aspects of school life.
As a community, we represent a spectrum of identities, heritages, family configurations, cultures, interests, and perspectives, and believe this diversity makes us the strongest kind of learning environment – one that invests in understanding the experiences of others, develops the capability for critical thinking, and instills in each of us a sense of belonging and a thirst for equity and social justice.
Here, we believe that “childhood happens once” and know we have a great responsibility as these are the years when our students are forming early impressions and gaining knowledge that will serve as the foundation for their future engagement as global citizens in an ever-changing world. Our curriculum provides both windows and mirrors with which to support students’ emerging understanding of the world, and our beloved “arts” inspire and inform, offering rich opportunities for empathy, self-expression, shared experience, and joy. Through a myriad of diversity initiatives beyond the classroom, we encourage students to adopt a wider lens through which to view their own possibilities and those of others.
Far Brook’s Commitment to Diversity, Equity, and Social Justice acknowledges the work we have committed to. Diligence, honesty, flexibility, compassion, resilience, and hope are required to be the community we aspire to be. And this is an all-school effort. An active, committed parent community partners with our skilled and compassionate faculty in this daily pursuit. Join us, as we learn and grow together, joyfully celebrating our commonalities and our differences, forming relationships, and sharing experiences that inspire and guide us during our Far Brook years and beyond.
Far Brook's Commitment to Diversity, Equity, and Social Justice
Diversity, equity, and a commitment to social justice are central to Far Brook’s identity, community, and educational mission. Embracing our society’s broad range of experiences, perspectives, and ways of being and knowing creates the best learning environment for students and the most enriching community. As an independent, progressive school, Far Brook recognizes the complexity of its relationship to privilege. We expect of our community members — including our students, faculty, staff, Board of Trustees, and families — a clear commitment to:
- Intentionally build and support the diversity of our community and authentic relationships across identities and experiences. This fosters academic excellence, enriches student learning, and increases understanding. Far Brook promotes representation, diversity, and inclusion through curriculum development, admissions, hiring, professional development and leadership, student and parent groups, and events for the broader community.
- Learn about all forms of oppression and fiercely defend the humanity of all people. We prioritize anti-racism, recognizing that racism has been a systemic barrier in education and society. Far Brook teachers develop curricula for all ages that explore essential questions about identity, family, community, power, and justice, providing mirrors for students’ own experiences and windows into the lives of others.
- Acknowledge privilege, name social inequities, and confront biases and historical misrepresentations. Our choices, from what and how we teach, to the ways we engage with each other, to where we allocate resources, aim to bolster students’ sense of agency, advance equity and social justice, and promote a sense of belonging for all.
- Support, in word and deed, partnerships with the broader community in ways that promote solidarity. This includes projects that respond to needs in the community, inspire action in situations of injustice, and strengthen our connection to the world beyond Far Brook.
Our community members think critically, speak their truths, and nurture caring, respect, and mindfulness. Far Brook believes in our shared humanity and equips our students to imagine and create a world where equity, empathy, and kindness prevail.
–Approved by the Board of Trustees, 2020
Widening the Lens: The Far Brook School Diversity Conference
In November of 2016, Far Brook hosted the first annual Diversity Conference for independent schools in NJ. Titled “Widening the Lens,” the conference brings together 13 school communities committed to broadening and improving inclusion within their schools.
The topic of the 2020 conference is “Lift Every Voice: Centering the Student Experience in Building Anti-Racist Communities.” Learn more here.
See information on Widening the Lens conferences from recent years.
2018 Conference – From Attending to Belonging: Re-Imagining Independent Schools for our Intersectional Communities
2019 Conference – Class in the Classroom: Exploring Socioeconomic Diversity in Our Schools
Empowering Student Awareness and Advocacy
Pollyanna Racial Literacy Curriculum (Grades K-8)
“When equipped with the knowledge, tools, and skills of racial literacy, we believe today’s students will shape a more racially just and equitable world.” Pollyanna, Inc.
For Grades K-8, Far Brook uses the Pollyanna Racial Literacy Curriculum, which presents students with opportunities to examine and explore fundamental values related to identity, community, and justice. Additionally, the curriculum ensures that students develop concrete academic and leadership skills that result in a more robust vision of social responsibility and global citizenship.
Spectrum (Grade 5)
As expressed in our Commitment to Diversity, Equity, and Social Justice, we believe that being intentional about equity and inclusion provides a platform for students to understand, to thrive in, and to impact our multi-cultural society. Students discuss identity, race, community and a broad range of social justice topics in this Mini class taught by the Director of Diversity, Equity, and Community.
Community (Grades 5-6)
In the Fifth and Sixth Grades, Community groups form to provide an opportunity for small group conversations across the grade levels. Led by Fifth and Sixth Grade faculty, students explore how community connects us to one another through a variety of relationships. Both as an individual and a collective group students have influence as helpers and leaders in their class, the Middle School, the Far Brook community, and beyond. During Community students may explore many DEI topics, such as Social Identity; Race, Ethnicity, and Nationality; Science of Skin Color; Origins of Race; and more.
Advisory (Grades 7-8)
Advisory facilitates students’ development of caring, creative, and competent approaches toward academics and relationships. Mixed-grade groupings provide an opportunity for mentorship, leadership, and collaboration across the two Junior High grades. Advisors facilitate group conversations dealing with specific topics such as team building, character and integrity, healthy habits, diversity, organization, and transitions. Advisors also meet with students one-on-one and conference about academic and social areas.
Family Photo Project
In 2015, the Faculty/Staff Diversity Committee envisioned and launched an initiative to show the spectrum of families at Far Brook: large families, small families, those with two parents or one, two moms or two dads, families blended through marriage, formed through adoption, and all other expressions. Through the Family Photo Project, the racial and cultural diversity among and within families was also made visible, each unique configuration reinforcing our understanding that families are made of people who love and care for one another.
Families are made of love.
In 2018-2019 we once again created the Family Photo Project to celebrate the beautiful mosaic that is our current community.
Speakers and Workshops
Updated list coming soon.
Far Brook Diversity Facts - 2020-2021
- Information to come for the upcoming school year.