About

Diversity At Norwood

Norwood School is a diverse, multicultural, and inclusive community. Being truly diverse and multicultural means that all individuals are valued and supported in every aspect of our school community. We respect and protect the dignity and worth of all members of our community without regard to race, color or national origin, religion or creed, gender, sexual orientation, family composition, economic status, age, learning style, or physical ability. We believe that education is broadened and strengthened by the inclusion of people of diverse backgrounds and perspectives. Our educational program is designed to celebrate cultural diversity and develop cultural competency as we prepare children to be global citizens.
We believe that education is both broadened and strengthened by the inclusion of people with a broad range of backgrounds and perspectives.
We believe that all of us both contribute to, and benefit from, the similarities and differences we bring to our school. Each one of our students, parents, faculty, and staff brings to our community a unique perspective, background, and set of experiences and we believe that we are the richer for it. We are thus strongly committed to enrolling and supporting a diverse student body and to maintaining a diverse faculty and staff. We believe this enhances the quality of our students’ education and prepares our children for citizenship in an increasingly pluralistic society.

Equity and Inclusion in Action

List of 10 items.

  • Professional Development for Faculty & Staff

    As Norwood works to prepare its students with the skills, knowledge and awareness needed to thrive and effectively navigate a complex world, its faculty and staff are committed to ongoing learning and development by leading and attending workshops, conferences, and trainings on a range of diversity topics. Trainings have included NAIS People of Color Conference, NAIS Diversity Leadership Institute, National Diversity Practitioner’s Institute, AIMS Diversity Conference, GDS Equity Collaborative, and Diversity Directions Independent School Seminar, among others.

    Along with attending a variety of outside conferences, seminars and institutes, Norwood faculty and staff are invited to participate in on campus 2-3 hour deep-dive sessions to explore a variety of diversity related themes with the purpose of examining how these topics intersect with and influence our work as educators. Sessions have focused on a range of issues including “Race in America,” “Gender and Sexuality Diversity,” “Socio-economic Diversity,” “The Current Socio-Political Climate,” and others.

    Each year all faculty members gather for an afternoon of dialogue and reflection in a conference format that allows teachers to delve into topics of interest and relevance to their practice. Teachers decide from a variety of sessions to choose from that have included themes such as “Power and Privilege,” “Understanding and Navigating Micro-aggressions,” “Literature that Supports Diversity and Inclusion Work,” etc.
  • Speaker Series & Visiting Authors

    Throughout the year, Norwood brings in speakers and authors to open minds to different backgrounds, perspectives, and situations. Speakers have included Rosetta Lee, nationally recognized speaker on diversity and identity; Dr. Steven Jones, diversity and cultural competency consultant; Rob Chasteen-Scheer, founder of Comfort Cases, a nonprofit that supports children in the foster system; representatives of the National Coalition of the Homeless; Grammy nominated artist Christylez Bacon; Samantha Davis from So Others Might Eat (SOME). Authors have included Joseph Lekuton of Kenya, Eloise Greenfield, Lulu Delacre, Lisa Yee, Jacqueline Woodson, Jerry Pinkney, and Ellen Oh.
  • Parents of Students of Color

    Parents of Students of Color is a group established to further build a community at Norwood that understands and acts on issues of special concern to families of color and institutes plans and programs to help students achieve the highest level of personal and academic success. The group also works with the School to celebrate the unique perspectives that children from a variety of backgrounds bring to our classrooms and lives.
  • SUCCEED (Students Understanding & Celebrating Culture, Ethnicity, and Diversity)

    SUCCEED is an affinity space where students who belong to racially underrepresented groups in grades 3-4, 5-6, and 7-8 are invited to come together and participate in a variety of games, activities and exercises to help build healthy identity development and provide a space for students to connect, grow friendships and discuss issues of importance in their lives.
  • Multicultural Festival

    Each year, the Norwood community gathers to celebrate the diverse world in which we live, as well as the variety of cultures represented among our own families. Members of our school community serve as “country captains” and share educational material, displays, native dress, art, music, dance, crafts, and food from the country they represent. The whole school is able to “take a trip around the world” during the three-hour event.
  • Multicultural Literature in the Norwood Libraries

    The Norwood libraries feature diverse literature as the cornerstone of our program to provide a window into the lives of children from cultures all around the world. Through memoirs, novels, folktales, fairy tales, trickster tales, myths, and legends, students are introduced to the variety – and the core commonality – of the human experience. In addition to the diversity of literature, the collection of books in the two libraries purposely includes quality works representing every constituent. Seeking out excellent diverse material is a core mission of Norwood’s acquisition policy and goals.
  • Parent Forum for Identity, Diversity, and Inclusion

    The PFIDI creates opportunities for all parents to come together to explore how issues of identity, diversity, and inclusion shape the lives of our children and community. Through facilitated discussions, speaker engagements, and other channels, interested members of the parent community engage in meaningful dialogue and exploration of these important issues. 
  • DREAM

    This student group is open to seventh- and eighth-grade students who wish to engage in important and meaningful conversations to broaden understanding and explore ways to take action on issues of identity, diversity, equity, and inclusion. DREAM provides a space for students to engage their peers through guided dialogue, reflective exercises, and mindful games and activities, while providing opportunities for students to consider how they are empowered to act in regards to our school community and beyond. Students are in the driver seat in DREAM.
  • GLOW

    GLOW (Growing Leaders of Our World) provides fifth and sixth graders with the opportunity to meet for activities and discussions on topics of equity and diversity. Topics have included stereotypes, exploring cultural differences, conflict resolution, labeling, and celebrating diversity.
  • Middle School IDEA Life Skills Curriculum

    Part of our Life Skills Curriculum, the IDEA (Identity, Diversity, Equity, and Action) Curriculum brings about further understanding of identity development and issues surrounding equity and action in our community and society. Students in MS all go through the curriculum with age appropriate content and opportunity for discussion. 

DLC CORE BELIEFS

The Diversity Leadership Council adheres to the following core beliefs as we consider our priorities, goals and strategies to advance our mission.
 
  1. A diverse school community benefits everyone when we continually work to advance a school culture of inclusion, equity, and community, and actively work against the negative effects of bias and stereotypes.
  2. Our curriculum should be a reflection of our diverse learning community and complex world; it should represent a wide variety of perspectives and experiences, provide cultural relevance for students, and foster critical thinking around issues of justice and equity.
  3. Our pedagogy should be child-centered, culturally responsive, and inclusive.
  4. Our school community is strengthened by and should continually work to review and expand diversity related programming for all constituents.
  5. Our school policies, structures and traditions should be inclusive and equitable.
Norwood is a wonderful, diverse place where you have the opportunity to learn and grow alongside a loving, supportive community.  – Finn ‘15

Diversity Leadership Council

The DLC supports the Norwood mission by promoting engaged citizenship and advancing institutional diversity, equity, inclusion, and cultural competence. This work is essential to educational excellence and is the responsibility of all members of the community.

DLC Chair

List of 1 members.

  • Billy Vargas 

    Director of Diversity, Equity, and Community
    University of Maryland - B.A.

DLC Coordinators

List of 10 members.

  • Karen Adamson 

    Spanish Teacher
    National University of Honduras - B.A
  • Peace Ferreby 

    Fourth Grade Homeroom Teacher
    Mount Holyoke College - M.A.
    Boston University - M.Ed.
  • Carole Freret 

    Middle School English Teacher and Advisor
    Smith College - B.A.
    Georgetown University Law Center - J.D.
  • Janet McDermott 

    Assistant Director of Admission
    University of New Hampshire - B.A.
    Trinity University - M.A.T.
    Johns Hopkins University - Certificate in Educational Leadership for Independent Schools
  • Sally Morsy 

    Fifth Grade Homeroom Advisor
    University of Oklahoma - B.A.
  • Mike Risen 

    Director of Curriculum and Instruction
    College of William and Mary - B.A.
    Vanderbilt University - M.Ed.
  • Lynda Saelens 

    Director of Student Support Services and Middle School Learning Specialist
    Knox College - B.A.
    Marycrest College - M.Ed. Reading Clinician
  • Travis Wooden 

    Dean of Students
    University of Tennessee - B.A. American Studies and Communications
  • Michele Claeys 

    Associate Head of School and Head of Middle School
    University of Michigan - B.A.
    Bank Street College of Education - M.S.
  • Karen O'Neill 

    Head of Lower School
    Stanford University - B.A
    Bank Street College of Education - M.S.
    Columbia University - M.Ed.
Located in Bethesda, MD, Norwood School develops students in grades PK-8 into confident lifelong learners who have the academic, character, and leadership skills to succeed in high school and beyond. Recognizing that children are multi-faceted, Norwood provides many opportunities for safe risk-taking, exploration, discovery, and growth in a nurturing, supportive, and inclusive school community.