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.

Diversity Programs:

List of 9 items.

  • Professional Development for Faculty & Staff

    As Norwood works to prepare its students to successfully navigate in a world of diverse people and thoughts, its faculty and staff stay current in the vocabulary of ethical and cultural understanding by leading and attending workshops, conferences, and trainings on a range of diversity topics. Conferences have included NAIS People of Color Conference, GDS Equity Collaborative, Black Student Fund, Diversity Directions Independent School Seminar, and the NAIS Diversity Leadership Conference.
  • 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.
  • Students Understanding & Celebrating Culture, Ethnicity, and Diversity (SUCCEED)

    In the Middle School, students of color are invited to participate in SUCCEED, which was created to provide a place to come together, have fun, get better acquainted, and engage in conversation and activities.
  • 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

    This group 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.

    DREAM is a new group for 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. Building on and integrating the essential work of Norwood’s SEEDling program from past years, 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.
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 advancing institutional diversity, equity, inclusion, and social justice. This work is essential to educational excellence and is the responsibility of all members of the community. Feel free to contact the director or any of the DLC coordinators (listed below) with questions or concerns.

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
  • Janet McDermott 

    Assistant Director of Admission
    University of New Hampshire - B.A.
    Trinity University - M.A.T.
  • Mike Risen 

    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.
  • LaQuanda Walters Cooper 

    Middle School History Teacher
    University of Saint Joseph - B.A. & M.A.
  • Michele Claeys 

    Associate Head of School and Head of Middle School
    University of Michigan - B.A.
    Bank Street College of Education - M.S.
  • Virginia Murphy 

    Third Grade Homeroom Teacher
    Georgia State University - B.A., M.B.A. & MBIS
    George Washington University - M.Ed.
  • Karen O'Neill 

    Head of Lower School
    Stanford University - B.A
    Bank Street College of Education - M.S.
    Columbia University - M.Ed.
  • Imalka Senadhira 

    Middle School Math and Social Studies Teacher and Fifth Grade Advisor
    University of Sri Lanka (Kelaniya Campus) - B.A.
    Johns Hopkins University - Masters in Science
    Johns Hopkins University - Certificate in Educational Leadership for Independent Schools
  • Sue Gail Spring 

    Media Resource Specialist
    Vanderbilt University - B.A.
    George Washington University - M.A.
Located in Bethesda MD, Norwood School develops students in grades K-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.