we see diversity as
- a fact
- a value, and
- a commitment
Fact. Differences among us exist, and they matter. There are many kinds: differences of race, ethnicity, and socioeconomic background; differences of sex, sexual orientation, gender expression, and family structure. There are differences in religious belief and political affiliation; in physical and cognitive ability; in learning style, life experience, and more. Our differences profoundly shape our world and our experience of it. They are a part of who we are as people, part of our individual and collective histories, and part of our future together.
Value. To value diversity is to affirm our differences both for their own sake and as the basis of our shared strength. In valuing diversity, we keep particular questions in mind. Is what we are doing inclusive? Is it respectful? Does it lead, in however large or small a way, to a more peaceful and equitable world? For us, valuing diversity also means staying curious, thinking critically about our assumptions, and acknowledging the range of perspectives that comprises any truth. And it means acting on what we have learned from one another.
Commitment. At The Philadelphia School, we are dedicated to building a community whose diversity touches all aspects of our flourishing. In every scene of learning, teaching, and play, we mean to understand and celebrate our differences rather than be ruled by them. We are committed to providing the resources and support necessary to encourage the fullest participation of every person in our school’s family. And we are resolved to take our commitment to diversity beyond that family, by both studying and serving our neighborhoods and our city.
Come as you are and we will learn from one another. We invite you to be a part of the diverse community that is The Philadelphia School.
Why diversity is important
At TPS, the importance of diversity is knit up in our commitment to progressive education. Progressive education fosters critical, empathetic, and socially engaged intelligence. A diverse community best fosters this kind of intelligence. Students who are conversant with difference learn to think in more complex and ethically responsive ways. As a result, they are better able to participate effectively in their communities to achieve a common good. We believe that when students of varied backgrounds, abilities, and identities share a classroom, all are the beneficiaries. (Diversity issues permeate daily work at TPS and can be seen reflected in many variations, see the links to diversity-related blog entries above to learn more.).
As a progressive school, we regard diversity as a good in itself. A diverse school community brings into the lives of its members a richness that is its own argument. It is the richness that arises when people of different cultures, histories, and worldviews teach and learn from one another. It is the richness of friendships based equally in what friends share and in how they differ. It is the richness of the world itself, whose diversity we must understand, cherish, and protect.
Because progressive education means learning by doing, we live our commitment to diversity in our everyday interactions, building it into our curriculum and institutional culture. A community embracing diversity must be willing to have difficult conversations and even to embrace the conflict that is so often integral to profound transformation. And such a community must learn to see itself through many eyes. This ongoing work belongs to us all; it hones our minds, uncovers our biases, and helps us do our part in making a more just and compassionate future.
Our aim at The Philadelphia School is to build a progressive community whose diversity reflects and interacts with the diversity of the world. We seek to make the world we hope to see.
Family Diversity Committee
The Family Diversity Committee (FDC) is a parent-led group that promotes an inclusive and diverse school community for all students and their families. As such, we support outreach efforts to make all families at The Philadelphia School feel welcomed and integrated in the life of the school. We also endeavor to support and educate our children as they make sense, learn and deal with issues of differences.
The FDC presents parent education events in collaboration with TPSA and the school, and it shares information about other diversity activities offered around the city. If you’d like to learn more about the work of the committee, please click here to fill out our "Get Involved" form.
The FDC meets regularly to plan our work and to learn about the challenges and the rewards of supporting and encouraging diversity. Check the online calendar for dates. Ongoing activities include support of admission outreach among LGBT families and families of color. We also encourage participation in a range of diversity-related activities sponsored by TPSA, BUILDS and the school. FDC supports the implementation of the Assessment for Inclusivity and Multiculturalism (AIM) at the school. (Click here for more information on AIM)
Events in the 2016-17 school year include:
- FDC Family playdates held in fall and spring
- "Classroom Matters" a teacher/parent lead community discussion about how racial/cultural differences play out in our classrooms.
- A series of book discussions on Debby Irving’s Waking Up White and Finding Myself in the Story of Race
- A parent education night on Gender Inclusivity presented by Attic Youth Center www.atticyouthcenter.org
- Participation in MLK Day of Service through TPS “500 sandwiches” project for local shelters
- Participation in Million Moms March for Justice supporting Black Lives Matter
HOW YOU CAN GET INVOLVED
JOIN OUR MEETINGS
Check the online public calendar for our next meeting or contact one of the parent co-chairs.
VOLUNTEER TO HELP ORGANIZE AN EVENT
We are a volunteer committee and would love to have interested parents work with us to plan our events.
VOLUNTEER TO HELP WITH ADMISSIONS OR WELCOMING NEW FAMILIES
For more information, contact Frances Hoover
BUILDS is a group that brings together parents of children with learning differences and unique learning styles for education and parent-to-parent support.
SHARE RESOURCES ON DIVERSITY ISSUES OR INFORMATION ABOUT DIVERSITY-RELATED ACTIVITIES IN THE CITY
Let us know of activities that might be of interest to the FDC members or of resources you have find useful in discussing diversity with your children.