Our Program

Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI)

Building a better world through education

Lucy Sprague Mitchell, who founded Bank Street in 1916, asked, “What potentialities in human beings—children, teachers, and ourselves—do we want to see develop?” This question continues to drive our knowledge that human beings can improve the society they have created. As members of the Bank Street School for Children community, we continually challenge ourselves to grow from the opportunities and tensions inherent in people learning and working together.

Social justice, community, and advocacy are at our core because our strength comes from our diversity, which we view broadly. In developmentally appropriate ways, we explore aspects of identity including race, ethnicity, socioeconomics, systems of belief, gender, attraction, family structure, ability, and learning styles. Our work is grounded in supporting positive identity development for students, families, and faculty, who see themselves reflected in the community and become advocates for social justice and allies in an inclusive community. In this way, we seek to improve the society in which we exist.

DEI Across Our Curriculum

Our Diversity, Equity & Inclusion curriculum is driven by our mission to build a better world through education. Through an inclusive and integrated approach to teaching and learning, students discover the humanity within themselves and others, develop an ability to understand multiple perspectives, and build the confidence to think critically and independently. Over time, students learn to analyze systems present in society today and become prepared to address injustices, advocate for marginalized people, and make change inside and outside of their communities.

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Affinity Groups at Bank Street

The term “affinity group” refers to people who share a similar identity but not necessarily the same experiences. Affinity groups strengthen the exploration of one’s own identity, celebrate shared identity, and help individuals process common challenges and experiences. Additionally, affinity groups provide space to discuss similarities and differences, examine attitudes and perspectives, and learn about oppression and privilege. Affinity groups are central to our work at the School for Children to support and facilitate a safe, affirming, and collaborative learning environment for all students, families, and faculty.

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Group of Middle School students smiling

Building Racial Equity

The School for Children’s commitment to social justice and equity is part of a larger, historic mission by Bank Street College of Education to build racial consciousness and fluency across our institution. The College lives this mission in its own community but also through its work with school systems, program partners, and communities to collaboratively and intentionally engage in anti-racist practices and interventions that dismantle systems of oppression.
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