The Athenian School realizes that true multiculturalism and diversity need the spirit of equity and inclusion in order to foster a strong community of learners. Athenian emphasizes skill-building around empathy, perspective recognition, analysis and inquiry, self-awareness, and the acknowledgment of circumstantial privileges. Learning and life are enhanced when we are able to step into the intellectual space of others with respect and understanding. Our goal is that our students, families, faculty, and staff, build their capacity to increase their cultural wisdom and create community.
The Athenian student body exhibits a rich variety of ethnic, cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds. Fifty-nine percent of our students identify themselves as other than White, more than 12 percent of our upper school students over the last five years come from 20 countries on five continents, and 22 percent of our students receive financial aid.
In addition, Athenian welcomes students of different religions, sexual orientations, family structures and political perspectives, and emphasizes respect for each individual. To round out this cultural awareness, a significant portion of the Athenian student body will travel outside the United States for service, conferences, or exchange study as part of their upper school experience.
The Athenian School believes that diversity, equity, inclusion, and cultural competency/fluency (DEIC) are not special interests; therefore, elements of the school’s Office of Equity and Inclusion are woven throughout every part of the institution. We have a wide range of affinity groups and clubs, and a continually updated curriculum that takes into account our diverse population. The school hosts Equity and Inclusion Evenings twice a year and celebrates Inclusion Week in January. We also acknowledge and celebrate affinity events throughout the year (Pride, Black History Month, Women's History Month). The momentum of our DEIC efforts can be felt in the Office of Admission, throughout the 6-12 curriculum, and in Advancement.
Student Groups are an integral part of the school’s cultural fabric and serve as a place where students can feel heard. Affinity Groups at Athenian are fluid, in the sense that they are created and managed by students and supported by faculty members. Depending on student interest and leadership, any given group may be present one year but not the next. Current affinity groups include the Asian Club, the Jewish Club, and the Black Student Union. In the past, clubs have included a Muslim Students Club, a Christian Club, and a Latinx Club. DEIC clubs are more permanent - they each have a faculty leader and include Interweave, Interfaith, Students of Color Collective, Political Inclusion Club, Empower, and the Gender Equity Coalition.
Athenian embraces the challenge to grow as a nurturing, accepting community where all feel welcome. In the interest of increasing the cultural competency of our community, we have created an Equity and Inclusion Task Force, we have embarked on DEIC training for all faculty and staff over the summer, and we are developing a longer-term strategy to make sure that all of our community members feel at home at Athenian.