Fayerweather is committed to developing a strong sense of community in which every member feels valued. We strive for a diverse staff and student body with varied backgrounds of race, religion, ethnicity, family structure and sexual orientation. We expect that individual beliefs and feelings will be shared and valued and conflicts acknowledged, explored and peacefully resolved.
Curriculum at Fayerweather is rich and varied, with emphasis on multicultural and anti-bias learning. Our goal is to broaden students’ views of themselves, local, social and global communities. As part of the school’s commitment to social justice and anti-bias work, curricular themes have been carefully thought out and developed to provide different lenses and points of view. Attention is paid to materials, books and images around the school not only to ensure that they are free from bias and stereotypes, but also to understand what messages are being projected. When questions or concerns do arise, the school works to put those issues on the table and hold open discussion.
Anti-bias work is embedded in the curriculum at all grade levels. In the younger grades, children are part of an experience in which they widen their understanding of cultures beyond their home culture, of gender differences and stereotypes and of varying family structures. They are encouraged to talk openly and listen to honest questions and ideas from classmates in order to unpack biases and construct their own knowledge and questions about the world. Our oldest students address issues of bias through curriculum units on Justice and Dissent, Multi-Cultural Voices of America, South Africa and Human Rights.
Parent and Community Education is facilitated by The Diversity, Equity and Community Committee (DECC) which is made up of interested staff and parents. This committee provides resources to the school community on a wide range of topics based on the school’s mission and parents’ questions pertaining to their children’s social, emotional and physical development. Topics also include issues of racism, sexism, classism, homophobia, peace and social justice. Subjects such as media literacy, internet safety, bullying and commercialism have been discussed. The committee uses potluck suppers, film nights, book groups, parent workshops, visibility boards, All School Meetings and outside speakers to raise awareness and promote discussions throughout the school.
The Diversity Committee of the Board assists and advises the Board in its responsibilities in achieving its goals of making the school a more diverse community and is currently working on the strategic goal of attracting, retaining and supporting a diverse faculty, staff and student body.
In 1992, at the request of minority students in the fifth and sixth grades, a Kids of Color Affinity Group was begun. At the time, there were very few families of color at Fayerweather. Though the children had good friends in their classrooms and throughout the school, they often felt lonely because they were the only child of color in their class. They felt a need to connect with others who knew how it felt to be “the only one” and to support younger students of color and let them know there were other students like them in the school.
Today, weekly Kids of Color Lunches are a time when a large and lively group of students from third to eighth grades connect with each other, share their cultures and history, family events, classroom projects or just talk about their joys or frustrations. Lunches are hosted by several teachers.
Students of color value their lunches together; yet we also recognize that some of their white friends might feel left out or misunderstand their need to sometimes be together . Each month, KoC participants can invite a friend to join them at lunch as a guest.