Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Matter at Tenacre

Tenacre is a diverse and inclusive school that serves a wide range of students. Because our students live in a diverse and ever-changing world, for them to succeed we must provide them with an education that appreciates, explores, and respects differences and similarities. We must also help them develop the critical thinking skills that allow for identifying and rejecting stereotypes and prejudice.

What We Do And Why We Do It

To achieve these goals, we seek to: 
  • Provide a diverse overall experience for our students by creating a welcoming and safe elementary school environment. Tenacre embraces students, faculty, and staff from a wide range of identities, backgrounds, and experiences that are reflective of the broader world.
  • Engage in equitable practices by providing each member of our community with what they need. At Tenacre, equity is manifested in differentiated instruction and professional development, and in the importance of empathy, kindness, and understanding. 
  • Demonstrate our commitment to inclusion by valuing and supporting every community member and all that they bring as their true and authentic selves.
With oversight from The Board of Trustees and input from various other constituencies, Tenacre affirms its dedication to DEI work in part by annually evaluating the policies and practices that govern the school, including and not limited to the curriculum, admissions processes, and hiring practices.

Curriculum Highlights

List of 8 items.

  • PK: What is a community and how do we build an inclusive one?

    Pre-kindergarten students engage in the important work of learning about their place in the world as individuals, as part of their families, as members of their class and their school, their community, and ultimately the larger world. Time spent identifying, describing, and sharing who they are—their unique physical characteristics, the stories of their names, the important people and places in their lives, their celebrations and traditions, their strengths and challenges—promotes self-confidence, curiosity, and awareness about the people in their world. It also helps to develop their understanding of and respect for the way each person brings their own value to the community.
  • Kindergarten: How are we unique and how can we make connections with others?

    Kindergarten-aged students are very open to accepting differences and celebrating the unique qualities we all possess. Our social curriculum and age-appropriate picture books provide us with daily opportunities to explore how important it is to feel that we belong. While we acknowledge and respect our differences, we also focus on how we are alike. These lessons provide a foundation for establishing a sense of community where we practice caring for our peers both emotionally and physically.
  • Grade 1: Learning how to be a citizen of the world

    In first grade, students build on and expand their understanding of community by learning about the guiding principles of citizenship and what it means to be a member of the global world community. Our program aims to provide students with the tools they need to access the world by helping them build a strong sense of self while examining cultures similar to and different from their own.
  • Grade 2: Country study and the Civil Rights Movement

    In second grade, students build upon their understanding of community and global citizenship and start viewing the whole world through different lenses. By engaging in a study of the country of China, students are able to compare and contrast their known community with several communities (rural and urban) in China. As they learn more about the world (continents and oceans), they also start to compare and contrast the geographical makeup of the United States and China. Second graders also learn about the Civil Rights Movement, which also enables them to learn about the past as well as the different perspectives people now hold about the inclusion of many different types of people.
  • Grade 3: What are gender stereotypes and why do they exist?

    Third graders have a gender stereotyping mini-unit prior to reading the book Marty McGuire. First, they brainstorm a list of words and phrases typically associated with boys and girls and then discuss why these things are assigned to a specific gender. Next, they look at advertisements and consider what messages the advertisements are sending. The students find examples of stereotypes in the ads and then recreate the ads so that they are no longer gender-stereotypical.
  • Grade 4: Building empathy

    In fourth grade, students explore socioeconomic diversity. We read the book Those Shoes by Maribeth Boelts and explore the important theme of want versus need. We also engage in a novel study on Yang the Youngest and his Terrible Ear that explores cultural differences where the main character struggles to maintain his cultural identity while adapting to life in a new country. This book also explores themes of socioeconomic diversity as the family balances the wants and needs of their children. 
    Fourth grade also introduces neurodiversity through reading Fish in a Tree, where the protagonist struggles to understand her learning disability and how it impacts her life. During this unit, we teach students about learning differences and explore what it's like to learn and be successful with a learning disability.
  • Grade 5: What is a change maker? Who are some changemakers we should know about?

    This project is done in partnership with the Tenacre librarian. In library class, students research less famous individuals who made an impact at some point in history that is still felt today. They then write a three-paragraph essay about the contributions of their chosen change maker and explain in their own words why each of these individuals should be celebrated.  Students then pair up and create slides to share their learning at an all-school assembly.
  • Grade 6: Explorations of race, religion, and socioeconomic diversity

    Sixth graders read several historical novels with themes pertaining to racial and socio-economic diversity, including How I Found the Strong, Lyddie, and Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry. They also read John Lewis’s March: Book One, a graphic novel that discusses the Civil Rights Movement and themes of segregation, non-violence, and perseverance.

    In social studies, sixth graders study U.S. history, where they learn about leadership and the contributions of groups that include women and Black people. The curriculum also includes a unit on world beliefs, which provides students with a basic understanding of Judaism, Christianity, Islam, and Hinduism. The purpose of the unit is to provide information that will further the class’s understanding of current events, politics, and world history for secondary school. 

Student Affinity Groups

List of 6 items.