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Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Our commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion is inextricably linked with our educational philosophy—we believe that deep learning happens within a collaborative community built upon mutual respect.

Our DEI Mission

Riverbend School believes in the importance of diversity, equity, inclusion, and social justice in our community. By embracing differences, valuing multiple perspectives, and developing a profound appreciation for our humanity, we hope to ensure that our campus spaces are safe and respectful for all children, families, and employees. 

Our DEI Vision

  • Create and sustain a diverse community of faculty, staff, students, and families
  • Root our Montessori curriculum in developing the whole child, through practicing grace and courtesy, peace education, and multiculturalism
  • Develop our awareness of implicit bias by rejecting stereotypes and prejudice
  • Promote anti-bias educational practices
  • Appreciate difference and interconnection
  • Guide children to become global citizens who stand up for social justice

Riverbend’s Three-Year DEI Plan

Katie Charner-Laird will oversee this three-year plan as our Associate Head of School for Teaching, Learning and Equity, a title she will assume in addition to her current role as Director of Elementary and Middle School.

Year One (’24-’25): An Invitation for Personal Identity Work for Riverbend Staff and Caregivers

  • Three full days of Riverbend’s professional development programming will be devoted to personal identity work, facilitated by a DEI professional who understands our local community and is eager to address Riverbend’s specific needs. The goal of this professional development is for educators to deepen their understanding of the ways in which their own multiple and diverse identities impact their teaching and their classroom environments.
  • Additional professional development opportunities will be offered for staff who would like to take a deeper dive into personal identity examination. 
  • Our staff will develop a common baseline and shared language for DEI work at Riverbend.
  • Parents and Caregivers and Riverbend’s Board of Directors will be invited to participate in similar personal identity exploration through a number of learning opportunities that may include book/podcast/movie discussions, select Community Learning Series sessions, and affinity groups.

Year Two (’25-’26): Enhancing the Curriculum and Classroom Experience

  • A small group of teachers will be appointed as Curriculum Leaders for both Children’s House and Upper School. They will be charged with examining the Montessori curriculum and identifying where deeper DEI learning can be infused and articulated, and they will create a DEI scope and sequence, using the nationally recognized Social Justice Standards established by Learning for Justice. One-on-one coaching will be provided for teachers as they begin to delve more meaningfully into developmentally appropriate DEI themes in their classrooms.
  • Riverbend faculty, staff, and families will be invited to join a volunteer task force that will further envision Riverbend’s DEI goals and help articulate the role of the Director of Community and Belonging, a new senior leader who will oversee DEI work and our host of student support services starting in the ’26-’27 school year.

Year Three (’26-’27):  Welcome Riverbend’s first Director of Community and Belonging

  • After a nation-wide search and interview process, our community will welcome a new Director of Community and Belonging and continue to deepen our commitment to ongoing DEI work at Riverbend.
  • With the support of the Associate Head of School for Teaching, Learning, and Equity and the previous two years’ work, the Director of Community and Belonging will be able to meet the Riverbend community where we are on our journey and collaborate with us to meet our collective DEI goals.