"We prepare students to engage in the world that is and to help bring about a world that ought to be."

News Feed

List of 5 news stories.

  • Tips for Starting the School Year with Diversity & Inclusion in Mind

    A Letter to Faculty from the Director of Diversity & Inclusion, September 2018

    Friends,
     
    Welcome to the 2018-2019 school year! 
     
    We are in the thick of preparing to meet students tomorrow. Many of us are putting the finishing touches on our first cycle of lessons. We are sprucing up our classrooms--reordering files, recycling old papers, and dusting off book shelves. Most importantly, we are all, in different ways, thinking about human connection, which is at the core of our work as educators. 
     
    As you think about this new year, I invite you to bring to your awareness diversity and inclusion as an integral part of your work with students. A query: In our classroom and advisories, and in every space in which we interact with students, how might we foster human connection across lines--and in recognition--of difference? 
     
    Below are a few suggestions that may help us on our journey:
     
    1) Consider facilitating a pronoun exercise on the first or second day of classes, as part of student introductions. After first modeling it, you might ask students to share their names and pronouns. The language of "personal or affirming pronouns" situates the conversation as one about respecting people's deeply rooted identities; the language of "preferred pronouns" doesn't quite get us there. If you would like a refresher on gender-neutral or gender-inclusive pronouns and the practice of pronoun affirmation as part of introductions, please click here. This practice is a small opportunity to demonstrate your commitment to being an ally specifically to transgender and nonbinary students.
     
    2) Still on the road toward reducing bias in my own language, I continue to make many mistakes. I forget to use "folks" or "friends" and instead use "guys" when addressing a mixed-gender audiences. Sometimes I assign people pronouns without ever hearing them identify themselves. Sometimes I'm right; sometimes I'm wrong. I hope that I am not alone here! As we all know--but it bears endlessly repeating--mistakes are a normal part of the learning process; the key is recognizing mistakes and resolving to do better--my daily prayer! If you need a refresher on gender-inclusive language, please click here or here.
     
    3) Every year teachers across the country connect their curricula to national observances that promote attention to the contributions and experiences of people from marginalized communities. GLSEN has created a calendar of commemorative days, weeks, and months. I view these commemorations as opportunities to zoom in on the histories of particular communities, not as the only moments in which we should pay attention to folks on the margin. The ultimate goal is a fuller telling of U.S. and world history that includes us all. A heads-up: Latinx Heritage Month is just around the corner! Consider using some of the resources here to lift up the stories of Latinx communities. For an interesting article on intersectionality and honoring intersecting communities, click here.
     
    4) As you are scheduling field trips, homework, major projects, and assessments, please consider consulting this calendar of religious observances. Religious observances can impact the likelihood that a student will submit a homework assignment or project on time, the quality of that work, or their readiness for an assessment. A heads-up: Rosh Hashanah, beginning of the Jewish New Year and the first of the High Holy Days, is early next week. Avoiding heavy homework or assessments during this time is advisable. You might choose to engage students in a brief conversation on the work you will do in collaboration with them to accommodate observances. Students could be invited to share with you a week or two in advance what their needs might be in this regard. A note on this practice could be included on your Haiku page.
     
    5) One time-tested strategy for creating inclusive classroom cultures is the practice of contracting or creating community norms together. This list of norms--to which all students in a class should contribute--creates commonality and empowers students and teachers to determine how they will interact--when things go well, and especially when things go awry. Students and teachers may return to the document again and again as a way to remind them of their goals. Facing History has created a useful explanation of the contracting exercise. (Parker Palmer's Center for Courage and Renewal has created a list--perhaps more applicable to adults--that speaks directly to the core of my being and calls me toward my best self.)
     
    6) As I have grown in my practice of facilitating difficult or sensitive dialogues with students and adults, I have found this resource from Teaching Tolerance (TT) to be helpful. TT's Speak Up At School is a great resource for all educators; we are all growing in our ability to recognize and interrupt bias and insensitivity when it emerges within ourselves and in interactions with others. Addressing prejudice and stereotypes is best when it takes a restorative approach that honors hurt feelings, the distinction between intent and impact, the possibility of growth, and the potential for stronger human connection.
     
    7) Please lean on the support of your teacher colleagues. Mutual coaching is one of the best ways for us to grow in our awareness of difference and in our practice of navigating and affirming it. Lean on the support of your department chairs and divisional leaders. Please also lean on those of us who work at the School's Center for Peace, Equity and Justice. We are grateful for opportunities to support and learn with you.
     
    I wish you a wonderful and wonderfully inclusive school year! 
    Read More
  • #FSPOSTCARDS4FAMILIES EVENT

    As details regarding the more than 2,300 children who've been separated from their asylum-seeking parents at the U.S. and Mexico border continue to unfold—many in our community are struggling with feelings of outrage, helplessness, and despondence.
     
    A group of academics brainstorming ways to raise awareness about the harrowing effects of this administration's "zero-tolerance" policy came up with a way to allow families like theirs to help: Writing postcards that call on those in power to act with humanity toward those seeking asylum. They’re using social media to help their #postcards4families campaign go viral.
     
    Friends Seminary is joining their efforts. We invite all members of our community who are around in the city to join us for a postcard writing event to elected officials on Wednesday, June 27, from 4-6 PM in the School Lobby. Blank postcards, markers, and address labels will be available on site. All that is needed is your creativity and voice to turn the postcards into a call for a humane and quick response to reunite separated children with their families. Drop in to create a postcard and add it to our community collection. We’ll take care of the mailing.

    For every community member who participates in Friends Seminary’s #postcard4families advocacy campaign, a donor has pledged to send $5 to support nonprofit organizations working in NYC to assist the more than 300 children who have been separated from their parents at the border and are now being held in New York with no clear path to reunification.

    The following groundbreaking programs that specifically address the needs of these refugee families will be the recipients of all raised funds: Immigrant Justice CorpsTerra Firma, and ICARE (a coalition of immigration advocates which includes the Legal Aid Society, The Door, Catholic Charities Community Services, the Safe Passage Project, Make the Road New York, Central American Legal Assistance, and Kids in Need of Defense), along with the Human Rights Watch, whose frontline investigations, documentation of abuses, and satellite imagery of detention centers contributed to the wave of public outrage and opposition to the separation of families.
     
    Staff from Friends Seminary’s Center for Peace, Equity, and Justice will be on hand Wednesday afternoon at school. For those of you whose summer plans find you already outside NYC, a postcard template and address labels can be accessed here. Before mailing, please take a photo of your postcard and post it to social media using these two hashtags: #Postcards4Families and  #FSPostcards4Families.
     
    Read More
  • Friends Group Participates in the 2018 Pride March

    On Sunday, June 24, 2018, Friends participated in the Pride March for the fourth consecutive year. Friends co-sponsored a float with Bank Street School for Children and the School at Columbia. Under their banners, 150 marchers assembled. Guests from Grace Church School, Trinity School, IDEAL School, and Packer Collegiate joined in as well. Organized by the School’s Center for Peace, Equity and Justice, the Friends group was comprised of students from across the divisions, parents, faculty, and administrative staff. Thank you to all who joined with us to support and celebrate the LGBT community!

    CLICK THE TITLE OF THE ARTICLE TO ACCESS A PHOTO SLIDESHOW.
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  • passTRESpass 2018 Project: Migration, Home and Borders

    Last week, the US ChoreoLab class joined forces with Despina Stamos of the Modern Dance Awareness Society to take part in the dance project, passTRESpass 2018 proximity. PassTRESpass Athens, which started in 2007, is a roving, interactive movement installation addressing questions of migration, home and borders. Despina travels from NYC to Athens, Greece to work with refugees in a governed refugee-squat in Athens, giving them the opportunity to process and share their experiences through dance. The dances were performed in Greece and the Meetinghouse simultaneously and broadcast via Skype in the Meetinghouse for approximately 200 students ranging from K-8. It was a moving experience for both the audience and dancers in both countries.

    About the cast: Abdoul/Jaki is 29 years old. He began dancing with passTRESspass in 2009. Jamila, 51, and Mina, 16, from Iran began dancing with them in 2016. Assad 17, and Fatimeh 30, from Kabul and Magda 37, from Iraq, all joined the group this year.

    Fatimeh lives in a refugee camp with her two young boys and travels three hours by bus to rehearse with the group. The 11 children in the group range in age from 4-13, from Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran and Pakistan. They live with their families at City Plaza which will close at the end of July. Presently, they are looking homes to relocate to in Athens.

    CLICK THE TITLE OF THE ARTICLE TO ACCESS A PHOTO SLIDESHOW.
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  • Affirmations: A Mentorship Experience

    Over the last year, the Center for Peace, Equity and Justice and the Offices of Lower School and Friends After Three have been engaged in deep conversations with students in the Raising Awareness, Advocating Diversity Upper School student club. Together, they have thought long and hard about how they might foster meaningful connections between Lower and Upper School students, believing that such relationships, when intentionally crafted, result in positive mentorship. When provided by Upper School students who are committed to social justice and inclusion, that mentorship will result in Lower School students being better prepared to embrace the diversity of identities, experiences, and perspectives that comprise our world--including their own. In the process, Upper School students will grow as mentors and social justice advocates. These students, whether in Lower or Upper School, will cultivate a sense of their capacity to make a positive difference.

    These conversations have led to a new pilot program lovingly called “Affirmations,” which will consist in a series of mentorship experiences over the next calendar year that bring Lower and Upper School students together. Affirmations makes use of the city as a classroom by sending students on trips to various cultural institutions and experiences, where they can advance their learning on identity, diversity, civic engagement, and the art of dialogue. Further consideration is being given to the idea of extending Affirmations into grades 5 and 6.

    Bringing together a group of grade 4 students and Upper Schoolers, the first Affirmations event took place on Tuesday, May 22. The group traveled to the Children’s Museum of Art in Manhattan to see an exhibition called “Scale: Possibilities of Perspectives,” which invited them to explore the richness a diversity of perspectives offers and to examine scale’s ability to alter impressions of the universe and our existence inside it. A docent led the group through the exhibition, stopping to help the group process each art piece in an interactive way. Later, Upper School mentors helped grade 4 students create art projects that replicated some of the pieces from the exhibit. Their conversations demonstrated rich reflections on vantage point; expressions of delight punctuated their exchanges as they explored observing things from different perspectives and doing so together.

    CLICK THE TITLE OF THE ARTICLE TO ACCESS A PHOTO SLIDESHOW.
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Archive

Mission

Friends Seminary’s Center for Peace, Equity & Justice supports student and faculty development of the core values of equality, diversity, and community engagement, which reflects Quaker testimonies and their accompanying legacy of activism. The Center brings together academic, social, and cultural programs that contribute to wider movements for social change. By connecting theory to real-world practice, the Center stresses learning through action, and equips students and faculty with global competencies that allow them to realize their human capacity to bring about the world that ought to be. Through its programs and course offerings, grounded in Quaker philosophy and practice, the Center seeks to connect ideas, resources, and people to advance social justice, build inclusive and sustainable communities, and foster lifelong commitments to public service.

Our Staff

Leitzel Schoen

Dean of Co-Curricular Programs

lschoen@friendsseminary.org

Jason Craige Harris

Director of Diversity & Inclusion

jharris@friendsseminary.org

Claire Brennan

Service Coordinator

cbrennan@friendsseminary.org

Events

List of 3 events.

  • US Civil Rights Trip

    Global education trip for a select group of Upper School students, comprised primarily of students in Black Atlantic and Religion and Social Justice. Students will participate in a civil rights trip to Atlanta, Birmingham, Selma, and Montgomery. This trip is sponsored by the Center for Peace, Equity, and Justice.
    Off Campus
  • Race to Deliver

    The Friends Seminary team will be participating in the God's Love Race to Deliver again this year. The race is a symbol of our daily race to ensure that no person ever has to face the unthinkable combination of illness and hunger. Please help support our team and God's Love We Deliver by donating and/or signing up to run or walk! 
    Central Park
  • PA Diversity & Inclusion Committee Meeting

    All-Parents PA Event. Childcare will be available free of charge for parents attending the Meeting. Please note that childcare will only be available for current Friends Seminary students. For more information, please contact Penelope Hays or Jeffrey Penn.
    506
    Read More
View All Events

News Archive

List of 3 news stories.

  • Tips for Starting the School Year with Diversity & Inclusion in Mind

    A Letter to Faculty from the Director of Diversity & Inclusion, September 2018

    Friends,
     
    Welcome to the 2018-2019 school year! 
     
    We are in the thick of preparing to meet students tomorrow. Many of us are putting the finishing touches on our first cycle of lessons. We are sprucing up our classrooms--reordering files, recycling old papers, and dusting off book shelves. Most importantly, we are all, in different ways, thinking about human connection, which is at the core of our work as educators. 
     
    As you think about this new year, I invite you to bring to your awareness diversity and inclusion as an integral part of your work with students. A query: In our classroom and advisories, and in every space in which we interact with students, how might we foster human connection across lines--and in recognition--of difference? 
     
    Below are a few suggestions that may help us on our journey:
     
    1) Consider facilitating a pronoun exercise on the first or second day of classes, as part of student introductions. After first modeling it, you might ask students to share their names and pronouns. The language of "personal or affirming pronouns" situates the conversation as one about respecting people's deeply rooted identities; the language of "preferred pronouns" doesn't quite get us there. If you would like a refresher on gender-neutral or gender-inclusive pronouns and the practice of pronoun affirmation as part of introductions, please click here. This practice is a small opportunity to demonstrate your commitment to being an ally specifically to transgender and nonbinary students.
     
    2) Still on the road toward reducing bias in my own language, I continue to make many mistakes. I forget to use "folks" or "friends" and instead use "guys" when addressing a mixed-gender audiences. Sometimes I assign people pronouns without ever hearing them identify themselves. Sometimes I'm right; sometimes I'm wrong. I hope that I am not alone here! As we all know--but it bears endlessly repeating--mistakes are a normal part of the learning process; the key is recognizing mistakes and resolving to do better--my daily prayer! If you need a refresher on gender-inclusive language, please click here or here.
     
    3) Every year teachers across the country connect their curricula to national observances that promote attention to the contributions and experiences of people from marginalized communities. GLSEN has created a calendar of commemorative days, weeks, and months. I view these commemorations as opportunities to zoom in on the histories of particular communities, not as the only moments in which we should pay attention to folks on the margin. The ultimate goal is a fuller telling of U.S. and world history that includes us all. A heads-up: Latinx Heritage Month is just around the corner! Consider using some of the resources here to lift up the stories of Latinx communities. For an interesting article on intersectionality and honoring intersecting communities, click here.
     
    4) As you are scheduling field trips, homework, major projects, and assessments, please consider consulting this calendar of religious observances. Religious observances can impact the likelihood that a student will submit a homework assignment or project on time, the quality of that work, or their readiness for an assessment. A heads-up: Rosh Hashanah, beginning of the Jewish New Year and the first of the High Holy Days, is early next week. Avoiding heavy homework or assessments during this time is advisable. You might choose to engage students in a brief conversation on the work you will do in collaboration with them to accommodate observances. Students could be invited to share with you a week or two in advance what their needs might be in this regard. A note on this practice could be included on your Haiku page.
     
    5) One time-tested strategy for creating inclusive classroom cultures is the practice of contracting or creating community norms together. This list of norms--to which all students in a class should contribute--creates commonality and empowers students and teachers to determine how they will interact--when things go well, and especially when things go awry. Students and teachers may return to the document again and again as a way to remind them of their goals. Facing History has created a useful explanation of the contracting exercise. (Parker Palmer's Center for Courage and Renewal has created a list--perhaps more applicable to adults--that speaks directly to the core of my being and calls me toward my best self.)
     
    6) As I have grown in my practice of facilitating difficult or sensitive dialogues with students and adults, I have found this resource from Teaching Tolerance (TT) to be helpful. TT's Speak Up At School is a great resource for all educators; we are all growing in our ability to recognize and interrupt bias and insensitivity when it emerges within ourselves and in interactions with others. Addressing prejudice and stereotypes is best when it takes a restorative approach that honors hurt feelings, the distinction between intent and impact, the possibility of growth, and the potential for stronger human connection.
     
    7) Please lean on the support of your teacher colleagues. Mutual coaching is one of the best ways for us to grow in our awareness of difference and in our practice of navigating and affirming it. Lean on the support of your department chairs and divisional leaders. Please also lean on those of us who work at the School's Center for Peace, Equity and Justice. We are grateful for opportunities to support and learn with you.
     
    I wish you a wonderful and wonderfully inclusive school year! 
    Read More
  • #FSPOSTCARDS4FAMILIES EVENT

    As details regarding the more than 2,300 children who've been separated from their asylum-seeking parents at the U.S. and Mexico border continue to unfold—many in our community are struggling with feelings of outrage, helplessness, and despondence.
     
    A group of academics brainstorming ways to raise awareness about the harrowing effects of this administration's "zero-tolerance" policy came up with a way to allow families like theirs to help: Writing postcards that call on those in power to act with humanity toward those seeking asylum. They’re using social media to help their #postcards4families campaign go viral.
     
    Friends Seminary is joining their efforts. We invite all members of our community who are around in the city to join us for a postcard writing event to elected officials on Wednesday, June 27, from 4-6 PM in the School Lobby. Blank postcards, markers, and address labels will be available on site. All that is needed is your creativity and voice to turn the postcards into a call for a humane and quick response to reunite separated children with their families. Drop in to create a postcard and add it to our community collection. We’ll take care of the mailing.

    For every community member who participates in Friends Seminary’s #postcard4families advocacy campaign, a donor has pledged to send $5 to support nonprofit organizations working in NYC to assist the more than 300 children who have been separated from their parents at the border and are now being held in New York with no clear path to reunification.

    The following groundbreaking programs that specifically address the needs of these refugee families will be the recipients of all raised funds: Immigrant Justice CorpsTerra Firma, and ICARE (a coalition of immigration advocates which includes the Legal Aid Society, The Door, Catholic Charities Community Services, the Safe Passage Project, Make the Road New York, Central American Legal Assistance, and Kids in Need of Defense), along with the Human Rights Watch, whose frontline investigations, documentation of abuses, and satellite imagery of detention centers contributed to the wave of public outrage and opposition to the separation of families.
     
    Staff from Friends Seminary’s Center for Peace, Equity, and Justice will be on hand Wednesday afternoon at school. For those of you whose summer plans find you already outside NYC, a postcard template and address labels can be accessed here. Before mailing, please take a photo of your postcard and post it to social media using these two hashtags: #Postcards4Families and  #FSPostcards4Families.
     
    Read More
  • Friends Group Participates in the 2018 Pride March

    On Sunday, June 24, 2018, Friends participated in the Pride March for the fourth consecutive year. Friends co-sponsored a float with Bank Street School for Children and the School at Columbia. Under their banners, 150 marchers assembled. Guests from Grace Church School, Trinity School, IDEAL School, and Packer Collegiate joined in as well. Organized by the School’s Center for Peace, Equity and Justice, the Friends group was comprised of students from across the divisions, parents, faculty, and administrative staff. Thank you to all who joined with us to support and celebrate the LGBT community!

    CLICK THE TITLE OF THE ARTICLE TO ACCESS A PHOTO SLIDESHOW.
    Read More
Archive
Friends Seminary — the oldest continuously operated, coeducational school in NYC — serves college-bound day students in Kindergarten-Grade 12.
 
FRIENDS SEMINARY
222 East 16th Street
New York, NY 10003
P: 212-979-5030
F: 212.979.5034