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About

Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging (DEIB)

 

Siena’s commitment to diversity and equity is an extension of our long-standing commitment to our students' different and various learning styles.

On November 29, 2022, Siena's Director of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, & Community Engagement Samantha Fletcher moderated a panel featuring Perspectives from indigenous educators on contemporary life in America.

Our Commitment

  • Identify and implement strategies to broaden our outreach and foster a more diverse community

OUR ACTION

  • Evaluate recruitment and hiring processes to further diversify our faculty and staff

  • Identify and connect with BIPOC community groups to increase awareness around language-based learning differences

  • Evaluate and broaden resource-sharing platforms with community groups and families

Our Commitment

  • Develop a faculty and staff trained to be effective agents of change and dedicated to sustaining a vibrant, inclusive, and caring multicultural community
  • Advance a multicultural curriculum that is developmentally appropriate and accessible for all

OUR ACTION

  • Develop year one of a multi-year training program for faculty and staff, with consultation from external professionals, that supports their development to be effective agents of change, committed to sustaining a vibrant, inclusive, and caring multicultural community
  • Explore topics, expert facilitators, and resources to offer family learning workshops on DEIB-related topics

  • Continue to develop a multicultural curriculum that is developmentally appropriate and accessible for all

Our Commitment

  • Continued development and strengthening of an inclusive and equitable community

OUR ACTION

  • Identify and create allied and community spaces for faculty/staff, students, and parents (such as by developing affinity groups)
  • Structure and establish a DEIB committee that includes representatives of various stakeholders in the school community

  • Begin integration of social justice standards as a framework for anti-bias education

Our Commitment

  • Ensure an equitable experience for all members of the community

What We're Doing

  • Begin the review of policies and procedures to continue to build equitable experiences: e.g., develop a confidential, centralized process for the reporting of incidents relating to personal wellbeing, including any incident that impacts a person’s identity (such as race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, religion, socioeconomic status, ability, age, or any additional cultural identifiers)

Our Commitment

  • Regularly review plan strategies and methodology to ensure the effectiveness of these initiatives both in the near- and long-term. Develop metrics for analysis and data-driven decisions

What We're Doing

  • Begin to develop strategies to analyze the short- and long-term effectiveness of these commitments
  • Plan to share progress on the multi-year plan at the annual State of the School address

The mission of the Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging (DEIB) Committee is to promote a culture of belonging where students, staff, and families of The Siena School feel heard, seen, supported, and valued, so that all members of the community can thrive.

A restorative justice model is key to Siena's approach to discipline. At the beginning of the year, the students of each division develop a Social Contract, the final iteration of which is signed by all. Additionally, reflection is a key component of the restorative justice process. Reparations follow reflection, with a rupture and repair focus on relationships. When possible, other responses directly relate to the harm that was caused; for example, if a student chews gum, they clean up gum around the school. The goal is for the student to learn from the situation and not repeat it. If the same problematic behavior continues, the Discipline Committee meets to discuss the next steps.

The Siena School does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, national or ethnic origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, or as a result of a person's status as a qualified candidate with a disability in administration of its educational policies, admission policies, scholarship programs, staff hiring, and other Siena School-administered programs.

Academic resources comprise an essential part of diversity at Siena. Students read a wide variety of authors, including texts by Chinua Achebe, Dai Sijie, Harper Lee, Colson Whitehead, Alex Gino, Margarita Engle, Lois Lowry, and Kwame Alexander. Field trips and guest speakers also bring a rich array of diverse resources to the curriculum.

Siena is beginning to gather the necessary materials to conduct a DEIB-oriented curriculum audit. 

READ A STATEMENT FROM SIENA'S LEADERSHIP

  • Instructional materials are reflective of intersectional identities and highlight individuals with different gender identities, as well as of different ethnic, geographical, religious, and socioeconomic backgrounds;
  • Students read a wide variety of world fables, as well as a selection of authors, including Dana Allison Levy, Sharon Robinson, Gita Varadarajan;
  • In social studies and Language Arts, Greek mythology is taught;
  • In reading, a unit on neurodiversity and neurodiverse identities is taught;
  • Students of all grades are encouraged to participate in International Night, a longstanding, ever-evolving tradition of celebrating cultures;
  • Student-initiated clubs such as Help Club meet weekly and organize events and drives to support individuals, communities, and schools impacted by natural disasters, pandemics, and more;
  • At the end of 5th grade, students prepare a Strengths Project and participate in a Rising Up Ceremony.

*Siena's Silver Spring campus offers elementary grades 4-5; our Northern Virginia campus offers elementary grades 3-5.

  • Students read a wide variety of authors in middle school including Kwame Alexander, Alex Gino, Lois Lowry, Jason Reynolds, Margarita Engle, Alan Gratz, and Anne Frank;
  • In social studies, Ancient History, World History, and American History are taught;
  • A group of middle and high school faculty attends NAIS's People of Color Conference (PoCC) annually;
  • Students of all grades are encouraged to participate in International Night, a longstanding, ever-evolving tradition of celebrating cultures;
  • At the end of 8th grade, students prepare a personal passion project and present it as part of their Rising Up Ceremony;
  • Student-initiated clubs such as the Gay–Straight Alliance (GSA) meet weekly and organize campus events throughout the year. We are steadily developing an increasing number of student-led affinity groups.
  • Students read a wide variety of authors in high school including Langston Hughes, Harper Lee, Moying Li-Marcus, William Shakespeare, Sophocles, Colson Whitehead, and August Wilson;
  • In social studies, World Cultures is taught;
  • Our Spanish teacher organizes field trips and activities pertaining to Spanish-speaking countries' holidays and cultures;
  • Students of all grades are encouraged to participate in International Night, a longstanding, ever-evolving tradition of celebrating cultures;
  • High school students serve on the DEIB Committee, providing valuable input regarding the direction and implementation of our DEIB work;
  • A group of high school representatives attends NAIS's Student Diversity Leadership Conference (SDLC);
  • A group of middle and high school faculty attends NAIS's People of Color Conference (PoCC) annually;
  • At the end of 12th grade, all students prepare and present a speech as part of their graduation ceremony;
  • Student-initiated clubs such as the Culture Committee and Gay–Straight Alliance (GSA) meet weekly and organize campus events throughout the year.

*Siena's Silver Spring campus offers high school grades 9-12; our Northern Virginia campus offers high school grades 9-10.

Siena offers a financial resources program that assists 33% of Siena families, with an average grant of $13,000. The financial aid program assures that students come from a wide range of socioeconomic backgrounds, and it is supported by The Siena School Scholarship Fund. This fund has raised over $1.5 million since April 2009 thanks to generous donations by Siena families, grandparents, friends, and local organizations. 

We understand how our students learn based on extensive research. With that in mind, we use a multisensory approach that creates equity; the Siena methodology levels the playing field for our students. Siena students are creative and strong visual learners: art, photography, and color are integrated fully into every class. In addition to visual aids and interactive manipulatives, experiential learning is key to our students’ understanding of classroom curricula. To meet our goal of a field trip each month for every grade, Siena works hard to ensure our students take advantage of the widely-available resources of the greater Washington, DC, metropolitan area. Students learn how their brain works best and learn to self-advocate for the approach to learning that can help them demonstrate their great abilities.

ACCESS EQUITY RESOURCES 

Krystal Alleyne, Elementary Teacher. Click here for bio.

Taela Bland, Paraeducator. Click here for bio.

Patrick Campbell, Middle and High School Humanities Teacher. Click here for bio.

Samantha Fletcher, Director of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, & Community Engagement. Click here for bio.

Mimi Pham, High School Government and English Teacher. Click here for bio.

Andrew Sewick, High School Spanish Teacher. Click here for bio

Meredith Shinners, Dean of Students, Director of Student Life, and Summer Academics Coordinator. Click here for bio.

Che Simmons, Elementary Teacher (click here for bio)

Perry Singletary, Paraeducator. Click here for bio.

Kanika Staten, Middle and High School Science Teacher. Click here for bio.

Sam Weiss, High School English Teacher (click here for bio)

Read About Siena Student Leaders

On November 12, 2022, Siena high schoolers attended the AIMS Baltimore Student Diversity Leadership Conference.

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Hear from Siena Student Leaders

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