Letter from Marissa Colston - Director of Diversity & Inclusion
Our students engage in meaningful experiences in the classroom, art studio, stage, science lab or athletic field.
In Lower School students gather weekly to be in community to sing, share, and interact with another. They learn about what makes a community healthy and beneficial to all. One opportunity for Middle School students to share and learn about each other happens in the in the student diversity group that meets weekly. In this group named M.O.O.S.E (Many Optimistic Open-minded Supporters of Equality), they get to role play how to be an upstander and discuss and find ways to share with their middle school peers the rich diversity of experiences in their community.
In Upper School, students participate in student-led clubs around affinity groups, interests, and experiences. These clubs have the agency to organize and bring speakers who share their expertise and stories that inspire and educate the entire student body. Upper School students who are living on dorm deepen these conversations and experiences well after the school day is complete through intentional residential programming and further dialogue on dorm.
Faculty engage in learning opportunities around cultural competency and participate in local conferences that expand their own growth and understanding building empathy and their own toolbox in how to teach, live, and learn in a diverse community. This learning is carried into the classroom allowing for a learning environment that has real world connections and the ability to connect with each individual student.
This dynamic and diverse learning environment is rooted in the Quaker values of simplicity, peace integrity, community, equality and stewardship. Westtown is a community that not only sees the light of god in everyone but also realizes that we burn brighter because of our myriad diverse experiences and the opportunity they give us to learn and grow from each other.
As the Director of Diversity and Inclusion, I help facilitate conversations among the many constituents, lead workshops for faculty and student learning, collaborate with teachers to help teach a multicultural perspective, work with the administration to support policy changes, hire diverse candidates and support curricular review so that we continue to serve all students in the best way possible.
Westtown School is home to a globally diverse community—literally. On-campus faculty families and Upper School boarding students infuse the school with warmth and life 24/7, enriching the Westtown experience for every student from Pre-K through grade 12.
There’s no better way to learn than in a culturally, racially, and economically diverse community. Generations of Westtown students—and their proud parents—can attest to the habits of mind and character that living in this learning environment cultivates: respect, patience, kindness, humor, honesty, and, perhaps most notably, confidence and independence.
Themes of ethnic, religious, and cultural identity are woven the curriculum in all divisions, and students explore these issues both through the lens of self and other.