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What Does Diversity Mean at Brearley?

The diversity of Brearley’s community is ever changing. Each new class of students brings with it a wide range of educational experiences, academic and extracurricular interests, and family backgrounds. Although we are located on the far reaches of the Upper East Side, families travel daily from near and far to be part of this community. They make up the durable and pliable weft of Brearley’s fabric that brings to life the School’s mission and values. 

Statistics do not do justice to the rich diversity of our community. Rather, it is the stories of each family that provide insight into the complexity of what I often refer to as the diversity within the diversity of our school. It is a strength, to be sure—not only because it is one of the most oft-cited reasons families and students choose to enroll, but also because it offers a wall-less classroom for students to better understand their community, the communities that surround them and, ultimately, themselves. It is a gift I appreciate every time I sit in on a class, student discussion or community event. Brearley would not be Brearley without the diversity of its community. 

Last year, the Office of Equity and Community Engagement and Parent Equity Committee offered parents the opportunity to try their hand with a project from the Class IV curriculum, a crowdsourced poem based upon George Ella Lyon’s poem “Where I’m From.” (The other parent option, as you may recall, was to watch the Upper School assembly with Dr. Loretta Ross, associate professor for the study of women and gender and a recently named MacArthur Fellow who encourages us all to call each other “in” vs. “out.”) The community crowdsource poem parent engagement was so popular and we received such positive feedback that we decided to make it a permanent feature of the welcoming reception for incoming/new families each fall. This year, we had to “shoo” parents out of 590 at the end of their sessions, they were so engaged and moved by the exercise. Everyone who does this leaves with a deeper understanding of their fellow parents, their child’s classmates, the School and, yes, themselves.

Completing this circle, we have asked students from all three divisions to recite a selection of parent submissions and have included a link to the poem below. I hope you enjoy this gift of diversity with gratitude for your engagement in the Brearley community. 

I am from....

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