Diversity & Inclusion
Mount Tamalpais School values being both a diverse and inclusive community. Our work starts with ensuring that all members of our community – students, faculty, staff, and families – feel a strong sense of belonging, while also recognizing and celebrating our individuality. Family structure, physical abilities, gender, race, ethnicity, professional backgrounds, geography, sexuality, and religious and socio-economic backgrounds are some of the many avenues through which we honor the diversity within our community. At MTS we work to raise culturally conscious students by applying a lens of equity and inclusion to our curriculum, emphasizing the need for justice in our local and global community.
Our faculty and staff regularly engage in ongoing professional development to foster our dialogue and commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion. We engage in community learning sessions with Blink Consulting: Critically Rethinking Diversity, The Center for Cultural Responsive Teaching and Learning, Courageous Conversations, and Gender Spectrum. In addition, an annual cohort of faculty and leadership team members attends the NAIS People of Color in Conference. In addition, the Board of Trustees Committee on Community addresses concerns and spearheads initiatives pertaining to DEI.
On Wednesday, February 15, 2023, we celebrated Black History with an all-school gather led by our kindergarteners that included charades, dance, and more. Read about it on our blog post here.
In November during our community Connect, we celebrated Ruby Bridges with a walk and group discussions. Read more about the Connect on our blog post here.
MTS is excited to introduce our new DEIJ initiative called Connect spearheaded by our Director of Equity and Inclusion, Quincy Davis. Read more about it here.
We celebrated our first annual Mental Health Awareness Day in the spring of 2022 spearheaded by the MTS counselor Melodie Del Rio. Read more about the day on our blog post here.
Read about the activities and celebrations the MTS community put together to celebrate AAPIHM in May 2022 here.
In a new video series started in the 2021-2022 school year, our Director of Equity and Inclusion sits down with community members to explore why diversity, equity, and inclusion is important to Mount Tamalpais School. We are very excited about our first two episodes, the first with Head of School Andrew Davis, and the second with a group of eighth graders. Check out these conversations on our Community Voices blog page here.
Diversity Vision Statement
Mount Tamalpais School is dedicated to nourishing and sustaining a diverse, equitable, and inclusive school community in which each person can be their truest self, knowing all perspectives, identities, and voices are welcomed and valued. It is our responsibility to create a school community where all members can thrive and where students are encouraged to be engaged and growth-minded citizens.
Check out more blog posts on our Community Voices page!
In December, we celebrated Hanukkah with an All School Gather and the 5th Grade read "The Story of Hanukkah" and explained the rules of the game dreidel. During morning recess, students enjoyed latkes and applesauce provided by parent volunteers.
Holocaust Survivor Story
Paul Schwarzbart, husband, father, respected teacher, and Holocaust survivor, visited our middle school students to tell his incredible story in April. Schwarzbart taught at Tam High for many years, and he has written two memoirs sharing his experiences. We felt honored to have the opportunity to hear him speak. Read more about his visit in a blog post here.
Black History Month
In February, the Lower School gathered in the gym to celebrate Black History month. Fifth grade students led the assembly presenting about many important Black heroes of the past, present, and future. Kindergarten students in different grades spoke about inspirational black athletes Steph Curry and Misty Copeland, and others shared about the love they have for their Black and multi-racial families. Kindergarten parents joined us to speak about Sidney Poitier and the power of his life and legacy.
Veteran's Day Gather
In November in honor of Veteran's Day, we were lucky to have MTS parent, and trustee Dan Higgins come to school to speak with our 5th-8th graders about his experience in the US Army during the Vietnam War. You can read more about his experience on our Community Voices blog page here.
In March, the Lower School students gathered together in the gym to connect in support of women and each other. The community wore purple to celebrate International Women’s Day. During the Gather, students shared about women who inspire them. We danced, we listened to each other, we shared about learning that is happening in the classroom, and we reminded ourselves about the words and actions we can share with each other to uplift, encourage, and support. More than a few grown-ups in the room had teary eyes listening to our wonderful Lower School students..
In support of Pride Month in June, the Lower School gathered to celebrate. The group talked about rainbows and what they symbolize, and then teachers read Rainbow: A First Book of Pride by Michael Genhart. This sweet simple story talks about the colors of the rainbow and what the colors represent in the rainbow flag.
Students wore red in support of Dyslexia Awareness Month.
Lunar New Year
MTS Mandarin teacher Vivian Dai led Lunar New Year activities to celebrate the Year of the Tiger including a parade, martial arts, Chinese character writing, and chopsticks-skills competitions. Read more about the day here.
Each grade wore a different color of the rainbow to honor the LGTBQ+ community during Pride Month in June.
Working with MTS on DEI initiatives has at times been challenging, but it has also been empowering, healing, and very positive. MTS is not afraid to examine itself, try something new, and put every effort into encouraging staff, students, and families to show up every day as their most authentic selves, no matter their skin color, family background, faith, nationality, or the many other ways that make a community beautifully diverse..