Why Riverdale

DEIB at Riverdale

Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging (DEIB) is the foundational core of the anti-racist, anti-bias, and transformational work that Riverdale is doing to ensure students, faculty/staff, families, and alumni feel seen, heard, and valued.

Our understanding of DEIB focuses on these identifiers: race/ethnicity, gender identity, family structure, sexual orientation, age, ability, socio-economic status, and belief systems. We use the Social Justice Standards developed by Learning for Justice to provide a roadmap for how we think about our work as an institution. These standards are divided into four domains — identity, diversity, justice, and action (IDJA) — and encompass anti-bias, multicultural, and social justice education. Beyond the IDJA framework, we use the examination of counter-arguments and opportunities for reflection in order to further enrich our discourse as a community.

DEIB at Riverdale is composed of two key branches: Community Engagement and Institutional Equity.

Our Commitment

At Riverdale, we recognize that the work of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging is iterative and requires a consistent commitment. It is not a checklist that can be completed by a few people. It is everyone’s work. We prioritize transparency and accountability as a school community and demonstrate that through our yearly Institutional Equity Plan. This living document outlines our commitment to become an anti-racist, anti-bias institution, and a safe space for LGBTQIA faculty, staff, and students

Riverdale is one of the only places I know of where you can truly be who you want to be.

current student

Supporting Gender and Sexuality Diversity

As a school, we facilitate opportunities for reflection, exploration, affirmation, and leadership for students around their own identity development in the areas of gender and sexuality. Our emphasis on critical discourse means we support community members to question and challenge assumptions, and our emphasis on belonging means we work not just to see, but to celebrate queer and trans community members. We believe this work empowers community members of all identities to more authentically articulate and express themselves. 

Student Life and DEIB

The four pillars of Student Life at RCS are Identity & Belonging, Social Emotional Learning (SEL) & Character, Health & Wellness, and Learning to Learn. We believe that in order for students to thrive at Riverdale they must be seen, heard, and valued for who they are. Our Student Life curriculum and programming cultivates the emotional intelligence and social emotional learning competencies that allow students to practice self-reflection based on improved self-awareness; use a range of communication skills that support understanding different perspectives and cultivates empathy; tolerate the discomfort and uncertainty that can accompany deep identity work and growth; and cultivate resilience.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the goals of DEIB? 

Our Goals

Diversity Goal: How might we move from acknowledging differences to designing a space that understands intersectionality?

Equity Goal: How might we identify the unequal starting places and provide the necessary resources that ensure everyone has the same opportunities?

Inclusion Goal: How might we decenter the dominant narrative so that the thoughts, ideas, and perspectives of all individuals are valued and necessary? 

Belonging Goal: How might we create a community where discourse thrives and all views, beliefs, and values are integral?

What is Community Engagement?

Community Engagement

Community Engagement encompasses the co-curricular opportunities to engage in topics related to DEIB. This work is led by the Community Engagement Team (CET), which is made up of administrators, faculty, and staff on both campuses. This work includes but is not limited to assembly programming; heritage celebrations; adult, alumni, and student affinity programs; and some community of learning opportunities for students and families at Riverdale.

What is Institutional Equity? 

Institutional Equity

Institutional Equity is the condition that would be achieved if one’s social identifiers no longer predicted, in a statistical sense, how one experiences the Riverdale community. When we use the term, we are thinking about institutional equity as part of social justice framework and thus the work aims to address root causes of inequities not just their manifestation. This includes examination and restructuring of policies, practices, attitudes and cultural messages that reinforce differential outcomes or fail to eliminate them.

How does Institutional Equity link to the work of the CET?

Institutional Equity and the CET

Institutional Equity creates the institutional structures and culture that allows Community Engagement programming to be an essential celebration rather than a momentary outlet for faculty, staff, students, families, and alumni. Institutional Equity requires anti-bias and anti-racist practices to be everyone’s work making Community Engagement programming part of a larger whole that is working to ensure that students, faculty/staff, families, and alumni feel seen, heard, and valued.

Contact Us

Contact Us

Email us at deib@riverdale.edu.


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Pablo A. Martinez, who teaches French and Spanish at Riverdale, describes why he chose to come to the school for…

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