Why Riverdale

DEIB at Riverdale

Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, Belonging (DEIB) is the foundational core of community building that supports the school’s mission and empowers all community members to be their whole selves and thrive– especially those who historically have been and continue to be marginalized because of their cultural, ethnic, racial, linguistic, national, gender, sexual, spiritual, or socioeconomic identities and their physical, mental, or emotional well-being. We work with intentional passion to actively support equity in and outside the classroom. We recognize that good intentions are not enough and must be connected to purposeful actions.

We use the social justice framework and standards from Learning for Justice to provide a structure for how we think about the areas of work DEIB should encompass. Beyond the IDJA framework, we use the examination of counter-arguments and opportunities for reflection and restorative practices in order to further enrich our discourse as a community. This work is composed of two key branches: Community Engagement (programming: events, professional development, and affinity groups) and Institutional Equity (strategic thinking around how policies and procedures are designed with an equity lens).

Institutional Equity Plan

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. We strive to address the systemic issues of inequity, bias, and racism to ensure that Riverdale students, faculty/staff, families, and alumni feel seen, heard, and valued. We take action to address the areas of culture, accountability, representation, education, and support.

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

Riverdale creates 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 LGBTQIA+ students, faculty/staff, parents/guardians, and alumni. 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?

DEIB 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 refers to 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 manifestations. This includes examination and restructuring of policies, practices, attitudes and cultural messages that reinforce bias differential outcomes or fail to eliminate them.

How does Institutional Equity connect to Community Engagement?

Institutional Equity and Community Engagement

Institutional Equity creates the institutional structures and culture that allows Community Engagement programming to be essential celebration rather than a momentary outlet for faculty, staff, students, families, and alumni. Institutional Equity requires school leadership to move from thoughtful words to purposeful actionable steps and to create space for all community members to share critical feedback 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.

How can I learn more about DEIB at Riverdale?

Contact us

Email: deib@riverdale.edu


View All
Portrait of Pablo MartinezIn a 2020 article for Independent School magazine, a publication of the National Association of Independent Schools, Pablo A. Martinez…
Bleachers full of students at Upper School assembly listening to Head of School Dominic RandolphAt an Upper School assembly on Feb. 24, Head of School Dominic A.A. Randolph presented the "Riverdale Statement on Campus…