About

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Our Mission

York Prep has built its diverse community based on the belief that each individual must be treated with equal respect. Our passion for academic excellence is enhanced by the inclusive environment that fosters our students in our classrooms and throughout our campus. Students come to York Prep from diverse backgrounds and draw from each other's experiences and perspectives to learn and grow.
Clubs & Programs that educate and promote cultural, gender, socio-economic, religious, and neuro diversity

  • Affinity Social Justice Club,
  • She’s The First Club
  • Gender-Sexuality Alliance
  • Asian Culture and Appreciation Club
  • American Sign Language Club
  • German Club
  • La Pata & Spanish Club
  • Middle Eastern Cultures Club
How We Promote Diversity at York Prep

List of 10 items.

At York Prep we uphold the value of each individual as a person. We nurture pride within each student. This practice goes hand in hand with our perspective of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.

Please watch this video of History teacher Mr. Roper talking about his proudest moment as a teacher, a moment when his student declared , “I have to be who I am”. In this video, he talks about the events in his classroom that lead the student towards this breakthrough.
From Kathryn Maggiotto, Dean of Faculty:

This summer, the York Prep faculty have their own summer reading list! Every other week, we are engaging with a new resource that explores how we can further our anti-racist teaching and facilitate learning around issues of diversity, equity and inclusion.  We are holding zoom meetings to unpack each resource and to discuss ways we embed Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion work throughout our curriculum.  
Culturally Responsive Teaching leads us to ask ourselves:
·         What are our responsibilities as educators?
·         How do we discuss race in the classroom if we’re  uncomfortable?
·         How might this teaching look across subject areas?
 
Many of the Culturally Responsive Teaching strategies are already embedded in the York Prep DNA: we know our students well, we utilize their strengths, we meet them where they are, and we challenge them to grow. While we may naturally use the strategies cited in these articles, we can continue to educate ourselves and find new ways to stretch our thinking and expand our toolkits.
 
Check out what the faculty is reading below!
 
Don’t Say Nothing” by Jamilah Pitts -  It was written in 2016 and serves as a reminder that while these issues may feel “timely” right now, the need for this kind of teaching and learning is nothing new. The article is from the website, Teaching Tolerance, which is an incredible resource for lesson plans, anti-bias guidelines, and professional development. 
 
Culturally Responsive Teaching Strategies - Focuses on 5 Strategies to incorporate into our classrooms.

Getting Started with Culturally Responsive Teaching - Explores how we examine our own biases and create safe and challenging places for our students.

Three Tips to Make any Lesson More Culturally Responsive - A great graphic that gives some tips, and focuses on what CRT is not mentioning Africa for the sake of it, or rapping about the Boston tea party for example)
Discussing Race in the Classroom
Two York Prep teachers share examples of how race is discussed in their classrooms, and how it applies to both history and today
Ms. Davis, English & Scholars Program Teacher:

This Spring I taught a 9th/10th grade scholars class on Black Speculative Fiction. All of the texts we read dealt with race in different ways, but one week the country’s headlines intersected with our reading directly. The week of the public outcry demanding the arrest of men who shot Ahmaud Abery, we happened to be reading the story “Zimmerland” by Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah, from the collection Friday Black. The story depicts a fictional theme park that allows people to simulate different “vigilante” experiences, like killing a strange Black man in “your” neighborhood. The Black protagonist, an employee of the park, is conflicted about whether this park makes the world safer for people of color, or whether it normalizes racist violence. Reading this story at the same time as the Arbery case helped students navigate these difficult issues in a space of critical thought.
 
In our 11th grade scholars class on Gwendolyn Brooks’s novella, Maud Martha, we examined vignettes that dealt with how more subtle forms of racism affect women of color. These stories opened up discussions about the intersectionality of beauty standards, micro-aggressions, and discriminatory language in the text and our current society.
 
On the last day of class for 9-1, we took advantage of the double period to allow students to share their thoughts and questions about the George Floyd protests. Together, we watched a video of a James Baldwin speech from 1965 when he debated William F. Buckley at Cambridge. Baldwin argues that “the American Dream is at the expense of the American Negro” in a riveting oration that examines how one’s very system of reality is shaped by the racism embedded in society. Students were impressed by Baldwin’s eloquent delivery and the power of his message. 
 
In November, my 11-1 English class took a field trip to see the Weeksville Heritage Center in Brooklyn, the site of a historic neighborhood founded by free African Americans in the 19th century. After reading narratives by Frederick Douglass and Harriet Jacobs, students were able to expand their understanding of Black lives in the 19th century by learning about the accomplishments of a free Black community in New York City.
 
Mr. Gordon, History Teacher:

In 8th grade history's unit on Jamestown, Mr. Gordon posed the question, "Is it human nature to divide people by race?" The unit began with a discussion of a New York Times map of New York City's population, which showed that neighborhoods today are heavily segregated by race. Some students theorized that people generally prefer to live with people who share their culture, while other students thought that perhaps the segregation was not done by choice. We examined evidence on both sides, including psychological studies about racial preferences and learning about policies in the 20th century that led to residential segregation, such as Redlining.
 
We then went back in time to apply this same question to the Jamestown colony. Through analyzing primary and secondary sources about that period, students concluded that African, European, and Native American people did get along at first. However, wealthy English landowners began to fear that servants and enslaved people would rise up against them. In response, they passed laws to keep their workers divided, such as those banning interracial marriage, which over time created social taboos that pit people of different races against one another.
 
By the end of this unit, students began reflecting on their own experiences in racially integrated and segregated settings. They wondered how their own lives had been impacted by the laws and policies we examined, and what forces had shaped their own ideas about race.
 
Here's an excerpt from an essay on the topic by 8th grader Tatiana Bresler:
 
"Sometimes laws and rules can be implanted into our heads at a young age and it can make us feel as if these laws and rules are moral and the right thing to believe. And in the past rules have been made to separate different races and some still affect us today. In 1691, a law was passed by the General Assembly of Virginia to make it illegal for whites to marry people of other races. The act says “It is enacted from now on, if any English or other free white man or woman shall intermarry with a negroe, mulatto, or Indian man or woman”. This law made it seem wrong to marry other races, but the making of this law also shows that other races were marrying each other, because why would the government make a law about something that is not happening? This shows that people in charge segregated other races making citizens and fellow generations to come think something is wrong."
 
The Headmaster's Letter to the York Prep Community: June 1, 2020

Dear York Prep Community,
 
We have all watched the events of the last few days with great sadness. The murder of George Floyd by members of the Minneapolis Police Department underscores the reality that racism is here in our society and that we must be vigilant in standing up against it and condemning it. We cannot repeat enough the value of a just society where all Americans are treated equally.

York was founded on the idea of inclusion. Pedagogically, that affects the way we approach our students’ learning and the methods we use to teach them. We will continue to be proactive in addressing racism and provide our students with developmentally appropriate opportunities to grapple with the complex issues of oppression and identity. We are a community that values equity, and we are committed to partnering with families to continue this important work both in and out of school.

As Head of your children’s school, I can ensure that we will continue to discuss with our students the scourge of racism, express our sadness at its persistence, and stand in solidarity with those most deeply affected in our community. Again, I wish we were at school to hold a full community meeting to provide support and a space to process. Ms. Aiello and Ms. Rowe-Cosentino continue to be available to support students who are struggling right now, and our social justice club will continue to meet this week. They have also put together a list of resources that I have included to support us all as we navigate these difficult conversations.

I express to you my horror at the events, our profound sadness that a fellow American should be brutally murdered by police officers, and our determination that York will always fight racism.
 
Sincerely,
Ronald P. Stewart
Headmaster
York Prep
 
 
Anti-Racism Resources
Get Involved: · White Accomplices - Practical ways to take action · 75 Things White People Can Do for Racial Justice - from Medium · Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ) - National network of groups & individuals working towards racial justice · Anti-Racism Project - NY-based organization offering workshops, & professional development · Beyond the Hashtag: How to Take Anti-Racist Action in Your Life - from Teen Vogue
Social Media Accounts to Follow: · Antiracism Center: Twitter · Audre Lorde Project: Twitter | Instagram | Facebook · Color Of Change: Twitter | Instagram | Facebook · Colorlines: Twitter | Instagram | Facebook · The Conscious Kid: Twitter | Instagram | Facebook · Equal Justice Initiative (EJI): Twitter | Instagram | Facebook · Families Belong Together: Twitter | Instagram | Facebook · The Leadership Conference on Civil & Human Rights: Twitter | Instagram | Facebook · RAICES: Twitter | Instagram | Facebook · Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ): Twitter | Instagram | Facebook · United We Dream: Twitter | Instagram | Facebook
Recommended Viewing & Listening: Film & Television: · 13th (Ava DuVernay) — Netflix · American Son (Kenny Leon) — Netflix · I Am Not Your Negro (James Baldwin doc) — rent · King In The Wilderness — HBO · The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution — rent · When They See Us (Ava DuVernay) — Netflix · Dear White People (Justin Simien) — Netflix · Fruitvale Station (Ryan Coogler) — rent
Recommended Reading Books: · How To Be An Antiracist by Dr. Ibram X. Kendi · Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, & You by Jason Reynolds · Redefining Realness by Janet Mock · So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo · The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander · Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria? By Beverly Daniel Tatum
 
 
Additional Books and Articles Recommended by School Counselor, Evelyn Rowe-Cosentino