Community Life and Diversity

Chapin is committed to diversity in its culture, curriculum and program. Believing that an equitable, inclusive community is essential to learning, Chapin actively seeks families, faculty and staff who bring a range of experiences to the school. Chapin embraces and respects differences in age, ethnicity, gender identity, learning style, physical ability, race, religion, sexual orientation and socioeconomic class. Expecting and requiring respect for others are hallmarks of our educational process.

Department of Equitable Practices

Dr. Carolyn Ash, Director of Equitable Practices (K-12)

Lourdes (Lulu) Cossich, Associate Head of Lower School & Lower School Equity Coordinator

Amanda McMillan, Middle School Equity Coordinator

A Message from Dr. Carolyn Ash, Director of Equitable Practices (K-12)

At Chapin, we are dedicated to ensuring that every student has both “mirror” and “window” experiences at the School. Community members have the opportunity each day to help our students learn more about themselves and others with different backgrounds, identities and perspectives. 

The concept of “mirrors and windows” was first introduced by Emily Style for the National SEED [Seeking Educational Equity and Diversity] Project. Multicultural education scholar Rudine Sims Bishop advanced the concept when she coined the phrase “mirrors, windows and sliding glass doors” to explain how children see themselves in books. [”Windows, Mirrors and Sliding Glass Doors”]  

"Mirrors" help to create a sense of belonging by allowing individuals to see reflections of themselves in people, curricula­, and throughout their school environment. "Windows" enable us to develop an understanding of how others navigate the world through thoughtful observation and learning. "Sliding glass doors" encourage individuals, through reflection and action, to respectfully engage with others and the world around them. 

At Chapin, we understand that an equitable, inclusive community is essential for all students to flourish. Here, we all benefit from such a community. The beauty and power of myriad backgrounds and experiences coming together make Chapin an amazing and vibrant place.

In Community,
Carolyn Ash, Ed.D.

Learn more about our Director of Equitable Practices HERE.

Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging (DEIB) Highlights

Comprehensive curricular work, special events and community-building activities, guided by Dr. Carolyn Ash and her department colleagues, took place during the 2022-2023 school year as part of Chapin’s commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging (DEIB) in all areas of school life. Below is a sampling of recent DEIB-centered activities across the School:

More than 80 Lower and Middle School students took part in the Ruby Bridges Program, a monthly affinity gathering for LS and MS students of color. A Chapin tradition for 20 years, Ruby Bridges celebrates diversity and common bonds through fun and empowering activities.

Class 11 students learned about the social and economic factors leading to the “Great Migration,” the mass migration of African Americans from the rural south to urban centers in the north following World War I, which led to the Harlem Renaissance. After an engaging lesson on African American artist Jacob Lawrence’s The Migration Series, students visited MoMA independently to see the artist's exhibit. Learning about the Great Migration and Jacob Lawrence’s work were “windows,” and they were moved to open the “sliding glass door” to deepen and expand their knowledge.

Hispanic Heritage Month gave our Lower Schoolers the opportunity to immerse themselves in Latinx/e culture and history through a host of lively and absorbing activities. For example, Spanish teachers Isamar Rosado Aponte and Maria Hurtado Lopez brought the language to life through traditional songs and music.

This past year, Chapin and its Parents’ Association was pleased to partner with our Parent Affinity groups to host many wonderful events to welcome back and celebrate our community under one roof after two years of not being together.

The Year of the Rabbit was celebrated across divisions! Middle School's student-led Lunar New Year Assembly featured a parade of hand-made lanterns by Class 5 and Mandarin songs performed by Classes 6 and 7. World Languages teacher Lin Wang accompanied the group on the harmonica and the erhu, a traditional Chinese stringed instrument.

An interdisciplinary unit in Class 1 explored equity, sustainability and innovation through the arts. For example, students designed playgrounds that were accessible to people of all abilities.

Affinity Groups & Culture Clubs

Chapin's Equity, Inclusion & Support Committee

The Equity, Inclusion & Support Committee (EISC) is a committee comprised of Chapin community members from all areas of the School, co-led by the Director of Equitable Practices and an alum member of Chapin's Board of Trustees. With Chapin’s Mission Statement as its guide, the Council is responsible for examining the School’s efforts in supporting equity and inclusion across a multitude of social identifiers that include but are not limited to age, ethnicity, gender identity, learning style, ability, race, religion, sexual orientation and socioeconomic class within the Chapin community. The group exists to ensure that Chapin’s culture, curriculum and program support a culturally relevant community that is safe, welcoming and affirming.

Scholars in Residence

The Chapin School’s Scholars in Residence Program offers innovative, inspired pre- and post-doctoral scholars or independent researchers an exciting opportunity—a structured two-year residency rooted in Chapin’s commitment to an inclusive and collaborative model of teaching and learning. Our Scholars bring to classrooms and professional learning a wider set of sources, scholarship, questions and perspectives. Scholars and the programming in which they are engaged enliven and broaden important work that is in progress at Chapin through this unique partnership.

Our second cohort—Marcus Brock, Cynthia (Cindy Gao) and Calvin Walds—will partner with us for a two-year term (2022-2024) and spend a few hours each week working alongside Dr. Ash, Director of Academic Program Ilana Pergam ’86, our students and Professional Community.

Click HERE to learn more about our Scholars.

Chapin's Transgender and Non-Binary Student Statement

Chapin considers applications from any student who identifies as a girl, and we remain devoted to the education and leadership of girls and young women. Recent updates to our policies focus on support for our students who come to understand that they do not identify as girls after joining the Chapin community. Every student and their family should feel they fully belong at Chapin; no student will be asked to leave because of their gender identity. We recognize that all of our students will develop a deeper sense of self in a number of ways during their Chapin years. We continually teach and encourage our students to use their authentic voices, and to affirm and support each other’s efforts to do so. Our educators, administrators, and trustees are committed to an inclusive community and a successful future for each and every one of our students. Expecting and requiring respect for all remains an essential element of our commitment to diversity.

To learn more about Chapin's process, click HERE.