Our Philosophy

A committee formed of faculty and the Board of Trustees are tasked with actualizing the DEI mission statement for students, families, and faculty.  We approach this charge by:

  1. Affirming our Episcopal identity-An Epsicopal school sees itself as a place for all, offering peace to all. This philosophy manifests itself by welcoming children and families of all faiths or of no faith. Similarly, our Episcopal unity is strengthened through respect for differences in age, ethnicity, gender, race, religion, sexual orientation, and socioeconomic status. 

  2. Celebrating personal and cultural expression-In our learning environments, you will see students representing different backgrounds in collaboration, dialogue, and learning. With a programmatic emphasis on sharing diverse viewpoints, we aim for all students to see a reflection of their personal and cultural upbringing while also sharing in the joy of cultures and perspectives different from one’s own.

  3. Committing to equitable access-We ensure that all students have equal opportunity to programs and resources so that students can thrive academically, athletically, artistically, and creatively. 

Our Programming

Racial Literacy Curriculum 

  • This school year, we will pilot racial literacy curriculum in fourth, sixth, seventh and eighth grades. In middle school this will be incorporated into existing arts blocks classes. In lower school, fourth graders will use the third trimester to explore these topics in more depth as a supplement to their novel studies and reading curriculum.

Middle School Affinity Groups

  • The affinity group program will begin in the middle school in the 2020-21 school year. While hybrid learning presents challenges to implementation, GSL is committed to developing this opportunity for its students. 

    • The central purpose of affinity groups is to provide support for students who share a common identity. At many independent schools, students of underrepresented groups are frequently isolated in classroom settings where they are the only member with a particular identity in the room. Research shows that, in these circumstances, the space and opportunity provided by affinity groups for connection and engagement with peers is critical to developing a positive sense of identity and belonging.

    • To learn more, please read our FAQs page on affinity groups. 

Lower School Discussion Groups

  • Through literature and thematic programming, lower school students engage in weekly conversations where they explore different communities in Memphis and the world, examine similarities and differences in racial and cultural upbringing, and discuss ways to strengthen community bonds across lines of difference.

Preschool Cultural Responsiveness

  • Ms. Lee’s has designed the “Multicultural Book Nook,” a resource library for classrooms and families where both teachers and parents are able to check out books to learn about a variety of cultures. 

  • Additionally, teachers are examining Don’t Look Away: Embracing Anti-Bias Classrooms. This book offers early childhood professionals strategies, tools, and information to help create a culturally responsive and equitable learning environment. 

Faculty Development 

  • To ensure that diversity, equity, and inclusion are incorporated in our academic curriculum as well as the very culture of the classroom, GSL’s teachers participate in ongoing education and training in the following ways:

    • Faculty training with Dr. Derrick Gay

    • Ongoing Facing History and Ourselves faculty workshops

    • Annual attendance by rotating faculty members at People of Color Conference (PoCC) 

    • Ericka DeBruce DEI committee training in August 2020 

    • Ongoing 2020-21 faculty development through small group training and conversations with DEI committee members