Diversity at AFS is one of our deepest strengths and resources and one of our most important challenges.
Cultivating Critical Consciousness, Creating A Conscious Community
“Diversity and Inclusion” is rooted in Critical Consciousness. Critical consciousness calls for us to go beneath the surface and beyond myths—developing deep understanding and deep listening skills. This requires both internal and external processing, knowledge of self and others. It calls for us to examine the impact and interactions of individuals, ideologies, and institutions. Moreover, developing a critical consciousness dovetails with creating a Conscious Community. A conscious community is one that heightens awareness and expression, provides meaning and purpose, responds to human needs, reflects values and culture, and encourages and supports learning, growth, health, and well-being. Developing a critical consciousness and creating a conscious community is a result of Quaker pedagogy and practice, where every voice is valued and wisdom comes from the group. Learning is achieved through inquiry, reflection, collaboration, service, and respect.
Diversity and Inclusion work is our shared responsibility as a community; we all have a role to play. Successful engagement in this work stems from education, exposure, and experience.
For more information, contact Mikael Yisrael, Director of Equity, Justice & Engagement.
The following principles inform our daily practice:
The curriculum, program and climate of the School must reflect the diverse backgrounds of the members of the school community, of the wider local community and of the global community in terms of race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, religion, gender and ability.
Excellence in Teaching & Learning
Excellence in teaching and learning can only occur in a school community that honors the multiple perspectives provided by individuals and groups with a wide variety of backgrounds.
Role of Identity & Privilege
An understanding of the role of identity and privilege in society and in school must be intentionally built into the education of students and the professional development of adults in the community.
The curriculum and program of the School must foster thoughtful questioning and critical thinking about the historically inequitable distribution of power and privilege throughout the world, and must support students in understanding the impact of these inequities and in taking action to fight injustice.
Each Division has dedicated Diversity Clerks, these faculty members are professionally trained to lead workshops and conversations on diversity and inclusion.
Upper School Diversity Clerks: Melanie Duncan, Ricardo McKenzie, and Sheila Pai
Middle School Diversity Clerks: Bartley Jeannoute, Erin Timmer, and Mark Smith
Lower School Diversity Clerks: Alicia Fernandez, Keisha Hirlinger, and Michelle Podulka
Cultural competency is essential in developing a just and equitable learning community for all of its members; the School must commit necessary resources to provide learning experiences for all adults and students that support this.
A Just, Equitable and Inclusive Community
The work of creating a more just, equitable and inclusive school community must happen both on the personal and the institutional levels; the School must provide necessary resources to support both institutional transformation and individual self-exploration and growth around issues of difference.
In a letter to the full AFS community, Rich Nourie outlined several steps the school is taking to commit more fully to greater care and equity at AFS given the state of racial justice and injustice in our country, including a partnership with Simone Golden, a licensed social worker and certified professional coach.
Read The Story
It was truly amazing to experience and partake in my first day of service at Abington Friends School. A spirit of hope and faith filled our campus and extended into the larger community as we united to Bear Witness through Truth, Action, and Love.
Read The Story
For several years now, Upper School students from AFS have been teaming up with their peers at the Perkiomen School to host the student-led Mid Atlantic Regional Diversity Conference.
Read The Story