Equity and Inclusion

Equity and Inclusion Statement

As a means to fulfill our credo, "Think also of the comfort and the rights of others," Winchester Thurston will be an inclusive community and will pursue the social and pedagogical benefits that diversity brings.

We will place the highest value on enabling students to understand their own identity and those of others.

It is our moral imperative to be courageous and intentional in promoting understanding, addressing bias, identifying and honoring qualities of justice, respecting multiple perspectives and contributions, and valuing the dignity of all.

Diane Nichols, Director of Equity and Inclusion

Diane Nichols is WT’s first Director of Equity and Inclusion. She served in the same role for more than 20 years at independent schools across the country. Nichols is a Licensed Counselor with a B.A. in Psychology and a M.Ed. in Community Counseling, and she recently completed a certification in Organizational Leadership from UMass Dartmouth. Read more about her and her thoughts on the importance of focusing on equity and inclusion in independent schools in this interview with WT's alumnae/i magazine, Thistletalk.

Equity and Inclusion Toolkit

Be sure to browse this wealth of information from Diane Nichols, to learn more about how all of us can become more aware and respectful of the people around us. Check back often for updates.

Inclusive Language

Diversity–quantifiable. The concept of “diversity” embraces the wide range of differences and variety among people, including, but not limited to, race, gender, ethnicity, religion, national origin, socioeconomic status, age, sexual orientation, and physical/mental (dis)ability.

Multicultural–qualitative. Bringing together, celebrating and honoring of many distinctive cultures and backgrounds through building and sustaining a sense of community in programs, policies, and practices. It involves building on the diversity of a school environment or on the diversity a school is striving to achieve.

Multicultural (Inclusive) Education–“an idea or concept, an educational reform movement, and a process. The idea that all students should have an equal opportunity to learn in school. Understanding that some students have a better chance to learn in schools as they are currently structured, than do students who belong to other groups or who have different cultural characteristics.” James A. Banks

Affinity Groups

Affinity groups, also known as Common Ground Gatherings or Resource Groups, are a natural part of our human experience. Every day we create and join groups with those whom we share a common interest, history, or experience based on race, religion, political affiliation, gender, sexual orientation, age, profession, and interests. The National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) has long supported the development and operation of identity based affinity groups for underrepresented and marginalized groups in our Independent School communities. The overarching vision for NAIS affinity group work is to provide a safe and supportive space for participants to identify salient issues and common concerns through dialogue. In affinity groups, participants’ individual voices evolve into a collective story that affirms, connects, educates, and empowers its members. Participation in such groups is based on one’s ability to speak from the “I” perspective.

Current WT Affinity Groups:

Upper School:
African and African American Males Group
African and African American Female Group

Middle School:
African and African American Females
Gender and Sexuality
Students in Divorced/Separated families

Lower School:
LS & US African and African American Buddy Program

WT Families (Both City and North Campuses):
Families of International Students
Families of African and African American Students
LGBTQ+ Family Affinity Group

WT Parents/Guardians (Both City and North Campuses):
Parents of Students with Learning Differences
African American Parents
Multi-racial Parents
Transracial Adoptive Parents
Single/Divorced Parents

Alliances and Student Unions

Alliances and Student Unions are other shared groups, which meet routinely, but are often facilitated by a leader who does not hold that identity and are open to others outside of the identity group. Participants in Alliances and Student Unions share a commitment as an Ally and a desire to increase awareness, understanding, and support for an identified group.

Current WT Alliances and Student Unions:

Upper School:
Jewish Student Union
Black Student Union
UnderRepresented Minority Student Union
Asian American Student Union
International Club of Cultures
Gender and Sexuality Student Union
Feminist Student Union
STEMinist Society–focusing on Women in science, technology, engineering and math
LatinX Student Union
Mental Health Club

Middle School:
Diversity Club
Gender and Sexuality Alliance
STEMinist Club

Video Resources

Peanut Butter, Jelly and Racism–a short video on implicit bias from The New York Times.

Diversity Statistics

More than 35% of students are students of color.

Students come from 74 zip codes and 45 school districts.

Over $3 million in financial aid awarded annually.

18 scholarships awarded for students entering grades 6–12.

Student Involvement Opportunities

Local, regional, and national Conferences

Student Equity and Inclusion Leadership Council

African American Buddy Program

Upper School student unions including Feminist, Black, Gender and Sexual Identity, Community Service