diversity and Inclusivity

A Collective Sense of Purpose and Commitment

At Hewitt, diversity and inclusivity stand as foundational commitments that guide every aspect of teaching and learning. These institutional values inform our pedagogy, foster personal growth, and cultivate belonging. We believe that a diverse and inclusive community is essential to educating girls and young women to be positive contributors and citizens of the world.

Jacqueline Nelson, Director of Diversity and Inclusivity

Hewitt empowers and expects our community members to embrace multiple points of view, to engage others with empathy and integrity, and to champion equity and justice in all areas of our lives.

Hewitt’s commitment to diversity and inclusivity is, at its core, about empowering girls and their families to bring their whole selves to the Hewitt community.
Dr. Tara Christie Kinsey, Head of School

At Hewitt, we understand the importance of listening to one another’s stories. By acknowledging, appreciating, and celebrating differences, we continue to develop an empathetic community of global citizens.
Jacqueline Nelson, Director of Diversity and Inclusivity

Diversity & Inclusivity Programs

At Hewitt, we recognize that the work of creating a more diverse and inclusive community is ever evolving, never completed, often difficult, and deeply rewarding. All diversity and inclusivity initiatives at Hewitt ask the community to remain fully present, develop empathy, establish a collective purpose, and employ research-based practices for educating girls in a richly varied and globally interconnected world.

Diversity and Inclusivity Steering Committee

Chaired by our Director of Diversity and Inclusivity and comprised of faculty and staff from across divisions and departments, the Diversity and Inclusivity Committee (DISC) leads the Hewitt community in establishing a more empathetic and equitable school culture by guiding conversations about diversity and inclusivity, organizing community events, collecting and sharing stories that reveal who we are, and promoting a pedagogy of anti-bias education. The DISC is committed to facilitating ongoing conversations within the community, establishing community norms, and creating a sense of trust and vulnerability.

Activists and Allies

Activists and Allies community events are open to all faculty and staff who identify as or are interested in becoming activists, advocates, and/or allies for social justice. Participants gather to engage in courageous conversation and collective work towards becoming upstanders in our community and beyond.

EDIT Book Club

The E.D.I.T (Equity, Diversity, Identity, Talk) book club is open to all faculty and staff. Initially a lower school initiative, each division now hosts its own E.D.I.T club. In addition to reading adult literature, these book clubs engage with articles and research related to educational themes and issues relevant to our students. As part of Hewitt’s commitment to community engagement, parents are also invited to participate in targeted book discussions.

National SEED Project

Inspired by the ongoing work of the National SEED Project (Seeking Educational Equity and Diversity), Hewitt’s SEED group comes together once a month to listen, reflect, share, learn, and build a stronger, more inclusive school culture. Together, SEED participants explore how to support the Hewitt community by deepening self-awareness, expanding the knowledge of others, analyzing the world, and becoming leaders who work to make Hewitt a more conscious, equitable, aware, and informed institution.

SEED work engages the head, heart, and soul. Participants develop ways of understanding race, class, gender, sexual orientation, physical ability/disability, and cultural experience.

Workshops and Conferences

Hewitt has long partnered with experts in the field of educational equity and inclusion. We maintain ongoing relationships with professional organizations like Border Crossers and CARLE Institute (Critical Analysis of Race in Learning and Education), host our own SEED group, and send a cohort of faculty, staff, and students to the annual NYSAIS Diversity ConferenceNAIS People of Color Conference, and Student Diversity Leadership Council.

An Inclusive Continuum

Hewitt maintains a proportional, curricular, and interactional commitment to diversity. Our enrollment demographic increasingly reflects the diversity of New York City, our classes engage vital questions of inclusion, equity, and social justice, and our intimate community ensures proximity to difference, inspiring students to form meaningful relationships with students from other schools and every walk of life.

Lower School

Starting in lower school, our K-12 program affirms the tremendous impact of diversity and inclusivity work on healthy identity development and cross-cultural relationship building. In our lower school social studies curriculum, essential questions help girls think critically about their individual identities, celebrate cultural diversity, and challenge assumptions and stereotypes.

Middle School

Throughout middle school and across disciplines, girls consider global histories and traditionally marginalized communities and develop a more historical perspective through the study of social hierarchies. Meanwhile, our English curriculum incorporates voices from a wide breadth of cultures and experiences, and the languages department incorporates the voices of writers from across the Spanish-speaking and Francophone world.

Upper School

As students enter the upper school, they consider their future place in the world and take on leadership roles. We challenge young women at Hewitt to consider multiple perspectives as they explore everything from feminism to globalization, current events to ancient civilizations.

Special programming in the upper school tackles such topics as the objectification and commercialization of women through the cosmetic and dieting industries; institutionalized racism as evidenced in the mass incarceration of people of color; the spectrum of gender identification; and the meaning of consent for women.

Student leaders and activists shape the nature of these nuanced and complex conversations and provide student-facilitated discussion groups on issues of relevance to young women today. We encourage upper school students to take a stance on matters they find important, from proposing affinity spaces to participating in marches, writing to elected officials, or attending local and national conferences, including DAIS (Diversity Awareness Initiatives for Students) and SDLC (Student Diversity Leadership Conference).

Windows and Mirrors: Celebrating Diversity & Inclusivity at Hewitt

Exploring Diversity and Inclusivity with Madame Delphine Leo
Jacqueline Nelson, Director of Diversity and Inclusivity

Incorporating lessons about diversity and inclusivity into one’s curriculum is more of an art than a science, and that is the way it should be. Freedom to explore and discover new best practices is the ideal way for educators to innovate within their curriculum.

Over the past three years Madame Delphine Leo, who teaches French to Hewitt’s lower school students, has been examining her curriculum with an eye towards rethinking and reimagining the way Hewitt’s youngest students engage with a new language. As she began to develop new lessons that more closely aligned with what students were learning in social studies, Leo realized that the materials she was using lacked diverse representation and context. Wanting every child to see herself reflected over the course of the year, Leo began to revise her lessons to provide French instruction that felt contextualized and connected to other aspects of her students’ learning. As a first step, to ensure every student saw children who looked like them in their classroom materials, she took out the closest Crayola box and started shading different characters to reflect the diversity of our lower school classrooms. 

Recognizing that diversity and inclusivity extend beyond visual representations, Madame Leo continued to explore multicultural education practices and pedagogy. After months of lesson planning and development, she completed Mon Voyage Autour Du Monde, a French curriculum that celebrates cultural diversity through a global perspective.  

Leo’s very deliberate and intentional curriculum takes students on a tour around the world, focusing on the diverse French-speaking cultures and stories found in places like Morocco, Japan, and Senegal. As she teaches Hewitt girls about Francophone countries across the globe, Madame Leo is able to model her own curiosity and purposeful innovation while presenting her students with positive and inclusive images of French-speaking people in our country and abroad. Mon Voyage Autour Du Monde offers a mirror for students to recognize their own cultural backgrounds in their classroom lessons, and an opportunity for students and parents to connect, participate, and engage with the curriculum.  

Bien joué, Madame Leo!