Trinity’s commitment to diversity is significant, and has been for decades, resulting today in the diversely diverse school community we currently enjoy and celebrate, with 41% students of color, 23% faculty and staff of color, and 19% of students receiving portions of the $6 million dollars we devote to need-based financial aid. We consider our diversity to be one of our distinctive strengths. Our mission statement calls us to embody and celebrate our city’s diversity, and in many ways, we do.
Trinity’s approach is different. We are not interested in the kind of education that avoids or mutes differences in order to create community built upon sameness. Unlike secular institutions, we are not silent about religion: rather, we use the structures of a specific religious tradition to explore a wide range of spiritual experiences available to our students. We populate our classes with differences, and we then teach our students how to bridge them, learn from them, enjoy them.
As expressed in the school’s mission statement and exemplified in daily life in our classrooms and hallways, diversity at Trinity is guided by two complementary core educational commitments:
First, we are committed to the robust development of each student’s distinctive intellectual, ethical, social, physical, and spiritual capacities. Education at Trinity is a journey towards self-knowledge as we help students to discern their unique identity and come to “know themselves in the world.” In our Lower School, this journey moves quite explicitly from exploration of family community, to the classroom community, to the neighborhood, to the city, the nation, the world.
In this journey, the school is committed to honoring the complex, multiple particularities that form each student’s unique self-understanding. We seek to provide our students with the discernment and freedom to fashion themselves as they explore how they are and are not defined by their talents, handicaps, physical features, race, gender, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, religion, ethnicity, family composition, cultural background, or any other particularities of their life narratives. This is the broad understanding of diversity that directs our diversity efforts.
Second, we want students’ journey towards self-understanding to be complemented by an intensifying attentiveness to and concern for others, seen daily in kindness to classmates, service to our community, and an understanding of education as preparation for courageous citizenship.
As it relates to diversity, our attentiveness to and concern for others is reflected in four important commitments:
1. As a community, we value pluralism, celebrating the dignity of every individual and the diversity of human communities.
2. We seek to nourish empathetic understanding of others, recognizing that an understanding of differences is the first step in identifying the shared values that bridge cultural, social, political and religious differences.
3. We are committed to what I call “perspectivism,” an understanding that any individual’s perspective on the world is both empowering and limiting, and needs to be both explored carefully and complemented by empathetic, imaginative exploration of others’ perspectives.
4. Recognizing that a commitment to human dignity requires, when necessary, informed activism, we seek opportunities to act on behalf of social justice, human rights, and the dignity of every individual.
In short, at a school located in the heart of the world’s greatest cosmopolis, we’re educating cosmopolitans, self-aware citizens of the globe, eager to learn from and care for others, near and far.
This is our understanding of diversity and the even larger purposes our diversity serves and supports.
Head of School