Our Values and Beliefs

Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) are integral parts of the Rivers experience. We are committed to growing an intentionally diverse community in which every member—regardless of race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, or socio-economic background—feels welcome, safe, and respected. In building that community, we are guided by the following values and beliefs.

List of 6 items.

  • A sense of belonging

    While independent schools historically have been—and by definition are—exclusive places, Rivers is committed to creating an environment that ensures every individual feels a sense of belonging and ownership. At Rivers, we value the inherent dignity of every individual, and we encourage all members of our community to be their authentic selves.
  • Engaging across differences

    Rivers believes the best educational environment is one that brings together people with different backgrounds, cultures, world views, and life experiences so that they can learn from one another. We strive to develop an appreciation for and understanding of our similarities and our differences. When we engage in this work, we rely on these Community Norms to guide our conversations.
  • Real world connections

    At Rivers, we believe students learn best when the subject matter is relevant to their lives. We also know that divisiveness in our country has given DEI work more urgency in recent years. Our students bear witness to this divisiveness every day, and many arrive in our classrooms eager and ready to talk about these issues. We believe in the importance of creating opportunities for students to ask hard questions, lean into uncomfortable conversations, and seek solutions to pressing, real world problems.
  • Critical awareness of self and systems

    The Rivers School’s mission is to graduate thoughtful, knowledgeable students who are prepared to go out into the world as informed and engaged citizens. In keeping with this goal, we believe students need opportunities to reflect on their own identities in relation to larger systems of equality and inequality. We also believe in the importance of educating our students about systems of advantage and disadvantage so that they feel empowered to challenge unjust practices and effect transformative change.
  • Shared responsibility

    At Rivers, we believe the work of diversity, equity, and inclusion is one of shared responsibility. It is incumbent on all of us to create the conditions to support a feeling of belonging, equality of opportunity, and fair processes across the institution. When all members of the community own their responsibility to the work of DEI, it leads to positive change and growth.
  • Accountability

    Rivers believes in the importance of individual and institutional accountability. We work to fulfill our commitments to diversity, equity, and inclusion, and when we fall short we do not shy away from meaningful consequences and hard decisions. The work of DEI is an ongoing process that requires us to continually acknowledge, evaluate, and address the ways in which our school can better meet the needs of every member of our community.

Living Our Values

Rivers recognizes that creating an intentionally diverse, equitable, and inclusive community takes more than good intentions. It is an ongoing process that requires conscious effort, meaningful action, and measurable outcomes. 

To become the institution we aspire to be, Rivers commits to the following actions:
  • Engaging our students in discussions about topics related to bias, prejudice, privilege, power, and systemic oppression. 
  • Listening to and amplifying student voice, especially the voices of students with marginalized identities on our campus.
  • Providing professional development opportunities for faculty and staff to grow their own DEI expertise and skills. 
  • Reviewing, adapting, and developing curriculum that both affirms and represents a broad range of perspectives with particular attention to those stories and events that have historically been excluded from the classroom. 
  • Writing and implementing policies that are sustainable, equitable, and inclusive while also examining past policies that have negatively impacted individuals and communities on our campus. 
  • Continuing to diversify our student body, faculty, and administration by bringing a DEI lens to our admissions and hiring practices.

Community Awareness and Engagement

At Rivers, we believe in the importance of allyship and self-education when it comes to issues related to bias, prejudice, and discrimination. To aid in that effort, we have developed a series of “Do Five Things” learning guides, a framework that allows us to respond to real world events and provide all members of our community with the opportunity to engage around these topics. 
When tackling these topics, we also believe that having a shared language provides greater clarity and more productive conversations. The documents below have been developed to help establish that shared language.

Gender Identity Policy

At Rivers, people of all genders belong in our community, including those individuals who identify as trangender, gender nonconforming, and/or nonbinary. Rivers has adopted a gender identity policy to ensure that every individual can bring their whole selves to school every day, which includes being able to express their gender identity.  Click here to read the full policy.

Recent News

List of 3 news stories.

  • Featured guest speaker and former Rivers Faculty Carol Davidson P ’02

    Rivers Honors Holocaust Remembrance Day with Stories of Survival

    In ongoing observance of Jewish-American heritage month in April, Rivers offered a reflection for Yom Hashoah, or Holocaust Remembrance Day, in an all-school assembly featuring guest speaker and former Rivers faculty Carol Davidson P ’02. Yom Hashoah is officially observed this year beginning at sundown on April 17 and ending with sundown on April 18, and compels us to remember the truth of the Holocaust through the stories of those who lived and perished.
    Read More
  • Brandon Brown, founder of School Yard Rap, addressed the Upper School in assembly.

    School Yard Rap Uplifts, Educates, and Inspires

    The Rivers School invited School Yard Rap founder Brandon “Griot B” Brown to an Upper School assembly this week to help retell Black history through a new lens. Brown, a former teacher, rapped through upbeat lessons and engaging illustrations that mirrored his words. The goal: to reframe Black history by leading students through the long list of outstanding contributions and achievements of minorities—including scientists, mathematicians, innovators, educators, founders, and musicians, among others.
    Read More
  • At Monday's all-school meeting, students performed a traditional Lunar New Year song, arranged by Adalia Wen '25.

    Lunar New Year: A Time of Reflection and Celebration

    The Lunar New Year, celebrated throughout Asia, began on January 22 this year, and Rivers marked the occasion with not one but two special events during the 15-day holiday. On Tuesday, January 24, the community enjoyed a festive evening of Chinese food, martial arts demonstrations, and dance performances. Then, at Monday’s all-school meeting, student members of the AAPI affinity group and Mandarin class members hosted a presentation that included a video and a special musical performance.
    Read More

Meet the DEI Team

List of 6 members.

  • Photo of Katie Henderson

    Katie Henderson 

    Acting Director of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion, English, 10th grade seminar
    University of Pennsylvania - MEd
    University of Pennsylvania - BA
  • Photo of tc Hanmer

    tc Hanmer 

    Upper School English, DEI Coordinator, Varsity Softball Coach, JV Basketball Coach
    Middlebury Bread Loaf School of English - MA
    Smith College - BA
  • Photo of Thomas Marks

    Thomas Marks 

    Choral Director, DEI Coordinator
    The City University of New York - Ph. D
    University of Missouri-Kansas City - MM
    University of Missouri-Kansas City - BM
  • Photo of Chantel Jordan

    Chantel Jordan 

    Mathematics; DEI Student Life; Varsity Girls Basketball Head Coach
    Cambridge College - MBA
    UMass/Boston - B.S.
  • Photo of Deborah Argueta

    Deborah Argueta 

    Student Life and DEI Assistant
  • Photo of Karin Narcisse Stafford

    Karin Narcisse Stafford 

    Director of Multicultural Outreach & Associate Director of Admissions
    College of the Holy Cross - BA
    University of Massachusetts - MEd

Other Helpful Links

From service learning to off-campus trips, diversity, equity, and inclusion are fundamental aspects of the Rivers experience. Learn more about that by clicking on the links below.