Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

DEI Mission Statement

The Rivers School believes that developing a sincere appreciation for and understanding of diverse perspectives, experiences, and identities is integral to achieving its broader mission of preparing students to lead and live in a world that “needs their talents, imagination, intellect, and compassion.” We embrace difference in its myriad forms, encourage every individual to be their authentic self, and value the inherent dignity of every member of our community. As we confront issues of injustice, prejudice, and bigotry in the world around us, we challenge all members of our community to engage in courageous conversations that require us to speak across difference of experiences and opinions, to examine our individual and collective privilege, to ask hard questions, and to seek solutions to complex global issues.

Our Values and Beliefs

Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) are integral parts of the Rivers experience. We are intentionally committed to growing a 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.

Our Approach

At Rivers, we seek to inspire curiosity and cultivate empathy in our students. We also want our students to develop into engaged citizens—young people who will stand up for themselves and one another, who will challenge all forms of prejudice and bigotry, and who will seek solutions to systemic problems of injustice.

Thus, we believe DEI skills are essential to upholding the school’s mission that aims to prepare our students to live and lead in a multicultural society. Some of the skills we strive to develop in our students include: 

  • Examining our own implicit biases and areas of privilege
  • Understanding the ways in which identity shapes one’s view of the world and one’s position in society
  • Using our community norms to foster authentic conversations, encourage risk-taking, and navigate conflict constructively
  • Engaging meaningfully across difference of opinion and perspective
  • Asking the kinds of questions that reveal complexity and nuance within any given topic
  • Understanding how systems of power shape history and our present reality
  • Interrupting microaggressions and other bias incidents

DEI Programming

Each year, the entire Rivers community engages around a DEI theme that challenges us to reflect on who we are and who we want to be—both as individuals and as an institution. This programming is integrated into the daily life of the school; it gives students regular opportunities to build new understandings, practice new language, and ask new questions. Student DEI programming is supported by professional development for faculty and staff and complemented by opportunities for parental education and involvement.

List of 4 items.

  • 2023-2024 Theme: 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. Building upon the successful implementation of our bias-incident protocol last year, our programming this year will focus on examining and strengthening our ability to curiously, courageously, and productively engage across our differences as we actively cultivate a caring, respectful, and collaborative environment.
  • 2022-2023 Theme: Rivers Stands Up—Confronting Bias to Build Community

    At the heart of this year’s theme is the implementation of our new bias-incident protocol, part of our continued efforts to create a safe and inclusive environment for all members of our community. Grounded in restorative practices, the protocol gives us new ways to build awareness, channel conflicts into learning opportunities, repair harm, and nurture the relationships that are at the core of who we are as a school. The year’s Rivers Stands Up programming, which centers the student voice, includes student-led workshops, guest speakers, professional development for faculty and staff, and opportunities for parents to engage.
  • 2021-2022 Theme: Gender—Beyond the Binary

    This year, our focus is on increasing gender literacy across the institution while also building more gender-inclusive practices and policies. This community experience includes student programming on the language and history of gender, along with a featured keynote speaker and student-led workshops.
  • 2020-2021 Theme: Finding Your Voice Around Race

    During the 2020-21 school year, we engaged in community-wide discussions about race. These sessions, which took place in racial affinity, were designed to raise our collective consciousness about how race continues to shape our society in ways that produce unequal outcomes for BIPOC communities.  At the conclusion of this programming, a majority of Rivers students reported feeling more confident in their understanding of racism and more able to interrupt racial bias incidents. 

    Going forward, we remain committed to applying an antiracist lens to our programs and processes, educating our community about all forms of racism, creating space for our students to speak out, and engaging in ongoing conversations about race. As we strive to become a more antiracist institution, we firmly believe that doing so enables us to better tackle all forms of prejudice, discrimination, and bigotry.

Student Groups

Our student DEI leaders are agents of change within our community. At Rivers, our students are encouraged to speak their truth, raise questions about current policies and practices, and organize for change.

List of 1 items.

  • Click here to read about some of our student groups.

    • BRIDGE (Building Real Intercultural Dialogue to Generate Engagement): In both divisions, BRIDGE is a student club dedicated to issues of social justice. These groups meet regularly to raise awareness in the community and to take action for social change. 
    • Gender and Sexuality Alliance (GSA): In the upper school, the GSA meets regularly to discuss LGBTQIA+ issues, with a focus on critical awareness, current events, and allyship.
    • Affinity Spaces: As spaces specifically designed to support students with marginalized identities at Rivers, these groups serve as places for healing, affirmation, and connection. Driven by student interest, we currently offer affinity spaces for students who identify as Black, Asian or Pacific Islander, multiracial, Latinx/Hispanic, Jewish, and LGBTQ+.
    • White Allies (WALLIES): In the upper school, the student-led white allies group is a place for self-reflection, education, allyship, accountability, and support.

Spotlight on Student Voice

At Rivers, our students are socially engaged and active. They regularly organize to speak out about issues of injustice—both at Rivers and in the world at large. T Sallie '21 created this video in observance of Transgender Remembrance Day.

Listen to last year's student affinity leaders talk about the purpose and importance of affinity within our community. Since this video was made, students have also organized to convene an LGBTQIA+ affinity space and a Jewish affinity space. 


List of 7 members.

  • Photo of Jenny Jun-lei Kravitz

    Jenny Jun-lei Kravitz 

    Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
  • Photo of Katie Henderson

    Katie Henderson 

    Associate Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, Upper School English
  • Photo of tc Hanmer

    tc Hanmer 

    Upper School English, DEI Coordinator, Assistant Varsity Softball Coach
  • Photo of Thomas Marks

    Thomas Marks 

    Choral Director, DEI Coordinator
  • Photo of Chantel Jordan

    Chantel Jordan 

    DEI Student Life; Mathematics; Varsity Girls Basketball Head Coach
  • Photo of Deborah Argueta

    Deborah Argueta 

    DEI and Student Life Assistant
  • Photo of Karin Narcisse Stafford

    Karin Narcisse Stafford 

    Director of Multicultural Outreach & Associate Director of Admission

Shared Language

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.

333 Winter Street Weston, MA 02493
P: 781.235.9300 F: 781.239.3614