Diversity & Inclusion
Catlin Gabel is committed to and values community-wide diversity and inclusion. Our community values all kinds of diversity, including all races, religions, genders, sexual orientations, ages, languages, abilities, and more.
Our community members come from a variety of neighborhoods and countries of origin, and our families make up a variety of family structures and hold a variety of political beliefs. We draw families from all parts of the greater Portland metro area and they travel to Catlin Gabel by car, school bus, carpool, mass transit, bicycle, and on foot. We value the diversity of our students, families, faculty, and staff, and believe that this type of diversity is essential to student success as students learn best in an atmosphere where multiple perspectives are upheld.
As students come to Catlin Gabel to learn about themselves, the world, and their place in it, an excellent 21st century education requires them to engage with classmates from many walks of life so that they have endless opportunities to think critically, ask questions, challenge assumptions, and collaborate with many different kinds of people. To that end we actively work to create inclusive classrooms and community spaces and we encourage our students to engage in the greater Portland community in a reciprocal fashion. All faculty and staff participate in annual and on-going training to ensure that they are culturally competent and responsive. Countless opportunities are extended to students to increase their own cultural responsivity and competence.
Student leaders play a central role in creating inclusive community at Catlin Gabel and are considered the leaders in these efforts. Clubs and affinity groups provide a structure for student leaders to share ideas with peers and to coordinate endeavors.
We have affinity groups in our Lower, Middle, and Upper Schools along with ample opportunities to have conversations about inclusion and diversity.
We understand that diversity goes well beyond race so our students are exposed to the concept of Intersectionality, understanding that all people have facets of identity that give them power in this society and all people may have facets of their identity that may take that power away.
- Important Definitions
- Diversity and Inclusion Committee (DAC)
- Board Inclusion and Diversity Committee
- Parent/Guardian Affinity Groups
- Upper School Student Affinity Groups
- Middle School Student Affinity Groups
- Lower School Affinity Groups
- IONS: In Our Neighbors' Shoes
- Nondiscrimination Policy
- CULTURAL COMPETENCY: Practicing an ongoing awareness of one’s own identity and biases, and taking action to learn and honor the varying cultural and community norms of students and their families
- DIVERSITY: The range of differences represented in our community.
- EQUITY: Everyone getting what they need in order to have access, opportunities, and a fair chance to succeed.
- INCLUSION: Active engagement that supports every individual’s identity and sense of belonging.
- MULTICULTURALISM: The practice of promoting the respectful coexistence of diverse cultures.
The Diversity Action Council (DAC) at Catlin Gabel serves as a representative body of students, employees, board members, and parents who help create an inclusive community in an active way. This group is facilitated by the Director of Equity and Outreach and with the support of school leadership, coordinates professional development and community events which foster forward-thinking conversations where community members to come together and learn from multiple perspectives.
Every year DAC chooses a different theme to explore. In 2015-2016 the theme was identity, and in the 2016-2017 school year DAC will be examining the ways socioeconomic class operates at Catlin Gabel.
DAC is also responsible for running the Viewfinder Series — a community movie event that happens several times a year. Movies are chosen to reflect the theme of DAC each year. Three movies are shown simultaneously to address the needs of multiple age groups and so that there is something for every member of each family. Viewfinder events are well-attended and free to the Catlin Gabel community.
The Catlin Gabel Board Inclusion and Diversity Committee is a standing committee that ensures that the board has in place policies and procedures that lead to increased diversity in student enrollment, faculty and staff, administration, the board, and parent leadership, and promotes inclusion and equity in the school community and beyond.
We believe in being a diverse and inclusive school because:
- Diverse perspectives, backgrounds, and voices in the classroom and on campus lead to stronger critical thinking, communication skills, and educational excellence.
- Our graduates need to be equipped with cultural knowledge, cultural competence skills, and diverse interpersonal experiences to be successful in the 21st century.
- Research demonstrates that diverse teams and communities are more productive and effective in solving problems and creating ideas that have value.
- Our school philosophy calls on us to serve a "cross section of American life" and our mission requires us to "value each person" and "celebrate being inclusive."
The Catlin Gabel Board Inclusion and Diversity Committee will:
- Recommend strategic diversity and inclusion priorities and policies.
- Help the administration, faculty, and PFA to determine goals and support those goals with visible leadership and adequate resources.
- Work with the administration and PFA to ensure that all families and employees feel that the school community is safe and inclusive and welcomes and respects their unique contributions.
- Partner with the Committee for Trustees to ensure that the board membership represents the diversity of the Catlin Gabel and Portland communities.
- Educate, inform, and train the board about inclusion and diversity topics.
- Identify and implement inclusion and diversity best practices.
- Develop metrics to analyze outcomes related to inclusion and diversity goals.
The Committee will meet approximately 4 times per school year and report periodically to the full board. The committee will include 8 –12 members from various school constituencies. Members may include:
- Head of School
- CG Director of Equity and Outreach
- PFA Inclusivity Coordinator
- CGSA (Catlin Gabel Student Association) President or CGSA Inclusivity Coordinator and other students deemed necessary
- Non-Trustee Parents/Alumni/Community Members
- Faculty-Staff Forum President
Catlin Gabel supports affinity groups for parents/guardians and students. Parent/Guardian affinity groups were introduced with the goal of creating spaces for parents/guardians who can speak from the I-perspective about a particular identity and/or who have children who can speak from the I-perspective about the group’s focus. Affinity groups are safe spaces to meet, connect, speak openly, and share feedback that might improve a family’s experience in the Catlin Gabel community. Any parent can create an affinity group to build connection within our community.
Examples of parent/guardian affinity groups that have been active are listed below but may change with interest or need:
- Asian American Affinity Group
- Black and Biracial Affinity Group
- FCLC (Families with Children with Learning Challenges) Affinity Group
- International Family Affinity Group
- Latino Affinity Group
- MAG (Multicultural Affinity Group)
Upper School student affinity groups are student-initiated and student-run and have proven a positive vehicle for creating authentic connections. Affinity groups may be started by any Upper School student and may change with interest or need. Groups in the 2018-19 school year included:
- Multi Culti
- Interfaith Affinity Group
- Conservative Affinity
- Desi Affinity
- Secular Humanist Affinity Group
- Middle Eastern Affinity (MEA)
- Asian Affinity
- RoyGBiv Affinity
- Latinx Affinity
- Jewish Affinity
Middle School student affinity groups are student-initiated and student-run and have proven a positive vehicle for creating authentic connections. Affinity groups may be started by any Middle School student and may change with interest or need. Groups in the 2018-19 school year included:
- Middle School Diversity Squad
- People of Color
- Female Affinity
- SAFE (LGBTQIA+ and allies)
Lower School student affinity groups are student-initiated and student-run and have proven a positive vehicle for creating authentic connections. Affinity groups may be started by any Lower School student and may change with interest or need. Groups in the 2018-19 school year included:
Asian American Affinity
Identity Burrito (LGBTQIA+)
Students with Learning Challenges
Catlin Gabel runs a monthly discussion group, IONS (In Our Neighbors' Shoes), to allow our adult community to come together and learn from each other, forging connections with people different from themselves. IONS discussions may also focus on current affairs, social justice issues, or simply sharing stories.
Catlin Gabel does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, disability, national or ethnic origin, veteran status, genetic information, or any other status protected under local, state or federal laws in admission of otherwise qualified students or in providing access to the rights, privileges, programs, or activities generally available to all students and their families, including educational policies, scholarship and other financial aid programs, or athletic, extra-curricular, and other school-administered programs and activities. Similarly, Catlin Gabel does not discriminate in hiring or employment practices on the basis of race, color, religion, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, disability, national or ethnic origin, veteran status, genetic information, or other protected status under local, state or federal equal employment opportunity laws and regulations.
You are encouraged to bring questions or concerns about any type of discrimination to the attention of the director of human resources or head of school. You can raise concerns and make reports in good faith without fear of reprisal. All reports of discrimination will be investigated promptly in as confidential a manner as possible.
Come Visit Us
We encourage you to visit campus early in your exploration process. Registration is available via the admission portal September through early February.