About Spence

Diversity and Equity

Our community’s strength and our mission of “lifelong transformation of self and the world” are predicated on equity of voice in regard to race, gender, ethnicity, religion and socioeconomic diversity and on the belief that a privileged education such as ours requires an active commitment to our larger community. Our abiding focus on identity, voice and confidence allows our young scholars to meet the complex challenges of today and to frame the ones of tomorrow. Essential to our enterprise is the understanding that meaningful and nuanced perspectives and multiple points of view fuel academic excellence: neither the world nor our School is single or static.

At Spence, we commit to...

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  • Trustee Statement

    We commit to making Spence an inclusive, equitable and multi-identity community in which each student will build intellectual and moral capacity, not only for school but also for life. Spence young women enter the world as excellent scholars and engaged citizens, able to bridge differences and diverse points of view to meet the complex challenges of a changing world. Spence is an environment that embraces differences, honors identity and values full membership and belonging for all.

    Guided by our Community Standards, we stand up against exclusion, bias, racism and prejudice in all forms. While deepening our understanding and appreciation of a diverse community, we recognize the ongoing opportunities and the challenges inherent in learning from one another. Together, we find power and joy in working collaboratively to ensure that Spence is a place of ethical stance and substance, a place in which students, parents, faculty and administration cultivate personal integrity in service to the collective values of respect and trust.

Have Questions?

Reach out to MarQuis Chappell, Director of Institutional Equity

Civil Discourse Statement

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  • At Spence we value…

    True education includes learning how to honor differences and entering into conversations with curiosity and a truly open mind. Our Student Equity Council students have worked collaboratively with each other, the faculty and administration, and have succeeded in centering respect for each other and creating a caring, open and honest atmosphere in which to grapple with issues and learn together. These are crucial skills that will serve them well outside the Red Doors. Learn more about our Civil Discourse Statement.
Created by Upper School Student Council and Upper School Equity Council

Defining Diversity and Equity

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  • Diversity

    Diversity is the representation of all our varied personal and social identities, including race, ethnicity, religion, gender, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, tribe, caste, socio-economic status, thinking, and communication styles. We seek to proactively engage a variety of perspectives to collaboratively identify solutions to the problems we hope to address, individually and collectively.
  • Equity

    Equity seeks to ensure fair treatment, equality of opportunity, and fairness in access to information and resources for all. We believe this is only possible in an environment that centers respect, dignity, and reflective practice.


“We have all grown in courage, competence and maturity, while celebrating our differences in religion, skin tone, who and what we love, socioeconomic status and political views. We have shown that we can operate in unity, which is not the same as uniformity nor unanimity. We don’t all have to sing the same note—like a choir, we are called to sing many notes in harmony, which allows us each to contribute our unique tones to create something beautiful.”

Community Standards

Understanding that good, strong community can never be accidental, The Spence School asks every member within its fold to meet the high standards necessary for effective citizenship and valued humanity. We are committed to an inclusive and equitable school, and we will continue to marshal our community to stand up against exclusion, bias, racism and prejudice in all forms. Beyond any calculus of rules, Spence strives, always and in all ways, to be a place of ethical stance and substance, a place in which students, parents, faculty and administration cultivate personal integrity in service to the collective values of respect and trust. 

This we believe for school and for life. This allegiance has at its core a partnership of engagement, education and responsibility, all held in balance for that significant relationship between life and learning. Recognizing that mistakes can sometimes be our most vibrant lessons, we also understand that clear and deliberate expectations go hand-in-hand with meaningful consequences. With trust as our pilot and respect as our goal, Spence thrives and is dependent upon our collective commitment to moral leadership.

In Our Community

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  • Students

    Leadership opportunities include the Upper School Student Equity Council that works to build strong connections between the student body and the administration and to ensure that all students and adults feel a full sense of belonging and affirmation at Spence.

    Student-led affinity, identity groups and clubs include
    • Afro-Latina Alliance at Spence (ALAS) 
    • Asian Affinity
    • Banana Splits (a group for students from separated or divorced families) 
    • Diversity of Thought/Spence Initiatives for Diversity 
    • Gender Sexuality Alliance (GSA) 
    • Jewish Culture Club (JCC) 
    • Let’s Erase the Stigma (LETS) 
    • Middle Eastern, Northern African, and Muslim students (MENA)
    • Multiracial Affinity 
    • Spence Alliance for Hispanic/Latinx Student Affairs (SAHLSA) 
    • Spence Multicultural Awareness Coalition (SMAC) 
    • Spence Women’s Action Network (SWAN) 
  • Faculty

    Faculty and staff participate in our Colleagues of Color Affinity (CoC) and the White Anti-Racist Affinity (WARA) groups, which offer affinity spaces for personal and professional reflection and learning. 

    Spence employees themselves take initiative to learn more, and sign up for opportunities including but not limited to the following:
    • National Summit for Courageous Conversations
    • NYSAIS Diversity Conferences (NY State Association of Independent Schools)
    • GLSEN (Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network) 
    • NYSAIS Diversity Regional Meetings 
    • SEED (Seeking Educational Equity and Diversity)
    • Border Crossers, the White Privilege Conference
    • PoCC (People of Color Conference) 
    • Gender Spectrum Trainings
  • Parents

    • Parents and Guardians of Children of Color (PGCC), an affinity group for families with children of color at Spence, provides a venue for support and helps parents develop strategies for greater self-advocacy. 
    • Tapestry, a multicultural committee of the Parents’ Association, has a mission to cultivate a more deeply connected family community—one that promotes understanding, respect and the inclusion of all individuals by valuing their differences.
    • Somos Hispanic and Latinx Unidos 
    • Black Spence Network 
    • Asian Affinity
    • B'Yachad: Jewish Families at Spence
  • Alumnae

    The Alumnae Association’s Diversity Committee sponsors events and discussions for students, parents and alumnae, working to increase alumnae participation as mentors, role models and resources

The Spence School Non-Discrimination Policy

The Spence School adheres to a long-standing policy of admitting students of any race, color, religion, sexual orientation and national and ethnic origin to all the rights, privileges, programs and activities generally accorded or made available to students at the School. It does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sexual orientation or national or ethnic origin in the administration of its educational policies, admission policies, scholarship or athletic and other school-administered programs. 


Faculty of Color

Students of Color: 50%

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  • 46%

    Lower School
  • 47%

    Middle School
  • 58%

    Upper School


Student Identity/Affinity Groups

Spence Students Come From

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  • Manhattan | Brooklyn

  • Queens | The Bronx

  • Long Island

  • NY State Region

  • New Jersey

  • Connecticut

A K-12 independent school in New York city, The Spence School prepares a diverse community of girls and young women for the demands of academic excellence and responsible citizenship.


© 2023 Spence School