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.

Approved December 17, 2019

Highlights of Our Ongoing Work

  • Work on K-12 teaching:  Even highly experienced teachers can strengthen their skills in the classroom for making all students feel a deep sense of belonging. The K-12 teachers have been developing a list of research-based equity competencies, such as active listening and cultural humility, that will guide our teaching practice. Recognizing the need for a common language, our K-12 Instructional Coaches—Edith Starr, Camar Robinson and Aletha Haynes—have been spearheading this collective effort with support from the Director of Teaching and Learning, Eric Zahler, and the Director of Institutional Equity, Rebecca Hong.

  • Building the Tracks for the Anti-Racism Task Force report: The Administrative team held a  day-long retreat to “build the tracks” for the School’s work ahead in implementing the Anti-Racism Report that was adopted by the Trustees in January. The day, led by  Head of School Bodie Brizendine and Director of Institutional Equity Rebecca Hong helped set the Admin Team’s collective priorities and shared responsibility. K-12 Bias Response protocols new this year: The School has launched a process for addressing bias incidents, called the K-12 Bias Response, developing clear protocols for the student handbooks in all three divisions. The newest part of that structure is the establishment of a group of teachers who will be part of the process, called the K-12 Bias Response Corps, who are trained in values-based approaches to bias response. The ongoing process has so far been highly effective in creating predictability, accountability, and careful process and tracking of bias incidents in our community.

  • The Office of Institutional Equity celebrates new partnerships in our work, including: 
      • Renée Chung, Associate Director of Admissions and Financial Aid, has joined the Office of Institutional Equity as Dean of Parent and Student Inclusion and Belonging.
      • PA President Stacey St. Rose and incoming Vice President of Community Life and Engagement Lauren Wiggins will work with our Renée Chung  to continue to guide Tapestry and Parents and Guardians of Children of Color (PGCC). 
      • The Office is working with the strong team of K-12 Instructional Coaches: Edith Starr (Upper School), Camar Robinson (Middle School) and Aletha Haynes (Lower School) to develop our school-wide teaching competencies.

  • The entire Spence community has been invited to join Upper School students, faculty and staff, in our Community ReadHow to be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi.

Insights

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  • 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.

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  • What we mean by Equity, Diversity and Inclusion

    Diversity is the representation of all our varied identities and differences (race, ethnicity, gender, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, tribe, caste, socio-economic status, thinking and communication styles, etc.), collectively and as individuals. We seek to proactively engage, understand, and draw on a variety of perspectives. We believe that the solution to the problems we hope to address...can be found by affirming our similarities, as well as by finding value in our differences.

    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 built on respect and dignity.

    Inclusion builds a culture of belonging by actively inviting the contribution and participation of all people. We believe every person’s voice adds value, and we strive to create balance in the face of power differences. We believe that no one person can or should be called upon to represent an entire community.

    Source: Ford Foundation

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  • Enrollment Factsheet

    Total Students: 755
    Students of color: 44%
    Lower School - 42%
    Middle School - 45%
    Upper School - 45%
     
    Total Employees: 225
    Full-time - 199 Part-time - 26
    71% Female 29% Male
    43% Employees of color
     
    Geographic representation of students:
    Manhattan - 663
    Brooklyn - 28
    Queens - 24
    Bronx - 15
    New Jersey - 12
    NY State region - 8
    Long Island - 3
    Connecticut - 1
    Staten Island - 1

    Percent of student body receiving aid: 18.8%
    Number of pre-K schools represented: 29
    Number of MS/US schools represented: 25

ABOUT US section

Recent Communications

  • Statement from Bodie Brizendine on the Chauvin Trial Verdict (April 21) Read Here
  • A Message from Bodie Brizendine About Racial Violence Against Asians (March 17) Read Here 
  • Anti-Racism Task Force Updates (January 28) Read Here
  • Anti-Racism Task Force Updates (December 8) Read Here
  • Anti-Racism Task Force Updates (September 14) Read Here; also see this link from the update about Spence's response to the BlackSpenceSpeaks June 15 petition
  • Anti-Racism Task Force Updates (July 10) Read Here
  • Announcement by Board of Trustees about the wallpaper (June 26) Read Here
  • Head of School's Letter About Anti-Racism Task Force Statement of Purpose (June 19) Read Here