Our community at Spence is united by a commitment to helping young girls become young adult scholars through a vibrant K-12 program. In the Lower School, Spence girls begin their learning exploring their worlds through the anti-bias framework of identity, diversity, justice, and action. We encourage children to choose curiosity over judgment as they think about themselves and others. In Middle School, the work is centered on proactive positive identity development and community stewardship skills. Students examine differences among their individual experiences and explore those alongside social group histories. They practice standing up for what they believe is right, and they learn to support each other by asking good questions. In Upper School, students ask, What matters to me, what matters for us? They begin to find purpose and develop language to face the complex challenges and opportunities of justice. Their passions lead them beyond the school walls, and many take active roles in their communities.

Lower School

Who am I and who are we?

KINDERGARTEN How are we similar and different, both inside and out?

GRADE 1 What change-makers can be our guides in helping others and making positive change?

GRADE 2 What perspectives on New York City communities help us identify problems and consider solutions?

GRADE 3 Whose story are we hearing, and whose story are we telling?

GRADE 4 Where does positive change come from?

Middle School

What histories, social structures and knowledge shape me and my world?

GRADE 5 What shapes identity?

GRADE 6 How do our identities shape our interactions with individuals?

GRADE 7 How do communities treat individuals based on their identities?

GRADE 8 How does my identity shape my actions in my communities?

Upper School

How can an equity and social justice curriculum—self-knowledge, skills, and advocacy—help me find my purpose?
SELF-KNOWLEDGE What historical sources of inequity and injustice in the United States are based on race, gender, ethnicity, class and sexuality? What is my social group history, and what is my individual history? How are they different and how are they the same?

SKILLS What skills do I need to understand the world, what are those? How can I hone them? How can I learn critical skills of listening and speaking with people who don’t necessarily agree with me, and to consider people who have experiences, values or opinions that may be different from mine?

ADVOCACY What’s my responsibility given my positionality? What can I do, what should I do? What opportunities do I have to work actively for change, based on my studied understanding of power and privilege in the world?

ABOUT US section

Learning at Spence is fueled by what students and teachers from diverse backgrounds and experiences can learn from one another and together.
 —Bodie Brizendine, Head of School