Equity & Inclusion
We honor the uniqueness of each individual and embrace diverse backgrounds, values and points of view to build a strong, inclusive community and to prepare students for lives in a multicultural society.
- Urban Core Value #3
Since our founding in 1966, diversity, inclusion, equity and access have been critical elements of Urban School’s mission and core values as we seek to create a community that reflects our city, state and our future world. We believe the best education occurs in a school made up of students, faculty/staff and families drawn from many different socioeconomic backgrounds, cultures, races, religions and sexual orientations. The school has a larger public purpose to educate students who have been historically under-represented in independent schools.
Urban's Equity and Inclusion Program is anchored by four required courses taught in the Service Learning Department, which allow students to learn about their own personal identities, heritage and family narrative, as well as social systems of power and relationships between the individual and society. Each student is offered the opportunity to engage in optional programming that engages them further in developing their sense of connection to the world around them. Students are offered a range of affinity groups to help them during their time at Urban, and each group is run by elected and/or trained student leaders and faculty mentors. We also have an active parent/guardian organization, P-IDEAS, that meets monthly.
Month of Understanding is an annual tradition that occurs each January. Members of the MultiCulti Leadership team organize, coordinate and facilitate a month of panels, films, speakers and forums for the entire community. MOU is a special opportunity for student leaders to guide their peers in discussion of important issues. Previous MOU speakers include W. Kamau Bell, Alicia Garza, Tirien Steinbach, Chinaka Hodge, Ashanti Branch, Joe Kye and Colin Kimzey. Recent forum examples include: Immigration Panel with Speakers from Iran, Vietnam, El Salvador and Syria; The Story of Queer Representation in the Media; Exploring and Deconstructing: The Model Minority Myth; Health, Body Positivity, and Community; What It’s Like to be at Urban With a Learning Difference; and White Teachers Talk about Being White.
MultiCulti Leadership Team is composed of more than 25 elected student leaders that partner with the Dean of Equity & Inclusion and the Service Learning department chair to lead student affinity spaces, coordinate forums, and organize a range of events during the years. MultiCulti meets once a week and trains students in a range of activities that include public speaking, identity development, event planning and 1:1 communication.
While the work of diversity and equity in our community has always been a part of the mission of Urban, we aim to build on this commitment, and by so doing, create a truly inclusive school – one where students and adults are welcomed and supported, and where their faces, voices and experiences are reflected and valued. We believe that the work of inclusion is a responsibility held by all and done for all, person to person.
Urban Student Affinity and Ally Groups
- American-Born Confused Desis (ABCD)
- Asian/Pacific Islander Group (API)
- Black Student Union (BSU)
- Gender-Sexuality Alliance (GSA)
- Middle Eastern/North African Students Group (MENA)
- Multi-Racial/Multi-Ethnic Students Group (MESH)
- Students of Color (SOC)
- Jew Crew
- Financial Aid and Socio-Economic Status (FASES)
- Learning Difference (LD)
- Students for Women's Equality and Rights (SWEAR)
- Antiracist White Privilege Awareness (AWPA)
- Young Men's Group (YMG)
P-IDEAS is a parent/guardian-organized affinity space that seeks to provide mutual support to the parent community around issues of inclusion and equity including (but not limited to) racial, economic, ability, sexuality and gender diversity. P-IDEAS aims to engage the entire parent community in respectful dialogue, lively activities and insightful forums around these issues, with our ultimate goal being to support the school's commitment to inclusion.