Spotlight on DEI in Upper School Classrooms

In Josh Berberian’s Statistics course, students have been using some lessons from Skew the Script, which according to their website is “A curriculum that explores relevant data in social issues, economics, politics, medicine, sports, and more.” Students looked at the ethics of incorrectly rejecting a true claim (Type I error) and incorrectly accepting a false claim (Type II error) in the context of whether the government should supply bottled water if a community might be exposed to water contamination. We also investigated the gender equity of promotion in the NYPD using chi-squared tests. 

Modern Languages
In Maria Antoine’s Spanish VH class, seniors are doing their final presentations. Some of the topics address the following topics and their impact on personal, social, and collective identities: inequity in the access to healthy food, quality education, and the gender gap between males and females in the workforce stemming from the gender stereotypes imposed on females since early in their educational journeys (three of the 17 sustainable goals established by the United Nations). 

In Maria Antoine’s Spanish IIIH class, students have been learning about what Human Rights are. They are currently researching Human Rights in Hispanic countries such as Cuba, Venezuela, Perú or Argentina. They will then do a news report in class to present their findings to their classmates and discuss to what extent countries violate or respect human rights across the globe and compare these countries with the US.

May is Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage month in the U.S., and Kristin Shipler’s Spanish students plan to extend that celebration to highlight the presence of Asian heritage folks in Latin America. There is a diasporic presence throughout the Americas, with influence felt in politics, entertainment, and culture in just about every country. 

In Debbie Hoops’ French V/VH class, students have studied the question of identity throughout the year, most recently as it relates to immigration and the status of immigrants in France. Students just finished reading a short novel Kiffe Kiffe Demain about the struggles of Algerian immigrants in Paris through the voice of a wickedly funny teenage narrator who describes her day-to-day life surrounded by poverty, racism, and misogyny. For their final project, students are writing a screenplay of the book and filming it in the style of New Wave cinema, popular in the ’60’s.

In Hung-Chun Liu’s US Mandarin III honor students just completed "the contemporary issues of China" project. Two of the students wrote essays about "Coronavirus and Hate Crimes."

U.S. History Honors engaged in a Harkness discussion weighing the first half of FDR’s presidency, including his civil rights record regarding African-Americans, women, and Native Americans. In May, they will spend most of a unit on the Civil Rights questions of the 1950s and 1960s culminating in a Harkness discussion based on primary sources from MLK, Malcolm X, Stokely Carmichael, and the Black Panther Party. Topics of the last unit of the year will include LGBTQ rights, the American Indian Movement, and women’s rights. 

Students in History 9 are writing their second research paper on the impact of European contact and imperialism on their assigned African or American tribe. They will finish the year looking at the rise of the international slave trade and evolving definitions of race. 

Students in Modern European History are currently working on Cold War-era presentations. They are examining Soviet actions in Berlin, Cuba, Hungary, and Czechoslovakia in context of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. 

American Studies students recently wrote short essays on Japanese internment and discussed the #StopAsianHate movement. One student reflected: “Through the experience of being trapped in an internment camp Kochiyama was forced to face the history of repression and racism in America and give up her former ideals. After Kochiyama was released she was unable to hold a job and floated from place to place unable to find a place in the country where she belonged. She was able to see the similarities between the repression of the Japanese people and many other ethnicities throughout history and realized the American dream was only for the privileged: ‘Americans have always been putting people behind walls’ (Kochiyama 363). The Japanese internment camps revealed America’s true values to Kochiyama and helped her discover her identity outside of her country.”


The Shipley School is a private, coeducational day school for pre-kindergarten through 12th grade students, located in Bryn Mawr, PA. Through our commitment to educational excellence, we develop within each student a love of learning and a desire for compassionate participation in the world.