Diversity & Inclusion
Imperative #1: Increase and retain diversity among the student body and staff to offer “windows and mirrors” for all constituents.
Imperative #2: Enhance the Montessori curriculum to provide authentic, global lessons and experiences that will develop cultural competence among all NNM students.
- NNM Strategic Plan 2015-2020
At the heart of Montessori philosophy is the belief that every child is an individual with specific needs, identities, talents and backgrounds. It is with this philosophy in mind that the Near North community strives to center diversity, inclusion and equity.
Windows and Mirrors
At NNM, windows are moments that allow us to understand and acknowledge the realities of other’s experiences. We interact with people who are different from ourselves, allowing us to explore beyond our own experiences. In a sense, we encourage students to be cultural investigators. Mirrors are moments in which we see our own lives, experiences, identities and culture reflected back to us.
On a continuum from 0-6 to 12-14, our goal is to embed anti-biased and anti-racist practice and pedagogy in each classroom, with the goal of nurturing culturally competent women and men that will contribute to society in a meaningful and transformative way.
We know that we cannot do this work alone in classrooms. All members of our community are expected to practice intentionality - how can we live out diversity, equity and inclusion as core values? This work does not end with the Near North being a school that “values diversity.” Rather, that is just the first step in a robust, ongoing home-school partnership that requires parental commitment and engagement in self-reflection, acknowledging implicit biases and blind spots, modeling anti-racism in your family life, and initiating and responding to courageous conversations with your children.
NNM supports parents in this necessary work through affinity groups, guest speakers, parent education opportunities, film screenings, shared resources, and other opportunities.
2018-2019 School-wide Demographics
NNM Racial Diversity:
- Asian: 10%
- Asian Biracial: 11%
- Black: 6%
- Black Biracial: 5%
- Latinx: 6%
- Latinx Biracial: 10%
- Multi-racial: 2%
- Middle Eastern: 2%
- White: 47%
Diversity, in its most simple form, means difference. At NNM, diversity includes race, ethnicity, religion, family composition, family traditions, sexual identity, gender expression, ability, and socioeconomic status. NNM acknowledges and celebrates our differences through events like the Festival of Lights and parent programming like the SEED Project, and AWARE (Alliance of White Anti-Racists Everywhere) where we demonstrate a willingness to learn from, and about ourselves and one another.
All NNM parents are also invited to participate in Diversity & Inclusion Committee meetings. This committee is a parent education opportunity where parents build community and strengthen their skill set and understanding around relevant topics such as how to talk to your children about racism and sexism, how to respond to biased language, and supporting positive racial identity development from early childhood through adolescence. The Co-Chairs of the Diversity & Inclusion Committee are Jeanette Schar and Frédéric Boyer.
Parent Affinity Groups
- Families with Learning, Socio-Emotional, and Physical Differences - Chair TBD
- Mocha Montessori - Asha Sutton, Clothilde Ewing, Aisha Carey
- South Asian Families - Puja Singh Patel
All of Chicago in One Place
Near North families come from across the city and suburbs, including the following neighborhoods:
Bucktown, Wicker Park, Logan Square, Humboldt Park, West Town, Lincoln Park, Old Irving, Horner Park, Jefferson Park, Norwood Park, Pilsen/Little Village, Beverly, Bridgeport, Austin, Garfield Ridge, Chatham, Near South/West Side, Lakeview, North Center, River North, Gold Coast, Old Town, Lincoln Square, Ukrainian Village, and Suburbs.