About Us

Equity & Inclusion

At Harford Day School, we believe that diversity, equity, and inclusion are essential components of academic excellence.  Diversity of cultures and lived experiences strengthens and enriches our community.  Through sharing our life experiences, we see others’ perspectives and are able to develop empathy and compassion for those around us.  We are committed to honoring the dignity and worth of one another and celebrating each person’s uniqueness.  

As educators, we have been given this extraordinary gift and responsibility to prepare our students for both the world as it is now and what it may become in the future.  To do this effectively, we work closely with our students to help them develop the skills necessary to communicate and act across differences -- an essential skill for thriving in modern society, and a promise aligned with our school’s mission. 
Commitment to Equity and Inclusion

In November of 2020, our Board of Trustees unanimously adopted a statement to encapsulate our  commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion: 

At Harford Day School, we believe that diversity is an indispensable component of educational excellence. Harford Day School expects all community members to honor the dignity and worth in each of us through our words and deeds. We hold ourselves accountable to the consistent demonstration of respect, without regard to race, ethnicity, age, national origin, culture, religion, family structure, sexual identity, financial resources, or ability. 

We aspire to make all in our community feel valued and safe.  Therefore,
  1. We commit to respecting human diversity, and diversity of ideas, thoughts, and perspectives.
  2. We commit to creating a culturally responsive curriculum that understands, accepts, and celebrates cultural diversity.
  3. We commit to continuously re-evaluating our curricula, decision-making, policies, and practices to ensure they are inclusive.
  4. We commit to further diversifying our student body, faculty, administration, and board to reflect that of our school community and the changing demographics of our country.
As an accredited member of the  Association of Independent Maryland and DC Schools (AIMS) and a member of the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS), we follow established guidelines and best practices for equity and inclusion in our school. AIMS and NAIS have articulated these expectations in the following statements: 

Diversity and Independent Schools, Association of Independent Maryland and DC Schools (AIMS)

Principles of Good Practice for Equity and Justice, National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS)
 
At Harford Day School, we aspire to make every student feel seen, heard, and valued.  We strive to give students opportunities and safe spaces to share their personal experiences, thus allowing all of us to celebrate our uniqueness and further our understanding and empathy for others. 
 
As Director of Equity and Inclusion, my goal is to support all of our students as they mature into confident and empathic adults. To ensure that development, as well as each child's sense of belonging within the HDS community, I provide resources and counsel to faculty members and staff; as a team, we strive for an inclusive environment, one based upon teaching and learning that honors and enriches each of our students.
    • LaFreda Smith

      Director of Equity and Inclusion

We use the following operating definitions by NAIS as our guide.

Diversity
The concept of diversity embraces the wide range of human characteristics used to mark or identify individual and group identities. These characteristics include, but are not limited to, ethnicity, race, national origin, age, personality, sexual orientation, gender, class, religion, ability, and linguistic preferences. Diversity is a term used as shorthand for visible and quantifiable statuses, but diversity of thought and ways of knowing, being, and doing are also understood as natural, valued, and desired states, the presence of which benefit organizations, workplaces, and society.

Equity
Equity exists as a condition that balances two dimensions: fairness and inclusion. As a function of fairness, equity implies ensuring that people have what they need to participate in school life and reach their full potential. Equitable treatment involves eliminating barriers that prevent the full participation of all individuals.  As a function of inclusion, equity ensures that essential educational programs, services, activities, and technologies are accessible to all.  Equity is not equality; it is the expression of justice, ethics, multi-partiality, and the absence of discrimination.  Examples of equity displayed in schools include accommodating students’ learning differences, and providing financial aid.  

Inclusivity/Inclusiveness
Inclusiveness means encompassing all; taking every individual’s experience and identity into account and creating conditions where all feel accepted, safe, empowered, supported, and affirmed. An inclusive school or organization expands its sense of community to include all; cultivating belonging and giving all an equal voice. Inclusivity also promotes and enacts the sharing of power and recognition of interdependence, where authorizing individuals and community members share responsibility for expressing core values and maintaining respect for differences in the spirit of care and cooperation. 
Harford Day is the only PK3 to Grade 8 independent school in Harford County accredited by AIMS (Association of Independent Maryland/DC Schools) and a member of NAIS (National Association of Independent Schools).