Community Life, Equity & Belonging

Through community-wide participation, EMS strives to foster a diverse, equitable, and inclusive learning environment where everyone feels welcomed and celebrated.

Little School students smiling in the audience during Kindergarten Circus

We are proud to be one of the most diverse independent schools in the country and continually strive to ensure that all families feel welcomed at EMS from the moment they connect with our Admissions office. We embrace the diversity of our community and offer educational, celebratory, and social opportunities for families to broaden their positive understanding of diversity and the value it brings to children’s education.

Our Parents Association, which includes every parent and caregiver within the EMS community, is a partner in our efforts. Their Diversity, Equity & Inclusion committee, created in 2016, hosts educational events throughout the year, including the International Food Festival and the Cultural Fair.

EMS alumni are active participants in engaging prospective applicants from diverse communities and support financial aid, enabling EMS to support more students from various socioeconomic backgrounds.

Representation Matters at EMS

Geographic Diversity

Students from 55 different towns in New Jersey and New York.

Language Diversity

More than 20 languages spoken in addition to English.

Students of Color:

More than 58%

We gauge the impact of our DEIB efforts through community surveys, family “roundtables” conducted with support from the Parents Association, participation in cultural competency programming, and continuing professional development.

An example of this is our participation in the 2020 NAIS Assessment of Inclusivity and Multiculturalism, through which we examined our school’s climate around equity and inclusion and arrived at the following priority: To recruit, retain, and support employees and Trustees of the highest quality by recognizing the value of diversity. One way in which we do this is through the Rooney Rule — our job descriptions explicitly state that we desire diversity, and search firms understand that EMS seeks diverse candidates.

Little School students listen to their teacher during class.

An inclusive curriculum incorporating global perspectives

At EMS, our students learn through leadership and are eager to support initiatives they value. At all ages, students are encouraged to share their cultural traditions and celebrations with classmates, and they actively participate in peer-to-peer and teacher-led DEIB education initiatives. They also contribute during school-wide events; for example, our fourth-graders led a school-wide assembly focused on disability awareness. By the time students reach the middle school years (grades 5–8), they are able to further expand their DEIB participation through student-led groups and curricular choices focused on diversity, as well as a required Self and Society course.

As part of our 2018–2023 Strategic Plan, we have developed a global music initiative. We already have a robust music department, and music instruction reaches all students. Beginning in third grade, every student learns to play an instrument, and small group lessons are held several times weekly. Our orchestras perform classical and modern music and have opened for performers such as Yo-Yo Ma and Itzhak Perlman. Our music department looks for sources from non-European origins to play at our biannual concerts and is expanding the traditional selection of instruments played to include African drums and the didgeridoo.

Professional development and a diverse faculty

Diversity, equity, inclusivity, and belonging are incorporated into teaching and learning across subject areas, developmental stages, and divisions at EMS. We strive to maintain an inclusive curriculum in which all students can see themselves and offer programs and resources in support of developing global perspectives. Our faculty and staff continually challenge themselves, fellow educators, and our students to reflect on and evaluate their understanding of DEIB and the impact they have as individuals, teachers, and community members.

Faculty teams participate in professional development programs led by our Director of Community Life, Equity & Belonging, and attend outside workshops, presentations, and national conferences, such as the National Association of Independent Schools’ People of Color Conference, the Widening the Lens Conference, the New York State Association of Independent School Diversity Conference, NYSAIS Job Fair to Promote Diversity, NJAIS Job Fair to Promote Diversity, CARLE Institute for White Educators, and more. Conference attendees bring new insight and information back to EMS to share with the task force.

EMS prepares students for an impressive range of top-tier secondary schools.

Our students cultivate the ability to learn, think, explore, empathize, and lead. They graduate with the ability, mindset, and competencies to navigate a global world and are well-prepared to face an unknowable future.

Accustomed to a challenging academic environment, EMS students welcome the demands of competitive secondary schools and are often placed in advanced sections where they perform very well.


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