Equity and Inclusion

Student Programs and Initiatives

A centerpiece of Newark Academy’s equity and inclusion work are initiatives and programs aimed at supporting the growth and development of our students. The Office of Equity and Inclusion develops and implements a number of programs and events independently, in collaboration with other offices, or in support of school-wide programs. Whether curricular, co-curricular, extra-curricular in nature our offerings support students in learning about themselves, learning with and from one another and practicing equity and inclusion leadership at Newark Academy and beyond.

Jacqueline '21 Explains How NA Inspires Integrity

Student Equity and Inclusion Leadership

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  • Diversity and Inclusion Ambassadors

    Diversity and Inclusion Ambassadors are a group of student leaders who have committed to act as ambassadors of the work of the Office of Equity and Inclusion at Newark Academy. Diversity and Inclusion Ambassadors serve as liaisons between the Office of Equity and Inclusion and its affiliated student organizations, actively participate in campus-wide diversity and inclusion events, and engage in off-campus conferences and student leadership development opportunities.
  • Upper School Equity and Inclusion Team

    The mission of Newark Academy’s Equity and Inclusion Team (EIT) is to promote diversity, equity and justice throughout the school community. The team is composed of student and faculty representatives in both Middle and Upper Schools who work to create new programs and expand existing ones in conjunction with the Academy’s strategic diversity initiatives. Students in the Upper School who are interested in becoming a member of EIT may apply during our application process which takes place in April of every year.

Student Equity and Inclusion Conferences

Each year, the office of Equity and Inclusion supports Newark Academy students in attending national and regional conferences aimed at helping them build connections with their peers, learn about themselves as student leaders, and develop skills that they bring back to Newark Academy. Some of these opportunities are outlined here.

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  • New Jersey Students of Color Conference

    NJSCC is an exciting opportunity, for students/by students, that offers a unique setting centered around the experiences of self-identified students of color. The inaugural conference was hosted at Newark Academy in May of 2019.
    In addition to the significant opportunities identified above, Newark Academy students also attend the following regional diversity, equity, and inclusion development opportunities:

    • Mid-Atlantic Diversity Conference
    • Young Women of Strength Conference
    • Young Men of Color Symposium and (Re)Defining Power Conference
    • New Jersey GSA Forum
    • Middle School Diversity Conference at the Haverford School
    • Teens Talk about Racism Conference
    • Latinx Youth Conference
    • Young Asian Leadership Alliance Gala and Conference
    • DAIS-Multicultural Student Leadership Conference
  • Student Diversity Leadership Conference

    Each year, six students who successfully apply are supported in attending the National Association of Independent School’s Student Diversity Leadership Conference (SDLC) as representatives of Newark Academy. SDLC attendees always return to the NA community energized and ready to make a contribution to the work of equity and inclusion at Newark Academy.


Newark Academy’s faculty takes pride in being educators dedicated to the development of the “whole child.” As such, a commitment to matters of diversity, equity, and inclusion can be seen in the skills-based approach of both the middle and upper school. Indeed, knowledge and skills for equity and inclusion are understood as important to academic and professional excellence. Specifically, in both divisions and across academic departments, cultural competence is heralded as an integral part of NA’s mission to “contribute to the world engaged individuals instilled with a passion for learning, a standard of excellence, and a generosity of spirit.”

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  • Creating Community 6

    The Creating Community course required for all 6th grade students seeks to develop a student’s ability to contribute effectively and constructively to the development of a positive community ethos. Through hands-on activities and discussion, a student has the opportunity to learn introductory knowledge of group dynamics and to practice essential competencies in three major areas: self-management/self-awareness, social awareness/relationship skills, and responsible decision making about their personal and social behaviors. Lessons emphasize the concepts and application of communication and listening skills, teamwork, collaborative problem solving and conflict resolution skills, critical and creative thinking, self-reflection, and the qualities of personal integrity, kindness, and appreciation for the diverse perspectives and experiences of others.  The course is a pass-fail course with little to no work required beyond class time.
  • Creating Community 9: Tools for Belonging

    Creating Community 9 is a required, full-time course for ninth grade students that meets once per cycle. Students will explore issues of difference, diversity, equity, inclusion, social justice, and belonging in an effort to form a school community in which all may thrive as their authentic selves. Using an experiential learning model and case studies, students will be offered the opportunity to make meaning of their personal and social identities in the context of wider social systems. Students will learn and practice the necessary skills to engage and thrive as inclusive members of the diverse community of learners at Newark Academy.  

Co-Curricular Workshops

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  • Middle School Advisory Program

    As implemented by NA’s Middle School Counselor with support from faculty/staff advisors, the Middle School Advisory program focuses on social-emotional learning that supports healthy well-being. Advisors discuss and guide students on how to identify their emotions, manage their behavior, understand their identity, evaluate their relationships with others, and recognize how their actions impact others. Equity and Inclusion practices are intertwined directly into these monthly themes throughout the year; Examples of specific E&I programming includes topics such as Inclusion, Mattering, Self-Regulation, Cognitive Distortions, Healthy Boundaries, Maintaining Relationships, and Mental Health. 
  • Middle School Common Period Presentations

    Throughout the school year, in coordination with the Middle School Counselor, the Office of Equity and Inclusion offers co-curricular programs to students in all of the grades in the Middle School. Specific topics are as follows:
    6th Grade
    • Comfort Zones, Learning Zones, and Danger Zones - Understanding Microaggressions
    • Understanding Gender and Relationships in Midsummer’s Night Dream
    7th Grade
    • Perception, Power, and Privilege in The House on Mango Street
    • Understanding Poverty, Self-Image, and Stereotypes in “Absolute True Diary”
    • Community, Social Media, and Problematic Language
    8th Grade
    • Who Am I? Identity and Intersectionality
    • Understanding Systems of Inequity
    • Acting as Community Leaders: Challenging Inappropriate Humor
  • Upper School Advisory Program

    As implemented by NA’s Upper School Counselor with support from faculty/staff advisors, Upper School Advisor groups allow students to interact with classmates with whom they do not have classes, play on teams, interact socially or otherwise get to know. By providing a connection to a small group within the larger school community and to an adult who cares about his/her/their well-being, each student can experience a feeling of belonging and inclusion. The advisor group provides students the opportunity to practice the valuable skills of conversation such as sharing speaking time and actively listening while creating a safe space in which each advisee feels included, involved, valued and known.

Middle School and Upper School Affiliated Clubs

Newark Academy boasts over 60 student clubs in the Upper School and 18 in the Middle School. Sixteen of the Upper School Clubs and three of the Middle School clubs are affiliated with the Office of Equity and Inclusion (E&I). The E&I Affiliated student clubs listed here have articulated missions that are closely tied to our vision for creating a diverse, inclusive and equitable community at NA.

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Upper School Student Affinity Groups

Recognizing the need for students to connect with and support one another around their experiences as members of various social identity groups, Newark Academy offers Upper School students the option to participate in a number of identity-based affinity groups to help create and maintain an inclusive learning environment.

Affinity groups at NA do not operate in silos. Rather, there are irregular opportunities for members of the community to engage with and across these groups.

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  • Faculty or Staff Moderators/Facilitators

    As implemented in the Upper School, faculty or staff moderators/facilitators who self-identify within the parameters of the affinity group will set ground rules, create agendas, support active involvement of all participants in the group, pose questions to members of the group for discussion, and gather data about possible issues or challenges that need to be addressed to better support students.
  • Upper School Affinity Groups

    Affinity groups currently active in the Upper School include:
    • Newark Academy Students of Color
    • LGBTQ Students of Newark Academy
An independent school for students in grades 6-12