Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

Belonging is Key

Mid-Pen’s mission and values serve to create a sense of belonging for all our students. It’s our hope that students and families will read this page as a helpful resource and launching point for our critical discussions and work on equity, social justice, and anti-racism.

Our Mission Statement places the nurturing relationship between students and teachers at the center of everything we do. We believe that “all students belong with expert and compassionate teachers.” In order to make that relationship a reality, students and teachers demonstrate a commitment to our shared values: Respect, Kindness, Acceptance, and Responsibility.

Through these shared beliefs and values, we create that all important sense of belonging for each other.

What does belonging mean at Mid-Pen? You belong when you can be yourself! That’s where our values come in: respect for each other, an ability to demonstrate kindness and acceptance, and holding ourselves responsible for our behaviors creates a space where everyone can be themself.

Why is a sense of belonging so important in a school? Two reasons:

  1. A sense of belonging is the foundation for establishing successful and productive relationships.
  2. Feeling safe and comfortable in your environment—like you belong—increases your ability to learn and grow.


Zareeta Hammond, in her book Culturally Responsive Teaching & the Brain: Promoting Authentic Engagement and Rigor Among Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Students tells us:

"We cannot downplay students’ need to feel safe and valued in the classroom. The brain will not seek to connect with others if it perceives them to be threatening to its social or psychological well-being based on what they say and do” (47). She goes on to say, “Neuroscience tells us the brain feels safest and relaxed when we are connected to others we trust to treat us well” (73).

Your brain more easily learns, then, when you feel connected to your teachers and feel safe in your school community.

 

In This Section

Jorge Rodriguez, Director of Teaching, Learning, and Equity

Jorge Rodriguez
Director of Teaching, Learning, and Equity
jorge@mid-pen.org