Diversity, Equity, Inclusion (DEI)

Woodlynde School is committed to fostering, cultivating, and preserving a culture of diversity and inclusion in order that its students and colleagues achieve their full potential.

We believe that everyone's unique life experience and background adds valuable perspective to our community and that our community is stronger because of the differences represented by our students, colleagues, and families. We embrace community members of all ages, races, ethnicities, religions, gender identities and expressions, physical and learning abilities, languages, national origins, political affiliations, sexual orientations, and socio-economic statuses.

Woodlynde School is a safe space with a zero-tolerance policy toward identity-based harassment of any kind. In addition to adopting non-discrimination best practices, Woodlynde School seeks to proactively include community members of all backgrounds through its curriculum, colleague development, hiring practices, admissions, and event programming.*
Interested in expanding your horizons? Below, you will find some books that we recommend everyone read including our colleagues to become better allies, anti-racists, and supporters of social justice. 

Additional DEI Resources For Parents

DEI from the School Newsletter

List of 7 items.

  • 2/26/20 - Black History Month Assembly

    This month, we were excited to collaborate with students, colleagues, and a special guest speaker to present the first Woodlynde Black History Month school-wide assembly. We are extremely proud of the students who lent their time and voice to make the assembly a special event, which included student artwork and musical performances. In welcoming Brandon Jacobs to the stage (Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at Shipley), we were also able to share valuable first-hand perspective on being a student of color in a predominantly white independent school with our students and colleagues. We would also like to thank Head of School Amy Clemons for making Black History month a school-wide priority and giving us the opportunity to create and present a meaningful celebration with the Woodlynde School community.

    - Kaitlin Zinkewich & Brian Richardson, DEI Co-Chairs
  • 2/26/20 - The Online Radicalization of Teenage Boys

    Last week, Kaitlin and I had the opportunity to speak to our Woodlynde School colleagues during our in-service Professional Development Day about the online radicalization of teenage boys. As we think about internet security for our students, we often think first of password protection, identity theft, and online predation. While it is important to remain vigilant about best practices in these areas, we often ignore the more insidious, subtle messaging our students are consuming as they search for funny memes and streamers. In short: there is currently a concerted effort to indoctrinate teenagers into extremist points of view by neo-Nazi groups, white nationalists, and "incels" (short for "involuntarily celebate"). Their content trades heavily in racism, sexism, and homophobia, but these themes tend to be couched in subliminal and subversive jokes. "Calling out" our students who repeat these jokes can make them defensive and ashamed, which is educationally counterproductive and gives them an opening to be resentful of messages encouraging tolerance, so instead we encourage colleagues (and parents) to use "deep canvasing" techniques in response. These involve asking questions, listening without judgement, and trying to relate to students through narrative and personal examples (e.g. "Can you think of a time in your life when you were made fun of for something you couldn't control? How did that make you feel?"; "This is my friend ________ who happens to be ___________. They had this experience where they were targeted and ridiculed for their identity. Can you imagine how _____ felt in that moment?").
    I encourage us all to intervene sensitively and effectively if/when we notice our students following the path down the rabbit-hole. 

    - Brian Richardson, DEI Co-Chair
  • 1/27/20 - MLK Day and Service Learning

    While many of us will enjoy a day off from school or work on Monday, January 20, how often do we use that time to reflect on why we have this day off? Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day was created a Federal Holiday in 1983 and falls on the third Monday of January every year. This is the first, and only, federal holiday to celebrate an African American.
    When talking with your student about Dr. King and his efforts in the Civil Rights Movement, be sure to look into a second or third civil rights activist, one who is less well known, but was just as dedicated to the cause. I'm sure Dr. King would agree that the journey to equality is one that we must all work toward together, and that while one person can make a difference, we need everyone working together to make a change.
    In honor of MLK Day, I ask you to take the time to complete one deed, great or small, in service to someone else. Service learning and equitable education are vitally important here at Woodlynde School, and showing how often service learning takes place outside of school is so important for students.

    - Kaitlin Zinkewich & Brian Richardson, DEI Co-Chairs
  • 12/19/20 - DEI Club Updates

    As the holiday season hurtles toward us, our student-led DEI clubs are having enriching, edifying discussions and planning for 2020. Under the direction of Mr. Kyle Psulkowski, a group of student artists are preparing a Martin Luther King Jr. mural to be displayed at Girard College in January. 
    Meanwhile, as Ms. Zinkewich and I prepare for Black History Month, we are collaborating with leaders in the Student Council and DEI clubs to bring a varied, interdisciplinary program to the Woodlynde School community in February. And as always, inclusiveness begins at home - as you celebrate your holiday traditions with your family, we encourage you to learn about a holiday tradition outside your own and share what you've learned with your students.

     - Brian Richardson, DEI Co-Chair
  • 11/22/2019 - How to have Difficult (but Important!) Conversations this Holiday Season

    The holidays are fast approaching and with it are many family gatherings in which hard or little-discussed topics may appear. The best way to approach these conversations is with kindness, empathy, and a clear definition of your values.
    Thanksgiving will be here soon, and this is a great opportunity to talk about revisionist history with your family and friends! You can have these conversations while keeping it age appropriate for younger children by exemplifying all the ways in which we should treat others - this implicitly teaches them what is wrong, by highlighting what is right!
    For children who are a bit older and ready to learn a more honest and in-depth truth, focus on the facts of the events, while discussing the motivations behind certain actions. Why did the pilgrims' journey to the New World? Who does land 'belong' to? Why do we learn a sugar-coated version of the Thanksgiving story when we are children? What happened to the native peoples who lived in this area, and where are they now?
    To disrupt these damaging narratives, we need to confront and re-frame them honestly. This isn't always easy but is important! If you're unsure of how to approach these conversations, please feel free to reach out to either Mr. Richardson or myself, or take a look at the resources available on the website, Showing Up for Racial Justice: 
  • 11/06/2019 - Exploring Ways to Make Our School a More Inclusive and Equitable Community

    This month, Woodlynde School colleagues and students have been exploring ways to make our school a more inclusive and equitable community through professional development, networking, and dialogue. Along with Kaitlin Zinkewich and Maria Wilson, I had the opportunity to attend the annual ADVIS DEI conference at the Tower Hill School in Delaware, where we attended workshops and seminars about best practices with student affinity groups, democratizing pedagogy, and supporting difficult conversations around thorny subjects in the classroom. Ms. Zinkewich and I also had the pleasure of leading our colleagues through a workshop on implicit bias and breaking hierarchical classroom routines through participation randomizers and serial testimony. Meanwhile, the student GSA and DEI clubs are going strong with increasing attendance and ambitions to expand social opportunities for middle and upper school. Finally, much of the school community wore purple on Spirit Day, an anti-bullying initiative in support of LGBTQ+ teens, and Lower School participated in Mix It Up Day, a national initiative to break out of cliques and make new friends. We encourage you to have ongoing conversations with your students about how we all have a role in making Woodlynde School (and the world at large) a more just and equitable place for every member of our community, particularly those who may feel marginalized or underrepresented.

    - Brian Richardson, DEI Co-Chair
  • 9/27/19 - Welcome Back to a New School Year!

    Welcome back to a new school year! A new school year means new opportunities for learning, growth, and change. Mr. Richardson and I are excited to announce the creation of a DEI Club for students in grades 6-12. This club will meet once a week during Upper School Lunch/Middle School period 6 and will serve as a space for students to discuss any and all topics related to DEI. 
    We are looking forward to the interesting, important, and powerful discussions students will have, as well as hopefully creating student-led programming for our community! 
    We gladly invite parent involvement and interest, so please feel free to reach out to either Mr. Richardson (richardson@woodlynde.org) or myself (zinkewich@woodlynde.org).
    Thank you.
    - Kaitlin Zinkewich, DEI Co-Chair

DEI Co-Chairs

List of 2 members.

  • Photo of Kaitlin Kilroy

    Kaitlin Kilroy 

    Middle School History Teacher, Wilson® Dyslexia Practitioner
  • Photo of Brian Richardson

    Brian Richardson 

    K-8 Music Teacher, Co-Chair of Diversity Committee, Wilson® Dyslexia Practitioner

Juneteeth Information

June 19, otherwise known as Juneteenth marks the end of enslavement in the U.S. and dating back to 1865 at the end of the Civil War. Woodlynde School is committed to expanding our knowledge and understanding of black history. Below you’ll find some links to more information about Juneteeth.

*Woodlynde School is by no means claiming to be an expert in diversity, equity, and inclusion. This page serves as a declaration of our intention to learn and grow every day in order to become better allies, anti-racists, and supporters of social justice.
Woodlynde School is a private, co-ed college prep day school located in suburban Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, that serves intelligent, talented students with learning differences in grades K - 12. Woodlynde provides a comprehensive, evidence-based Kindergartenelementarymiddle and high school program in a challenging yet nurturing environment for students with average to above average cognitive abilities (IQ) who have language- or math-based learning differences (such as Dyslexia, Dysgraphia or Dyscalculia), Executive Function Challenges, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), or Auditory Processing Disorder. Even for those students without a diagnosed learning disability (LD), Woodlynde offers expert and caring teachers in small classroom settings that support academic success. Woodlynde School also offers a post-graduate (PG) program in partnership with Rosemont College as well as a regional Summer Camp for students who learn differently.