Student Experience

Belonging at GPS

Bruisers for Belonging

Finding a place to belong is a vital part of an adolescent girl’s experience. Building relationships with teachers and classmates creates a sense of belonging where she feels socially connected, supported, and respected. When a girl can trust her teachers and her peers and experience inclusion at school, the impact is far reaching — on her social emotional well-being, her academic success, and her future.

Students who are confident they belong and are respected by their teachers and peers:
  • are able to engage more fully in learning,
  • are more receptive to feedback,
  • take greater advantage of learning opportunities, and
  • build lasting relationships.

Faculty and Staff Belonging Leaders

In July 2020, GPS launched its strategic equity response after hosting forums on diversity, equity, and inclusion with more than 200 GPS alumnae and parents. GPS committed to creating a learning environment where each girl is recognized for who she is while also establishing a pathway to belonging for all. This work tackles diversity in its broadest sense and involves education of all in our community.

List of 6 items.

  • Lynne Macziewski

    Associate Head of School | Head of Middle School
  • Ali Gant

    Chief Development Officer | Office of Development & Alumnae Relations
  • Lauren Lawrence Swanson '09

    DEI Student Support and Community Engagement | SEED Leader
  • Keith Sanders

    Upper School Science Teacher | SEED Leader
  • Lindsey King

    Middle School English Teacher | SEED Leader
  • Katy Berotti

    English Department Chair | SEED Leader

GPS Diversity Statement

GPS welcomes a diverse community and values the dignity, individuality, and unique experiences and talents of each of its members. We strive to be a safe place where each girl feels she belongs and where all girls have access to the opportunities and support they need to succeed. We seek to identify and eliminate biases and stereotypes, and we aspire to celebrate differences and foster a culture of mutual respect.

By embracing a rich variety of experiences and perspectives, we expand our capacity for learning, enrich the quality and texture of school life, and better prepare our students for life and leadership in a pluralistic society. Our programs and approaches will continue to evolve as we engage in ongoing self-reflection and dialogue with all members of our community.

Click Here to View an Update on Our Strategic Equity Response

“We have good teachers who you can tell care about you and make you feel like you belong; it feels good when teachers seem like real people.”
-Member of the sophomore class

Belonging Initiatives and Programs

Student Forums

Forums represent opportunities for students to discuss important issues with those who either share a similar perspective or lived experience or wish to better understand a perspective that differs from their own. Forums offer a safe and supportive atmosphere for conversation and advocacy. Discussions in these groups may focus on challenges encountered or approaches learned with the goal of providing participants with greater understanding about themselves and cultivating a sense of belonging for all individuals at GPS.

List of 4 items.

  • + BIPOC Forum

    The BIPOC Student Forum is a group that aims to support girls of color within our GPS community. We seek to develop a sense of belonging for all girls of color at GPS. Our focus is to provide a safe place for students to share their lived experiences, while working to build awareness, education, and a new level of consciousness about being a girl of color today. We aim to teach others about diversity while engaging in activities and discussions focused around acceptance and tolerance. Together we will gain a better understanding of others while learning about ourselves.
  • + Christian Forum

    The Christian Forum represents a community of believers who assemble together to worship, accept prayer and praise requests, participate in devotionals, or watch videos pertaining to Bible verses or current issues. We use two devotional books, Jesus Calling by Sarah Young and Seamless by Angie Smith. We have an active card ministry, game day, and a frequent campus happiness project.
  • + Gender and Sexuality Forum (GSF)

    The Gender Sexuality Forum is a group that aims to provide a safe space for any student who wants to talk about issues related to sexual orientation or gender identity and expression. All students are welcome regardless of identity. We will seek to create a sense of belonging for all girls at GPS. The GSF will work to build awareness and education regarding issues of gender and sexual orientation. We will gain a better understanding of all identities by engaging in discussions and participating in activities designed to educate. We aim to create a better sense of understanding for ourselves, the GPS community, and the world around us. 
  • + Interfaith Forum

    The Student Interfaith Forum seeks to provide a safe space for students of all faith backgrounds and beliefs. The aim of the club is to enable students to discuss and learn about their own and others’ experiences with religion, spirituality, and questions of existential importance. For this reason, the club is open to students of all religious and spiritual backgrounds, including those curious about or not currently practicing a faith. We wish to create an environment in which all group members feel a sense of belonging and are listened to and heard. By building bridges between students who share common faith backgrounds as well as between students with differing faiths and belief systems, we hope to encourage community, empathy, and understanding both in and out of the classroom.
“I know I belong when I am around people I know, where I can speak up and have an opinion and feel like I’m being heard.”
-Member of the eighth-grade class

SEED (Seeking Educational Equity and Diversity) at GPS

For more than three decades, The National SEED (Seeking Educational Equity and Diversity) Project has partnered with communities, institutions, and schools to develop leaders who guide their peers in conversational communities to drive personal, institutional, and societal change toward social justice. GPS was introduced to the SEED Program in the 1990s. For the coming school year, two additional faculty members (four total) will be trained and will include opportunities for parents and students to engage in the work.

“I enjoy how it's a safe place and it's comfortable to talk about anything. I've enjoyed having a space to talk about the issues we face as people of color as well as being able to see other girls of color.”
-Member of the BIPOC Student Forum

Upcoming Initiatives for the 2021-22 School Year

List of 3 items.

  • + Belonging Council Roundtable

    A Belonging, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion summer faculty working group will analyze programs and feedback from the past year and work with new Head of School, Megan Cover, to develop an updated Strategic Equity Plan for the 2021-22 school year. This group will revisit the leadership and staffing structure for belonging initiatives and this work at GPS and propose a new model, if necessary.
  • + Continued Professional Development

    Independent diversity, equity, and inclusion speakers and consultants will be engaged to continue professional development with faculty and staff around belonging at GPS.
  • + SEED (Seeking Educational Equity and Diversity) 2.0

    GPS is training two new SEED leaders, for a total of four trained faculty and staff. They will continue to host SEED groups as well as create a SEED 2.0 for those who have participated in the past and would like to continue this work.
“I feel like I belong when I am in a group where people share my passions … specifically when I’m with my friends, at cheer or crew, and they know who I am and take an interest in me.”
-Class Leadership Council member