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Diversity and Inclusion

Diversity, equity and inclusion are core tenets of  Fanny Edel Falk Laboratory School’s Progressive educational mission. In our community, we value diversity that includes, but is not limited to, the colors of our skin, the languages we speak, the countries we come from, our gender identities, our sexual identities, our religions, the traditions we observe, the structures of our families, the financial resources of our families, the way we learn, and our individual needs. We embrace our community’s many distinctive heritages, values, and beliefs.

We strive to create a community whose members reflect and value diversity and inclusion. We also seek to foster a community that understands the benefits and the responsibilities of living in an inclusive, equitable and diverse world. We believe it is our responsibility to act as part of the larger community beyond the school’s walls and ascribe to the "welcoming schools" model that has been developed by the Southern Poverty Law Center's "Teaching Tolerance" Project:


Since its inception, Falk has been a model of collaboration rather than competition. Children work daily in pairs or groups at all grades and in all content areas. Through working together, our children come to understand the strengths that each individual brings to a task. Children are heterogeneously grouped so that various abilities, learning styles, and perspectives are always present. Families are encouraged to share customs and celebrations with the entire community so our children gain a growing understanding of the differences and commonalities among us. Content is chosen to reflect the contributions of marginalized groups in all areas of study.

At Falk, we view our diversity as a quilt sewn together with the threads of inclusion, understanding, acceptance and pride. We view the inclusion and celebration of diversity as our moral and ethical responsibility to our children.  And we strive to create a reflective and peaceful environment for us all to come to an understanding, an acceptance, and a celebration of the uniqueness in each of us. 

As a community, we develop curriculum and educate our children in ways that promote fairness and empathy.  Our philosophy is centered on educating the whole child—intellectually, socially, emotionally, and physically—to become a contributor to the global community, a steward of the earth, and a responsible citizen in a democratic society.

Parent-run committees for Diversity and Inclusion and Learning Diversity work to make sure all of our families’ voices are heard and our children's needs are met. Being an inclusive community requires much more than isolated experiences.  Knowing the benefits that we all gain by learning in a richly diverse community needs to inform all that we do. Falk’s Diversity, Equity & Inclusion group is comprised of parents, faculty and staff. The group provides avenues to uphold the school’s diversity, equity and inclusion mission. The group also helps in Falk’s efforts to bring those values into the community. Please reach out to Maggie Jones or Deb Desjardins if you are interested in joining us.

Our K-8 program includes yoga and mindfulness, guidance counseling, teacher-student mentoring, and stewardship of the Falk Woods. Through literature, discussion, and modeling, our children learn about the attributes we value—kindness, fairness, hope, courage, trust, and respect. 

Our physical education and health curriculum focuses on lifelong activity, healthy choices, and general wellness. All children are encouraged to participate in physical activity and play remains important through eighth grade.  Middle school intramural sports are open to any child who wishes to participate, with a no-cut policy in effect at all times; all children on a team have the opportunity to play in each game.   In addition, many of our teams are co-ed.

As a laboratory school, we seek opportunities to have our teacher trainees exhibit and promote diversity and inclusion in their practices. We also support responsible and inclusive research, and we encourage professional development in areas of diversity and inclusion. 

We look to the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) recommendations in their Principles of Good Practice to guide us in the “representation and full engagement of individuals” of diversity.

As part to the University of Pittsburgh, Falk also recognizes and upholds the University’s Nondiscrimination Policy Statement. The University of Pittsburgh, as an educational institution and as an employer, values equality of opportunity, human dignity, and racial/ethnic and cultural diversity. Accordingly, the University prohibits and will not engage in discrimination or harassment on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, ancestry, sex, age, marital status, familial status, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, genetic information, disability, or status as a veteran. The University also prohibits and will not engage in retaliation against any person who makes a claim of discrimination or harassment or who provides information in such an investigation. Further, the University will continue to take affirmative steps to support and advance these values consistent with the University's mission. This policy applies to admissions, employment, access to and treatment in University programs and activities. This is a commitment made by the University and is in accordance with federal, state, and/or local laws and regulations.