Embracing All: Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Belonging at Spartanburg Day School
Spartanburg Day School is committed to being purposeful in cultivating a diverse, equitable and inclusive community where all individuals are accepted, respected and valued.
- Paige Phillips, co-chair (Upper School head)
- Tim Teel, co-chair (admissions associate)
- Dave Skeen (head of school)
- Avery Beeson (third grade)
- Joy Anna Cooley (4s)
- Emma Creger (kindergarten)
- Elizabeth Flores (Upper School Spanish)
- Danielle Frías (Middle School Spanish)
- Rebekah Gladson (school counselor)
- Lee Healy (director of communications)
- Amanda McGrath (Upper School history)
- Farrar Richardson (Middle School head)
- Ella Webster (ESOL)
- Jonathan Williams (Lower School head)
- Kevin Wynn (Middle School writing)
Apple (Skin to the Core) by Eric Gansworth - Fascinating memoir in verse about Garnworth's young life on a tiny reservation, and his attempts to figure out his place in the world. Anyone who has ever felt like an outsider will relate to his story.
Everything Sad is Untrue (A True Story) by Daniel Nayeri - Based off of his upbringing Nayeri relates the tale of one Iranian immigrant's family's story as they attempt to adapt to an entirely new life in a small town in Oklahoma. We learn how Nayeri's family ended up here, his amazing mother, rotten stepfather, his self-assured sister, and the family that was left behind.
This Is My America by Kim Johnson - A taut thriller that follows Tracy, an aspiring journalist, whose father sits on death row for a crime he maintains (and seems to be) innocent. When her brother becomes the prime suspect in the killing of a white classmate, she finds that her father's and brother's cases connect in unsuspected ways. The book touches on policing and injustices that can sometimes seem baked into society.
A Pho Love Story by Loan Le - A light tale that follows two teenagers whose parents operate rival pho restaurants and have an ongoing feud with each other. When a chance encounter brings them together, they start to see that maybe their families are not so bad as they have always been told.
Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz
Honor Girl: A Graphic Memoir by Maggie Thrash
Last night at the Telegraph Club by Malinda Lo
Carry On, Simon Snow by Rainbow Rowell
The Only Black Girls in Town by Brandy Colbert - For her whole life, Alberta has been one of the very few black people in the small California beach town where she lives with her dads. So, she is extremely excited when a black girl and her mom move in across the street. However, she does not anticipate the changes to her social dynamic this new person will bring. It is a nuanced exploration of race relations in a day-to-day setting.
Not Your All-American Girl by Madelyn Rosenberg & Wendy Wan - Lauren is mixed race, of Jewish and Chinese descent, which is part of who she is. But, when she is passed over for a lead part in a play because she is not "all-American" looking enough, she starts to wrestle with her identity and place. What does "All-American" even mean?
Akata Witch by Nnedi Okorafor - Sunny has always felt like she does not fit in anywhere. She is an American but has just moved to Nigeria. She is "black" but albino. When she discovers that she has magical abilities, her initiation into a magical society offers a sense of belonging and very real danger.
Inside Out & Back Again by Thanhha Lai - A Newbery honor winner, this novel in verse follows Hà and her family as they make the difficult trek from Saigon to Alabama after the fall of the South Vietnamese government.
The Birchbark House by Louise Erdrich - Kind of a indigenous Little House on the Prairie. This delightful book follows the young Omakayas and her family as they navigate the trials and wonders of a year on one of the great lakes.
Redwood and Ponytail By K.A. Holt
A High Five for Glenn Burke by Phil Bildner
We Are Grateful: Otsaliheliga written by Traci Sorrell, illustrated by Frané Lessac - Wonderful book about the goings on in one Cherokee nation's family's year including many of their celebrations.
Crown: An Ode to the Fresh Cut by Derrick Barnes, illustrated by Gordon C. James - Multiple award-winning book extolling the virtue of a good haircut and the whole barber shop experience. It really begs to be read aloud.
Me & Mama written and illustrated by Cozbi A. Cabrera - An incredibly sweet book told from the perspective of a very young girl relating a day of play with her mother on a rainy day.
A Big Bed for Little Snow by Grace Lin - Fun book that explains in fanciful fashion where snow comes from. The companion book A Big Mooncake for Little Star is also a winner.
Alma and How She Got Her Name written and illustrated by Juana Martinez-Neal - Alma Sofia Esperanza José Pura Candela is extremely irritated by her long name. It will not fit on anything! However, when she hears the origin of where all of her names come from, she changes her mind.
- I am Every Good Thing - Derrick Barnes
- Love - Matt de la Pena
- The Proudest Blue - Ibtihaj Muhammad
- Of Thee, I Sing - Barack Obama
- Brown Girl Dreaming - Jacqueline Woodson
- Amal Unbound - Aisha Saeed
- Stamped - Jason Reynolds
- American Born Chinese
- All American Boys - Jason Reynolds
- American Born Chinese
- The Crossover - Kwame Alexander
- Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria - Beverly Daniel Tatum
Umoja (u + moja: Swahili for “Unity”)
The Umoja Affinity Group is for middle school students of color, and it meets twice a month during lunch. The mission for Umoja is to provide a place where students of color can gather, with a focus on conversation, learning, and socializing.
The goals of Umoja are:
- Share cultural experiences
- Discuss issues of race and identity
- Provide with the opportunity to learn about and explore their roles as students of color
Gender and Sexuality Alliance
GSA (Gender-Sexuality Alliance) is a student-led organization at the Spartanburg Day School that focuses on providing a safe and supportive environment for all members and allies. GSA at SDS has three goals: providing social opportunities within the school, activism within our school and local community, and a system of support for our GSA members. While most meetings are social gatherings, the GSA also works on addressing issues affecting our local community. GSA is open to all members of the SDS Upper School and holds meetings twice a month.
To accept, educate and empower a diverse community
To be a community where everyone is embraced