Our Community

Intercultural Affairs

Equity and Belonging

At The Bush School, we strive for every member of our community to be seen, heard, and valued. As we move toward the ideals of equity and inclusion, we affirm that a broad range of experiences and viewpoints enhance learning and make our community stronger. We stand united against all acts of discrimination and injustice.
By centering a multiplicity of voices, we constructively address tensions, heal hurt with intentional dialogue, and celebrate personal and collective joys. This work is the responsibility of every member of our community.

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  • Diversity

    To foster an awareness of self and others
  • Equity

    To build more equitable practices across the Bush community
  • Inclusion

    To make sure all community members feel like valuable and necessary parts of the school community 
The Bush School is committed to fulfilling the school mission through anti-racist practices and actions, inclusive curriculum, and professional development for all faculty and staff to assist in furthering these principles. Click below to learn more about the work Bush is doing.

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  • DEI and Anti-Racism at Bush

    The Bush School is committed to fulfilling the school mission through anti-racist practices and actions, inclusive curriculum, and professional development for all faculty and staff to assist in furthering these principles. We believe that centering this work and these conversations is an opportunity for all of us to grow when it comes to intercultural fluency.
    We move this work forward with our students through partnership between student affinity groups and the Office of Intercultural Affairs, drop-in office hours in the Center for Intercultural Action, as well as classroom visits and activities with the Director of Intercultural Affairs. These practices are equally important with our faculty and staff and we engage in this work through professional development opportunities, divisional meetings, and all-staff meetings, as well as lesson planning support. Every department has the opportunity to partner with the Office of Intercultural Affairs to ensure that the diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts and our work in becoming an anti-racist institution is moving forward across the Bush community.
    This work extends beyond Bush’s campus, reaching into every home that is connected to our school community. Families have the opportunity to engage through parent coffees, divisional round tables, and workshops led by outside speakers on topics of diversity, equity, and inclusion. Parents also have the opportunity to join parent affinity groups which partner with the Office of Intercultural Affairs. All members of the school community, from students to parents to faculty and staff, are also able to schedule one-on-one meetings with the Director of Intercultural Affairs as concerns arise.

Head of School Percy L. Abram

Through coursework, internships, Cascades, clubs, E-lectives, and in dialogue with their classmates, Blazers in Kindergarten through Twelfth Grade know how to use their voices to affect change and to build an equitable society.

Our ValuesWe Believe

The Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Board Committee created the “We Believe” statement in 2020, elevating empathy, communication, and collaboration across differences. This committee stewards the school’s commitment to creating a diverse, welcoming, and inclusive community. The committee meets monthly and includes Board members, faculty, staff, parents, and students. 

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  • Our Beliefs

    • that all must feel valued, accepted, welcomed, and enfranchised before a robust give-and-take of intellectual, emotional and creative discourse can occur. 

    • a progressive education requires a diverse school community, which reflects the true nature of the world communities in which our students will participate and lead.

    • that a commitment to academic excellence includes the teaching of intercultural fluency and local and global citizenship. 
      that the emotional and social development of our students happens most effectively in a community that is diverse, affording each student the opportunity to feel represented and valued on multiple levels.  

    • that each member of the school community, including students, faculty, staff, parents, alumni, and trustees, shares the responsibility for building and sustaining an environment of respect and encouragement.

    • that a commitment to a diverse, equitable, and inclusive community must go beyond our interactions with each other, and also be reflected in the physical place, the formal programming, and the official policies of the Board of Trustees and administration.

Equity & Inclusion Speaker Series

The Bush School is proud to partner with local NWAIS schools to present The Equity & Inclusion Virtual Speaker Series. This program provides the opportunity to connect, learn, and engage in topics around equity, inclusion, and antiracist education and action. The purpose of this series is to raise awareness, challenge ourselves, deepen understanding, and empower our communities to advance their efforts to actively recreate systems into equitable, inclusive, and antiracist institutions.

Leading through Action

The following are examples of programming, community building, professional development, and intentional engagement happening across The Bush School to elevate diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging. We believe in a multi-tiered approach to ensuring that all community members are seen, valued, and heard, and provide intentional pathways to lean into personal, interpersonal, institutional, and structural bias and racism. Click and scroll below to see some examples of the type of meaningful DEI programming underway at The Bush School.

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  • 2022-2023 Community Articles

  • Affinity Groups

    Affinity Groups are available at The Bush School for students, faculty and staff, and families. Affinity Groups give community members the opportunity to be around people where their lived experience is the baseline instead of something they have to explain. These are groups based around a shared layer of identity, such as race, religion, sexual orientation and gender identity, and more.

    There are a number of long-standing Affinity Groups as well as a number of new affinity groups founded each year based on community interest. The following are some of the various current Affinity Groups at Bush.

    Lower School Student Affinity Groups
    Bush Lower School is launching a new Student Affinity Group Program beginning Monday, January 30!
    The Lower School Student Affinity Groups are optional and meet after school from 3:15-4:00 p.m. throughout the winter and spring. We are offering a number of affinity groups based on different identities, with each group meeting once a month. 
    Click here to see the complete list of Lower School Student Affinity Groups offered and the schedule for when each group will meet.

    Upper School Student Affinity Groups
    Asian-American Culture Club, Black Student Union (BSU), Blazers of Color (BOC), Blazers Understanding Whiteness (BUW), Center for Intercultural Action (CIA), Latinx Club, MOSAIC Multicultural Affinity Group, Secuality and Gender Alliance (SAGA), Oye Vey, and more

    Family Affinity Groups
    The Bush School encourages families to participate in affinity groups where they can gather with those who share a similar identity. Affinity groups are a way to support and empower members of our community. FA volunteers serve as the leads for various affinity groups which include established affinity groups as well as new affinity groups each year. 

     Afro-Diaspora Family Group, Asian-American/Asian Affinity Group, Bilingual Affinity Group, Jewish Affinity Group, Latinx Affinity Grouo, Learning Differences Affinity Group, LGBTQIA+ Family Affinity Group, Muslim Family Affinity Group, and White Anti-Racist Parents/Guardians. 
  • Bias Incident Form

    Bias Incident Form
    The Bias Incident Form is a place where community members can share with Director of Intercultural Affairs Kimberlee Williams incidents of impact that involve bias.

    We believe it is important for the school to be aware of potentially harmful interpersonal interactions, particularly when it comes to identity markers such as race, class, gender, sexual orientation, and more. This form is for gathering information about and addressing these occurrences. Once submitted, Director of Intercultural Affairs Kimberlee Williams will reach out to the individual(s) involved to initiate resolution. The appropriate members of the community will be contacted and asked to partake in the resolution process as well.
  • Cascades & Upper School Curriculum

    The Bush Upper School Cascades Program is a three week interdisciplinary course of study held each January, led by interdepartmental teaching teams. The thematic, immersive experiences have a strong focus on social justice including the following courses.

    Design Thinking
    Real Solutions for Real People: Designing for the Whole Environment
    Modeling Cascade Effects in Ecology and Politics

    Global Citizenship
    Cultural Journey Through the American South
    Cultural Immersion in San Miguel Escobar, Guatemala: Wrestling with Global Responsibility

    Exploring Equity and Access in Healthcare
    Medical Anthropology: The Cultural Study of Healthcare

    Social Justice
    More than a Game: Sports and Social Justice
    Social Justice in Filmmaking
    Interactive Theater for Social Change

    Scare Resources and Growing Needs: Death Valley, Desert Ecology, and Climate Change, Rock Climbing and Land Management in America Studying Seattle Traffic Patterns, Building Algorithms, and Advocating for Change

    The Upper School curriculum is designed to engage students’ critical, creative, and independent thinking. Teachers introduce multi-perspectives throughout curriculum and class discussions, and develop a course of study that engages deep intellectual engagement. Diversity equity, inclusion, and social justice themes are woven throughout all courses in the arts, mathematics, science, English, history, and health and wellness. The following is a sample of current courses in English, history, and mathematics which capture the broad range of topics introduced through the Upper School curriculum. 

    Black Voices; Global Literature; Literature and Disability; Postcolonial Voices; Queer Voices; Shakespeare and Kurosawa; Travel Literature

    American Women’s Studies; Civics: Defending Our Rights; Civics: Understanding Our Rights; Contemporary Migration Crisis 
    Cultural Ethics 
    Cultures in Conflict
    Global Women’s Issues
    The Idea of Africa
    The Indian Subcontinent
    Indigenous North American History
    Japanese History and Culture
    The Middle East
    Marxism and its Legacy
    Modern China
    Race in America: The 20th Century
    Religious Ethics

    Seattle, Statistics and Social Justice
  • Center for Intercultural Action

    The Center for Intercultural Action (CIA) was founded by Bush Upper School students in 2019 as a way to bring together Upper School student leaders of the school’s affinity groups to go about impacting greater change. The following is an excerpt written by one of the founders Arden DeForest ’21 on the founding of the CIA:

    “In the spring of my sophomore year, I took a class called ‘Race in the Twentieth Century’, which ended up being one of the most transformative experiences of my life. At the beginning of the term, our teacher, Raleigh Werberger, informed us that we the students would be choosing the direction of the class. With no rubric to follow or specific expectations to fulfill, our class learned not only to work toward a final goal, but also to decide what exactly that goal was and what success looked like. 

    After interviewing a number of community members about the impact race has had on their lives, we decided that the most worthwhile project would be to make change in the Bush community itself. Much discussion ensued, weighing the merits of different ideas and overall impact on the community. 

    Finally, we decided on three projects. The first was a drive for more diverse and inclusive hiring at Bush to create ‘visual safety nets’ for students of color. The second was an initiative centered around making the Bush curriculum more diverse and inclusive. This meant reflecting on our experience through the Upper School and identifying aspects of required classes that could be more expansive or include more viewpoints. The final project was an initiative that would bring together affinity group leaders and other interested students through a group we named The Center for Intercultural Action, or CIA. 

    The description of the group reads: ‘Purpose: To give students a platform to create change; to give them a voice; and to create student leadership on matters of equity, diversity, and social justice; to use existing venues to bring more frequent conversations about intercultural fluency to the forefront of the school.’” 
  • DEI Boot Camps & Tip of the Week

    The Office of Intercultural Affairs runs DEI Boot camps throughout the school year for Bush faculty and staff. These take place at various times through the day, week, and month and are a way for individuals to connect in an informal setting in smaller groups to discuss core DEI concepts while having a safe, nonjudgmental, space to discuss questions that might have some up throughout the course of a class and working with students, colleagues, and families related to diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging.

    Each Week the Office of Intercultural Affairs posts a “tip of the week” to share insights and ideas with the community on ways to foster equity and belonging. Here are some recent examples of various “tips of the week”:
    • Give air to the feelings in the room, and then press forward. Instead of getting quiet when you feel uncomfortable engaging in conversations around diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) topics, state “I’m feeling uncomfortable because I’m afraid of...(insert your fear here), but I’d like to continue in this conversation no matter how sticky or messy it becomes.”
    • Normalize the word bias as something naturally occurring in all of us. Recognize that bias does not make you a bad person, and it can be unlearned.
    • Discuss with your family the difference between equality and equity. Equality is providing everyone with the exact same knapsack to go on the hiking trip. Equity is adding EpiPens for those with severe allergies, insulin for diabetics, inhalers for asthmatics, etc. Remember they are not the same, and equity is always the goal.
    • Listen to transgender people. The best way to be an ally is to listen with an open mind to transgender people speaking for themselves. Follow thought leaders in the transgender community. Check out books, films, YouTube channels, and trans blogs to find out more about transgender people and the issues people within the community face.
    • Seek authentic sources to learn about the lives of those around you. If it's a documentary about women, are women behind its production? Reading a book about Indigenous people? Is the author from an Indigenous community?
  • Lower School Dialogues 

    This past year, the Department of Intercultural Affairs partnered with the Bush Lower School to host four Community Dialogs for Bush Lower School Families. Community Dialogues are an opportunity for parents/guardians and caregivers of Lower School students to come together to discuss topics of diversity, equity, inclusion, and all things identity. Working together community members can deepen their knowledge, understanding, and skills around navigating potentially challenging conversations with our youngest student population. Here is an example of programming from Lower School Dialogues the 2021-2022 school year

    Session One - Tuesday, November 9: We are more alike than we are different- how to talk to your kids about celebrating connection and building community with all. 

    Session Two - Wednesday, January 19: Code switching- how are we bringing our entire selves to the Bush Community

    Session Three - Wednesday, March 30: How to without dividing us, address socioeconomic differences. Talking about money really does unite us! 

    Session Four - Wednesday, May 25:
    Coaching through the crisis- what happens when our kids see the images they weren't supposed to. How we talk our children through these situations.
  • Middle School Q Group

    “The Q Group is important to me because it is a a safe and friendly place where I can discuss important things in my life.”
    - Bush Sixth Grade Student

    The Middle School Q Group is a safe, nonjudgmental affinity group for students who are exploring their gender or sexual identity. The Q Group is also open to allies, whom we refer to as “accomplices.” The mission of the Q Group is to provide support to queer and questioning students, and create an inclusive environment where gender and sexual diversity is celebrated. This spring the Q Group designed their own pronoun pins and many students marched in the Seattle Pride Parade in June. 
  • Muslim Prayer Room

    The Bush School has a Muslim Prayer Room on campus open to students, families, faculty, and staff. This room is available to all Bush Muslim community members who require a space to pray during the day. The Bush School joins a growing community of schools including universities and higher education institutions around the world who have established a Muslim prayer room to create a space for Muslim community members to meet their daily obligation of prayer. The Muslim Student Association National notes that many practicing Muslims have an obligation to pray five times a day, and these prayer times often overlap with class and work schedules. The Muslim prayer room on campus gives our Muslim community members a private space to honor the obligations of their faith along with their school or work schedules.
  • Policy for Transgender and Gender Expansive Students

    The Bush School’s Policy for Transgender and Gender Expansive Students addresses the needs and concerns of transgender and gender expansive students to ensure a safe, affirming, and healthy school environment where every child can learn. This Policy is meant to support transgender and gender expansive students in the school environment, if such support is needed. This Policy cannot and does not anticipate every situation that may occur; every student is different and that includes transgender and gender expansive students. The support and accommodations for each student must be assessed and addressed individually based on the specific requests and needs of each student.

  • Pronouns at Bush

    Pronouns in English are commonly used to refer to ourselves or others in replacing a persons name Words are powerful tools that we use to convey meaning, build connections, and share information and because of this, the words we use in our community matter. Names and pronouns are pieces of this personal identity and using correct pronouns, much like pronouncing someone's name correctly, is an affirmation of their identity.

  • Senior Leadership Team

  • The Percy L Abram Fund for Equity, Inclusion, Justice, and Peace  

    The Percy L. Abram Fund for Equity, Inclusion, Justice and Peace provides funds to support educational programming at Bush that elevates programming which inspires students to build a just, inclusive, equitable, and compassionate community and nation. The fund was created by Board Chair Karen Marcotte Solimano and her family. The end of her tenure at Bush also coincided with a global health pandemic and social justice uprising, both of which have spotlighted the deep-seeded racial inequities in the United States. Karen and her family made a decision inspired by the leadership, intellect, integrity, and authenticity of Head of School Percy Abram to ensure that his vision for equity and inclusion continued on for generations to come. To help advance this shared vision, the Solimanos have seeded an endowment in Percy’s honor to fund anti bias education and training to the next generation of problem solvers, thinkers, leaders, and their families. The Bush School is led by passionate educators and Trustees who believe in a shared vision of belonging in which all people can live fully and well.
The Bush School is an independent, coeducational day school located in Seattle, WA enrolling 710 students in grades K–12. The mission of The Bush School is to spark in students of diverse backgrounds and talents a passion for learning, accomplishment, and contribution to their communities.

3400 East Harrison Street, Seattle WA 98112    (206) 322-7978
The Bush School does not discriminate in matters of employment, recruitment, admissions, or administration of any of its programs on the basis of race, color, creed, religion, national or ethnic origin, disability, gender, or sexual orientation. In addition, The Bush School does not discriminate in matters of employment on the basis of age or marital status.
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