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Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion Initiative 7

Assess Pedagogy (How We Teach) in Relation to DEI and the Curriculum


To review Harkness and other pedagogies, assessing equity in classroom practices; to deconstruct the intention and impact of our pedagogical practices so Harkness discussions are accessible and effective for all students; to consider how pedagogy, including Harkness, can better encourage students to think critically about the underlying facts and assumptions that support different views: to allow time for reflection as individuals to develop a more equitable shared experience that centers around a safe and trusting classroom environment


  • Incorporating techniques that are not part of traditional Harkness pedagogy (think-pair-share, whip-arounds, etc) as core parts of PRS teaching to ensure more equitable participation in the classroom (work-in-progress)

  • Filmed a number of Harkness teaching sessions in Pacific Ridge classrooms as a way to help train teachers on how to create equity in the classroom

  • Determined protocol for avoiding use of the N-word when it appears in academic text, acknowledging that the harm and impact of the word is greater when it is given breath and spoken aloud

On Deck

  • Research and survey culturally responsive and gender-inclusive pedagogy

  • Survey and evaluate Harkness assessments

  • Continue to build more accessible and equitable forms of Harkness by focusing on strategies that make the experience equitable for students with learning differences 

  • Use faculty orientation, team meetings, and co-teaching time as an opportunity to build a Harkness pedagogy that is more equitable and sustainable through regular review and training with faculty new to Pacific Ridge



Initiative Team Members

Luke Michel, Head of Middle School, lead

Susan Woods, Director of Community & Inclusion

Tim Betzala, Assistant Head of School & Dean of Faculty

John Comforto, Assistant Head of School for Academic Affairs