Equity, Justice, and Belonging

Understanding and Appreciating Differences

Diversity is critical to help children become confident, independent learners who work cooperatively with others to solve real-life problems. Therefore, Duke School seeks to dismantle barriers that exist because of race, religion, sexual orientation, socio-economic background and status, age and gender.

We strive to promote an atmosphere of respect, openness and trust by recognizing, understanding and appreciating differences. We actively seek diversity among students, faculty, staff, administrators and trustees.

OUR COMMITMENT TO Equity, justice, and belonging

Striving to build an equitable and just community through education 

At Duke School, our commitment to diversity is unwavering as we uphold principles of fairness and equality. Our vision is to foster an all-encompassing and empowering community that nurtures the growth of children into self-assured and curious learners. We are dedicated to breaking down barriers created by factors such as race, religion, sexual orientation, nationality, socioeconomic status, age, ability, and gender, ensuring that each individual is embraced and valued for their unique contributions. 

We are deeply committed to fostering a culturally competent community that places a high value on equity, justice, and a sense of belonging. We actively strive to cultivate diversity among our students, faculty, staff, administrators, and trustees. Through a genuine appreciation for cultural distinctions and celebrating intellectual diversity, we cultivate a vibrant learning community where everyone is upheld and respected.

Through our unwavering commitment to inclusivity, we aspire to create an environment where every child can flourish and reach their full potential. We embrace collaborative efforts to address real-world challenges, fostering an atmosphere characterized by respect, inclusivity, and trust. We do not tolerate any form of discrimination based on race, religion, age, gender, sexual orientation, personal attributes, abilities, socioeconomic background, or national origin, ensuring this stance permeates our admissions, employment, and educational policies. 


At Duke School, our curriculum embraces the Social Justice Standards: The Teaching Tolerance Anti-bias Framework which is comprised of 20 anchor standards and grade-level outcomes that are organized into four domains - Identity, Diversity, Justice, and Action.

Anti-bias and multicultural education standards are implemented in every grade level, from Kindergarten to 8th grade, with a focus on promoting students' personal and social development.We recognize the power and importance of fostering a deep understanding and appreciation of individual and collective identities, promoting inclusivity and respect for diverse backgrounds, cultures, and experiences.

Duke School formed an Equity Committee. The committee is charged with ensuring the standards are integrated into the curriculum. At each grade level, a committee member sits with a lens that collaboratively helps incorporate the social justice standards into all aspects of our educational institution, including projects, curriculum, and fieldwork. Measurable progress demonstrated through implementing the standards.  We hope that through this role, we can intentionally ensure that students develop a strong sense of empathy and a commitment to advocating for fairness, equity, and justice for all.

Our project-based curriculum extends beyond theoretical knowledge and empowers students to take meaningful action. We provide opportunities for students to apply their learning, encouraging them to become active agents of change in their communities. By nurturing a sense of responsibility, we encourage students to voice their perspectives and ideas, we inspire them to become empathetic and loving individuals who contribute to building a more inclusive and respectful learning community.

Through integrating identity, diversity, justice, and action across our curriculum, we equip our students with the knowledge, skills, and values necessary to understand and be engaged as conscious community members. 


  • Academic support programs (Learning Specialist Team: LS and MS)
  • Counseling support (LS and MS)
  • Advisors
  • Affinity Groups
  • PrimeTime
  • Clubs


At Duke School, we are committed to fostering a sense of belonging and inclusivity within our community. To achieve this, we offer affinity spaces designed for students, parents, and faculty members. These affinity spaces serve a vital purpose in our mission by providing dedicated platforms where individuals can come together based on shared identities and experiences. Our belief is that these spaces cultivate meaningful dialogue and connections, allowing participants to feel truly seen, heard, and uplifted. Through these affinity spaces, we strive to create environments where every member of our community can embrace their authentic selves, share their stories, and build a stronger, more inclusive community that celebrates the richness of our diverse identities. 

We invite you to explore more about DS affinity groups and committees (see below).



Duke School Staff at 2022 NAIS People of Color Conference (San Antonio, TX). With more than 7,800 adults and students from independent schools across the country, our staff gathered to learn, collaborate, and support diversity.

Members of the Durham community came together for a Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service on Duke School's campus.

Students from Duke School, Triangle Day School, and Cary Academy joined together for an afternoon of community building in February 2020. 


Kimberly Shaw, Director of Equity, Justice, and Belonging

Latonya Spivey, EJB Administrative Assistant

Duke School Has...

  • 37% students of color 
  • 19%/43% Faculty/Staff of Color (Full Time)
  • ranked top 25% most diverse of our peer institutions

Duke School...

  • works with Duke School's L.I.F.E. (Learning, Inclusion, Family, Equity & Empowerment) Committee members to ensure a culturally competent and inclusive community
  • hosts a variety of diversity events and community workshops
  • received in 2022 a historical $1, 000, 000 gift that will endow the school’s Scholarship for Equity in Education (SEE Program)
  • walks in the NC Pride Parade
  • measures Duke School's cultural climate regularly 
  • works with consultants to evaluate the experience of African American boys at Duke School
  • partners with the Students to Scholars (S2S) program of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Durham and Orange Counties to allow for the admission of select fifth and sixth-grade students
  • engages in diversity, inclusion, and cultural training for faculty and staff
  • sends faculty and staff to the National Association of Independent Schools' People of Color Conference 
  • recruits diverse faculty and staff as a founding and participating school of the Diversity Teacher Hiring Fair for Triangle Private Schools
  • connects with local universities and organizations to build relationships

Duke School Honors...


  • Durham Pride Participation & Sponsor 
  • Grade Level Fieldwork in Durham and Across the Triangle 
  • Community Guest Experts 
  • Community Activist, Artist, and Musicians  
  • Community Partnerships 
  • Durham, Morrisville, and Raleigh Chamber of Commerce