D.A.M. promotes awareness diversity, focusing on eight identifiers: race, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation, ability, gender, socioeconomic status, and age. DAM provides an arena for open discussion and reaches out to the Maret community through numerous activities, trying to ensure that every voice is heard and every difference is celebrated.
The purpose of this group is to improve the quality of life for gay, lesbian, and bisexual students at Maret by raising student and teacher awareness of issues that face these communities. The club is open to all interested students (gay, lesbian, bisexual, straight, questioning or those with GLB family/friends) who want to make Maret a more open and accepting environment for all, regardless of sexual orientation.
Through literature, social studies, music, and guided classroom discussions, Lower School students explore their thoughts about diversity, respectfully hear other perspectives, and work through differences to achieve a firm sense of community. Many students gather to learn about foods, games, holiday traditions, dances, and other cultural pastimes in the popular Culture Club.
C.A.F.E. (Cultural Awareness for Everyone) Club meets after school, providing a forum for in-depth discussions about cultural heritage. Students sample music and food from across the globe, hear special guest speakers, and participate in cultural activities, including Chinese New Year, Black History Month, Irish American Heritage Month, and Asian American & Pacific Islander Heritage Month.
Each year during Multicultural Day, Maret's seventh graders take the school community on a trip around the world. Each student researches a particular country and creates a vibrant presentation of photos, maps, international delicacies, and interactive activities. See highlights on
An annual event, Building Connections offers families of color new to the Upper School an opportunity to get to know one another and meet Maret’s faculty and staff. Speakers include the Upper School student body president, Maret Parent Association Diversity chair, and current Upper School parents. New students learn from current Upper School students who share their high school experiences.
Fifth graders cultivate self-awareness as they prepare for changes that occur as they grow and develop. Students discuss emotions, self-esteem, teasing, and bullying. They also explore the physical, emotional, and social changes that accompany puberty as they learn about the reproductive systems and its functions.
Continuing to stress the importance of self- awareness, the sixth grade human development program emphasizes friendships, peer dilemmas, peer pressure, and decision-making. Students role-play and discuss bullying and cyber-bullying. Learning to recognize feelings and their influence on behavior is an important aspect of the class. Discussions of pregnancy and birth expand upon fifth grade lessons. The PBS film Everything You Wanted to Know about Sex but Were Afraid to Ask serves as a focal point for class discussion.
Eighth Graders begin human development with a study of values, emphasizing that the worth and dignity of all individuals should be recognized and respected. The course explores the more sophisticated themes associated with human growth and development. Small and large group projects, class assignments, and videos are used to discuss sexually transmitted infections, substance abuse, relationships, decision making, sexual orientation, gender-based expectations, stereotypes, and digital citizenship. This class helps eighth graders transition to ninth grade.
This course explores the biological, psychological, and social issues affecting health and development. The class explores complex issues, increases self-awareness and develops the skills required for responsible emotional and physical decisions. Students examine gender roles, sexuality and the media, reproduction/sexual health, relationships, sexual orientation, AIDS/HIV, rape, sexual harassment, and eating disorders. This year-long course meets once a week during lunch.
Human Sexuality Seminar
Required of all tenth graders, this semester-long class meets weekly to explore the personal, relational and societal components of sexuality. Through their participation in the discussions and activities in this class, students acquire a body of knowledge, develop self-awareness, and cultivate the skills necessary for personal, relational and sexual health. This course covers the characteristics of healthy and unhealthy relationships, body image, gender identity, sexual orientation, and sexual health and reproduction.
DAY OF SILENCE
Led by the Maret Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA), Upper School students take a day-long vow of silence to call attention to the silencing effect of anti-LGBT bullying and harassment that occurs in schools nationwide. A special guest speaker kicks-off the event.
Upper School Color Day employs a number of activities to equip students to discourage social cruelty. Students are randomly divided and identified by four colors, each representing a hierarchy of privilege. Students assume their 'color roles,' with some enjoying full privilege while others experience restricted rights and access. Throughout the day, students and faculty experience the disparity firsthand, gaining a more personal understanding of prejudice and social injustice.
The Upper School annually organizes an assembly around "Mix-It-Up-Day", devised by the non-profit group, Teaching Tolerance. The goal is to foster an inclusive school community by getting students to interact with people with whom they ordinarily do not engage. Faculty members usually lead small-group activities.
Co-sponsored by Diversity at Maret students and the Maret Parents Association Diversity Committee, the Mixed Forum generates discussion among Upper School students, parents, and faculty from all division on compelling topics.
Past forum topics:
- The film Race to Nowhere by Vicki Abeles.
- Let’s Talk Family Diversity At Maret: Creating a Welcoming School Community for Families with Gay and Lesbian Parents
- The Sexualization of Society: Pushing Boundaries or Crossing the Line?
- Equality for All? Reality or Dream? Looking Critically at the Issues of Race and Sexual Orientation in America.
- Free Speech vs. The Language Police: A Town Meeting on Political Correctness in American Society
- Rebuilding New Orleans
ASIA AND THE WEST
When the British forced the Chinese to accept their opium trade through a
war ending in 1842, when Britain established the Raj in India, and when
Commodore Matthew Perry of the U. S. Navy forced the “opening” of Japan
by sailing gun boats into Tokyo harbor, a new era of world history
began. To survive, Asian civilizations had to find a way to counter
western Imperialism. Being forced to enter the modern world, how much of
traditional cultures, which had been viable and creative for over two
thousand years, could Asian civilizations abandon and still retain their
identities? How much does modernization mean Westernization? What
intellectual and psychological changes accompanied Asia’s rapid
industrial and social changes? How did Mao’s communism, Gandhi’s
satyagraha campaigns and Japan’s industrialization modernize their
countries while keeping their cultural identities? Was the Vietnam War a
continuation of Western imperialism? What problems did Asians encounter
when they came to America? How are contemporary Asian societies
adapting to the challenges of the 21st Century? These are some of the
problems we will struggle with in Asia and the West. Through literature
and film, we also study the problems of identity formation within
periods of radical cultural change. As Asians were forced out of their
traditional identity, they exposed the stresses of adopting a unique
modern identity, which, in turn, shows us what modernity did to the
western world. Finally, Asia and the West will help us study our own
ethnocentric cultural prejudices, discover some of the rich uniqueness,
values and answers to modern problems of other cultures, and finally to
see the humanity of all peoples.
This course explores the range of individual freedoms guaranteed by the
U.S. Constitution and the government’s role in protecting these
liberties. Students examine such controversial topics as hate speech,
prayer in schools, gun control, discrimination, abortion, and the death
penalty to determine the boundaries of personal rights protected by the
Constitution. Students read and analyze leading Supreme Court cases and
legal commentary to develop their conclusions. Current event topics also
help to shape the curriculum of the course. Students are required to
rely both on personal opinion and grounded analysis in their
decision-making process. Class time centers on student dialogue and
debate; all members of the class are expected to contribute actively to
discussions. Students also participate in local mock trial and moot
court competitions, providing opportunities for them to play the roles
of lawyer, witness, judge, and jury. Field trips to the Supreme Court
and lower level courts, as well as a wide range of guest speakers,
further enrich students’ understanding of the political system. Through
the content of the class, students cultivate their analytic, writing,
research, and oral advocacy skills.
GLOBALIZATION AND THE MODERN WORLD
Are we at the doorstep of the Chinese global century? Is India the next
great hi-tech powerhouse? Will other developing world countries emerge
as major actors in the global economy? A few years ago many people
thought that globalization was just a code word for American
imperialism—whatever happened to that notion? And just what is
globalization, anyway? Is it old? New? Is it promoting cultural
creativity? Crushing local cultures under the weight of corporate
branding? Does it create opportunities for the world’s poor? Exploit
them? We examine these and other issues in both general discussions
about the meaning and impact of globalization, and in two case study
regions: China and India. Specific readings change annually.
RACE AND GENDER
In this course, we will examine the cultural meanings and social
consequences of race and gender in the United States. We will first
explore the history of these categories to look specifically at how
people, the law, institutions, and social systems produced them. Turning
to scholarly texts, journalism, nineteenth and twentieth-century
primary documents, fiction, and speeches, we will track the changing
language around race and gender and see how both have morphed, evolved,
and modernized. The aim of this course will be for students to apply
concepts learned in class to their own lives and current events. Thus,
this class is designed to be both historical and experiential, moving
always between the history of identity and the ways in which each of us
continue to live gender and race in our everyday lives.