As students enter the Upper School, they are able to enjoy a more sophisticated understanding of DEI as they study the complexities of their coursework in greater depth. While reading some works from the literary canon, students learn about the writers’ background, influences, and time period. For example, while students read Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness, they also study Chinua Achebe’s response to his work, An Image of Africa: Racism in Conrad’s “Heart of Darkness,” in order to gain a broader understanding of authorship and reception, helping students become more critical readers and thinkers. Students also continue to create bridges between academic and social contexts to contemporary issues.
Faculty are constantly responsive to new authors and ideas. Administration and departments encourage new perspectives on issues of DEI and have included 2020 Pulitzer Prize winner for poetry into the 2020 – 2021 curriculum as an example. The 2020 book list includes over one-third authors of color, and nearly half of the works include significant themes and characters concerning the tenets of DEI. As its final elective, the English Department offers Honors Humanities Colloquium, whose subject may include multiple disciplines and shift focus, depending upon departmental consensus. In 2019–2020, the Department chose African American literature as its theme for the year.
Electives like Civil War and Defining Moments: Civil Rights allow students to explore racism in the United States extensively: how it has been combatted and how it informs contemporary lives. In addition, students may take advantage of our experiential learning program, Peak Week, to attend such offerings as From Little Rock to Birmingham: A Study-Tour of the Civil Rights Movement, which includes a trip through cities that fostered activism and change in the mid-20th Century. Other experiential offerings include NAIS’s annual Student Diversity Leadership Conference. Sierra Canyon has sent the maximum number of students each year, and these students return to share what they learn in different community forums.
Sierra Canyon School is a private, independent, non-sectarian, co-educational, college preparatory school for students in grades Pre-Kindergarten through 12 located in Chatsworth, California. The highly cosmopolitan campus community is reflective of the Greater Los Angeles area and the world at large. Students are empowered to realize their greatest creative, ethical, intellectual and physical promise through small class sizes, a diverse student-teacher culture and a family-like environment.