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Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion


We Are Potomac

The Potomac School is committed to respecting and celebrating diversity. The members of our community represent a wide variety of backgrounds, cultures, and perspectives, and we believe that the presence of diverse voices and viewpoints enriches the Potomac experience for everyone.

Guiding Principles

At Potomac, we are a connected and inclusive community. We learn from one another and firmly believe that our community is intellectually enriched and morally strengthened by the presence of many different voices and viewpoints.  

As we accept, learn from, and celebrate difference at our school, we also work together to uphold the principles that form the foundation of the Potomac community – our core values, a commitment to mutual support, and a shared focus on the common good. We expect everyone at Potomac to demonstrate integrity and respect for all individuals and to act in the best interests of others and the community as a whole.

In harmony with these convictions, we are committed to the following:

  • To be a school where each individual is respected and valued and demonstrates the same respect toward others.
  • To recruit and retain outstanding faculty, staff, and administrators from a variety of backgrounds.  
  • To enroll talented students from a variety of backgrounds and to provide equity of opportunity, ensuring that all students can learn, grow, and thrive at Potomac.
  • To advance our individual growth by working to connect with and understand others, especially those whose backgrounds, voices, or viewpoints differ from our own.
  • To be courageous in the pursuit of justice in our community and in the world.

The Potomac School’s mission is to prepare students for lives of purpose, achievement, and generosity of spirit. Our commitment to welcome, appreciate, and engage respectfully with people of all backgrounds and perspectives is essential to achieving this mission.

Potomac Commitments for an Inclusive Culture and Climate

The Potomac community is engaged in thoughtful exploration of issues related to race and racism at our school. In summer 2020, the school hosted a series of forums that offered alumni, parents, students, and faculty and staff opportunities to share their experiences and perspectives. Though not always easy to hear, the observations that were shared were extremely valuable, bringing to light issues that we have a responsibility to address.

In addition to feedback from community forums, the school has considered input from alumni and others who took the time to send letters and emails, as well as a thoughtful document titled “Ending Complacency; Student Ideas for Institutional Improvement,” that was created by Upper School students. All of these perspectives have informed our thinking about ways to create meaningful institutional change in pursuit of Potomac’s goals of an anti-racist culture and an environment where every individual is included and valued.

The school has identified five broad areas of focus for this work going forward: 

  • Equity and Racial Literacy 
  • Health & Wellness
  • Culturally Responsive Curriculum
  • Recruitment & Retention
  • Equitable Transportation




Potomac Opens the Center for Community, Equity, and Racial Justice (CCERJ)


Comprising faculty and staff from all four Potomac divisions, the Cultural Competence Curriculum Team is an important resource for the school community.

The team provides professional development opportunities that focus on equity, cultural competence curriculum, and culturally responsive teaching.


This committee meets monthly to discuss issues related to diversity, inclusion, and equity. The committee plans programs that support Potomac's cultural competence goals; recent programs have included visits by distinguished guest speakers and screenings of relevant films. Additionally, the PACCC helps to organize Potomac's annual Around the World event -- a celebration of the diverse ethnic and cultural heritages of the school community.


What is diversity?

Diversity refers to those differences in identity that impact our social experiences, including status and access to resources. The impacts of those differences play out for entire groups of people, not just individuals. Diversity is always social and contextual. Diversity includes majority and normative identities.

What is equity?

As opposed to treating every individual equally (i.e. identically), equity practice presumes diversity and strives to equalize the ability to thrive by recognizing and addressing unfair cultural and institutional biases and discrimination.

What is Inclusion?

Inclusion is the state of being valued, respected and supported. It’s about focusing on the needs of every individual and ensuring the right conditions are in place for each person to achieve their full potential. 

What is cultural competence?

  • Cultural competence is the ability to work effectively across differences with curiosity, humility, and non-judgment.
  • Cultural competence is the ability to do your best work with people who aren't you.
  • Cultural competence is the application of knowledge, awareness, and skills that lead to effective interactions across individual, group, and institutional level differences. The outcomes of these interactions consistently result in respectful, inclusive, and equitable relationships, treatment, and systems.

– Alison Park (Faculty Professional Day speaker)