To achieve our mission of educating students “to think and act with empathy, courage and clarity as responsible citizens and leaders in a diverse democratic society and global community,” our faculty is committed to healthy identity formation and intellectual development within each learner at Parker.

Within our classrooms, teachers intentionally foster identity development through robust curricula across all domains (e.g., athletics, arts, mathematics, reading, science, social studies, world language, social-emotional learning as well as diversity, equity, inclusion, belonging and beyond). Teachers develop students’ academic skills while engaging them based on the interests, experiences, goals and needs of the class community, fostering empathy, communication and collaboration across similarities and differences.

Consistent with our Diversity Statement, specifically our commitment to “teach students about diversity…so they may learn to treat others with respect and kindness and challenge behaviors that oppress, exclude or demean,” we continually reevaluate our academic and advisory curricula so that students regularly see windows into different identities and cultures and mirrors of their own; meaningfully engage with others across differences (in thought, lived experience, etc.); and learn that the power to create a more just, inclusive and equitable society originates from the establishment of diverse communities where all members feel a deep sense of belonging.

Diversity Statement

Francis W. Parker School strives to uphold its mission to educate for character and citizenship by recognizing and respecting all members of the community in all areas of school life. Founded on the belief that diversity enriches learning and that a diverse community benefits everyone, the school is deliberately composed of a diverse group of people so that we may learn how to honor the dignity and experience of every human being.

Parker strives to create a safe and inclusive environment where students learn to have courageous conversations about differences in experiences, opinions, ideas, interests and identities that shape humanity. Parker also aims to cultivate a school community that teaches with sensitivity about differences including, but not limited to, race, sex, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, sexual orientation, political and social values, culture, gender identity, religion, physical ability and learning style.

At Francis W. Parker School, we believe, as part of a global world, we must teach students about diversity to strengthen their capacity to relate to one another so they may learn to treat others with respect and kindness and challenge behaviors that oppress, exclude or demean the humanity of others.

Parker’s commitment to diversity informs its approach to admissions and hiring; its support of financial assistance to families of varying socioeconomic means; and its belief in the importance of developing the school’s curriculum, community and culture in ways that connect our students’ experiences with our broader society and with the wider world.

Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging Coordinators

Parker’s Director of DEIB and Diversity Coordinators collaborate to facilitate opportunities that promote awareness and understanding of DEIB by developing programs for faculty, staff, parents/guardians and students.

Student Affinity and Ally Groups

Affinity groups provide a safe space for students with shared identities to come together and discuss their experiences at Parker as well as an opportunity for positive identity development. Our affinity group curriculum and programs empower students to find and strengthen their voices and stand up for and advocate for themselves. Affinity groups help students gain a stronger sense of self which, in turn, strengthens the overall Parker community. 

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  • Intermediate School Martes Social

    ¡Buenos Días! Martes Social is a Spanish language and culture enrichment club. Students share breakfast, use their Spanish language skills and learn new vocabulary as they celebrate aspects of their cultural studies together.
  • Intermediate School Pride Alliance

    This group uses articles in the news, videos, discussions and activities to raises awareness, center and amplify the individual and collective realities, narratives and experiences of people within the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or questioning/queer (LGBTQ+) communities. 
  • Middle School Asian and Asian-American Affinity Alliance

    This group aims to celebrate the plethora of distinct Asian cultures in our Middle School and provide support, information and a dedicated time and space to express one’s shared experiences as they engage in the process of developing their own identities and consider the role of how their racial, ethnic identities and/or nationality plays a role in that process.
  • Middle School Black Heritage Affinity Group

    This group provides an opportunity for students to share and explore their life and experiences within a space defined by their self-identified membership within the Black and African-American community within and beyond the school. 
  • Middle School La Mesa Hispana

    La Mesa Hispana, The Hispanic Table, is for students who self-identify as Hispanic to gather around a “table” with those who have an interest in Hispanic culture of any identity. The group explores food, music, art, dance, history and more with interested native speakers sharing their own cultures. 
  • Middle School Pride Alliance

    Any 6th, 7th or 8th grader who is interested in supporting equity for all, regardless of sexual orientation, gender preference or adherence to stereotypical gender roles is invited to participate. This group uses articles in the news, videos, discussions and activities to raises awareness, center and amplify the individual and collective realities, narratives and experiences of people within the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender or Questioning/Queer (LGBTQ+) communities. MS Pride Alliance strives to ensure a safe and inclusive school for LGBTQ+ students, in part by using and promoting positive and inclusive language.
  • Students of Color Affinity Groups (SOCA)

    Within each of our four divisions, our SOCAs provide a safe space for students to share and discuss their experiences of race in order to feel supported, included and successful.

    While affinity groups have historically been more popular in upper grades, research and experience inform us that individuals in the United States are considering their racial identities as early as age three. They are noticing differences and attributing generalizations to those differences as they make sense of the world around them and their own place within it. We are putting a concerted effort into ensuring that all students, regardless of their racial identity, have the opportunity to form positive self-images. However, we know that young students of color face greater challenges because of the messages they often receive from society and can benefit from connecting with other students of color and being mentored by adults of color.
  • Upper School Asian Alliance (AA)

    The Asian Alliance welcomes those in the Parker community who identify as Asian to share experiences share experiences and feelings in a place where they feel safe and heard.
    Asian Alliance is an affinity group where everyone who identifies as Asian or Asian-American can speak freely about their varying experiences. The group brings awareness that there is an Asian spectrum, rather than just East Asia. While the main focus is to deal with issues affecting our community and advance our community, the group also finds interactive ways to connect by including opportunities to share our cultures with the rest of the student body along with celebrating our differences within the club itself.
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  • Upper School Black Student Union (BSU)

    The Black Student Union provides a space to learn and share life experiences and fellowship with Black students and employees.
  • Upper School Jewish Student Connection (JSC)

    Jewish Student Connection is an affinity group for those who identify as Jewish to  come together on a regular basis to enjoy meaningful experiences. The group will celebrate our cultural and ethnic diversity, discuss local and national issues impacting Jews and share our perspectives with the greater school community. The group will also have fun holiday celebrations, engaging programming and lots of Jewish of food!
  • Upper School Men of Color Heritage Affinity (MOCHA)

    This group of students who identify as people of color hosts events, teach-ins and MXes, embarks on field trips and have weekly meetings with food to enjoy each other’s company! 
  • Upper School Multi-Racial Affinity group (MRA)

    The Multi-Racial Affinity Group brings people of multiple races together to share their experiences connecting with the many parts of their heritage.
  • Upper School Muslim Student Association (MSA)

    The Muslim Student Association fosters an environment wherein Muslims at Parker can interact with each other through a variety of social, educational and religious activities. 
  • Upper School Organization of Latin American Students (OLAS)

    The Organization of Latin American Students provides a safe and comfortable space for Latine students at Parker to meet, discuss current events and our experience as Latine people at Parker and in the broader community.
  • Upper School PRIDE

    PRIDE is an Upper School student committee and affinity group in one. The committee works together to host schoolwide events for Parker, such as Pride Week, MXes and teach-ins. The affinity group component aims to provide a welcoming space for students and host meaningful conversations to assure everyone feels heard and included.
  • Upper School South Asian Student Alliance (SASA)

    The South Asian Student Alliance is an affinity group specifically for students who originate from South Asia.
  • Upper School Women’s Affinity Group (WAG)

    The Women’s Affinity Group is for female-identifying members of the community to socialize, talk about experiences, discuss concerns and anything else important to our community, as well as our society.
  • Upper School Women of Color Affinity Group (WOCA)

    The Women of Color Affinity Group allows women of color collectively to come together and speak about being a woman of color at Parker.

Parent/Guardian Education

Annual parent/guardian education opportunities help further the partnership between home and community.

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  • Lower and Intermediate School Diversity Dialogues

    These interactive workshops provide a time and space for Lower School faculty and members of Parker’s school-wide diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging team to explore concepts of identity and ways to begin and sustain developmentally appropriate conversations with students.
  • Parent/Guardian SEED Meetings (Seeking Educational Equity and Diversity)

    SEED is a peer-led professional development program that promotes change through self-reflection and interpersonal dialogue and builds capacity for more equitable curriculum, campuses, workplaces and communities
  • Parent/Guardian Workshops

    These important workshops invite parents/guardians to consider the topic “Will Your Child Be Ready for Success in the 21st Century?” by discussing the ways many parents/ guardians inadvertently prepare their children to live in the world they grew up in, rather than the 21st century global society that children will inherit—with globalization, changing demographics in the United States and a more collaborative workforce. The ability to communicate effectively across difference is non-negotiable for 21st century global citizens who will matriculate into an international collegiate experience and a multicultural professional and social environment.

Parent/Guardian Affinity Groups

Our Parents’ Association currently includes four parent/guardian affinity groups. More information about each group is available below.

List of 4 items.

  • Jewish Parent/Guardian Affinity Group

    The Jewish Parent Affinity group aims to provide a safe space for parents/guardians of diverse Jewish identities to gather and foster discussion, offer support and be in service together. We stand against antisemitism and will be in action when needed. We celebrate both our shared Jewish experiences, while deepening our understanding and compassion for our experiences which differ. Parents/Guardians who themselves or a family member identify culturally, ethnically and/or religiously as Jewish are welcome, as well as those whose family’s ancestors were imprisoned or died in the Shoah for their ethnic and ideological association with Jews or otherwise.

    For more information, please contact
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  • LGBTQ+ Parent/Guardian Affinity Group

    Our group of parents and guardians seeks to build community among Parker families with LGBTQ+ family members by: Creating a safe space to forge meaningful personal connections Celebrating our diverse community Providing families with avenues to connect with the broader Parker LGBTQ+ community (i.e., student groups (Pride Alliance & PRIDE) and the faculty LGBTQ+ group).

    For more information, please contact
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  • Parent/Guardian Affinity Group for Those Who Identify as Having Families Touched by Disability

    This affinity group is an avenue for parents and guardians who identify as having families touched by disability (i.e., one or more members of your family identify as having a disability). This could include physical, psychological, intellectual, developmental, learning, speech/communication, visual or hearing impairments. This also includes families that have one or more neurodivergent members of their household, such as ADHD and Autism. This group is meant to be a large tent and all are welcome. We strive to be a place where families can come together to connect and support one another, share resources and ideas and work together to foster increased awareness and inclusion within the greater Parker community.

    For more information, please contact
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  • Parents/Guardians of Black Students

    Parents and Guardians of Black Students is an affinity group that is open to all parents and guardians who identify as having a Black student at Parker. Our group's mission is to promote unity, provide support, advocacy, and build a sustained and engaged community among Parents and Guardians of Black Students. Our vision is to center our children’s identity and strengthen the connection between our families through cultural programming and events and to offer a space to discuss challenges related to identity and to transform that discussion into action when necessary.

    For more information, please contact
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2023–24 Conferences and Speakers

Administrators of Color
in Independent Schools Conference
Thursday, October 24 and Friday, October 25
More here

This conference offers administrators of color opportunities for connection, mentoring and sharing.
Cullen J. Davis
Young Men of Color Symposium
for Middle and Upper School
Students of Color in
Independent Schools
This symposium provides participants with opportunities to explore their multiple identities and learn skills geared towards self-advocacy and community building through workshops and facilitator-led conversations. 
Young Women of Color Symposium
Saturday, March 2
9 a.m.–3 p.m.
The Young Women of Color Symposium is a leadership conference for 7th–12th grade, self-identified young women of color in the Chicagoland area. In order to protect, support and empower young women of color, Loyola Academy and Francis W. Parker School have partnered together to create a space for conversation, connection and community.
Francis W. Parker School educates students to think and act with empathy, courage and clarity as responsible citizens and leaders in a diverse democratic society and global community.