In 2002, Independent School Diversity Network (ISDN) began as a way to provide networking opportunities for families of students enrolled in independent schools facing diversity challenges in their communities ( What Is Diversity?). Educators and others interested in collaborating with parents soon became involved and brought increased knowledge about these issues to their individual schools to improve their institution's community life. This broader connection between schools provided a constant resource for information, empowered parents and helped to eliminate the need for each school to “reinvent the wheel” in their diversity work.
The Co- Founders of ISDN, Esther Hatch and Wendy Van Amson, have had children who have collectively attended seven different independent schools. Both have been actively involved in education focused diversity programs for over fifteen years. Through their collective independent school affiliations, they have worked closely with families, educators, diversity directors and administrators. Their shared experiences of working with independent schools solidified their belief that a network was needed to serve as an ongoing means of communication and support for independent school communities. Wendy and Esther found that the collaboration between institutions and between schools and families was essential in developing equitable learning environments. This will enhance education and improve the social and emotional well being of all students.
Over the years, ISDN has sponsored numerous inter-school forums and workshops for parents and educators. Some topics have included: Identifying the right educational fit, retention of faculty and students of color, micro-aggressions, learning differences, socioeconomic concerns and student/adult dialogues about multiculturalism (See our Past Events, and Event History)
ISDN welcomes all school communities to participate in events and workshops. We also hope that institutions will become more involved by joining our growing network of institutional members.