Life at Ellis

Equity and Inclusion

The Ellis community pursues, supports, and embraces diversity of all kinds,

recognizing the collective strength derived from our individual differences. We are committed to creating a school environment in which all students feel welcome, known, heard, safe, and treated fairly, while establishing ourselves as a leader in equity and justice initiatives.
  • We recognize and celebrate the unique value and dignity of every student.
  • We commit to doing the work of diversity, equity, and inclusion both internally and externally.
  • We foster authentic and reciprocal relationships with families.
  • We strive to teach a culturally sustaining curriculum and engage in culturally sustaining instructional practices. 

Culture Jam

Culture Jam is an annual student-led and produced conference focused on diversity. It is designed to empower students to have courageous conversations alongside their peers. Culture Jam offers a safe, inclusive space for high school students to discuss equity-related issues that are present in schools, the Pittsburgh region, and the global community.

Ellisians for an Inclusive Community

Ellisians for an Inclusive Community (EFIC) is a group of faculty, administrators, and staff who meet regularly to promote diversity, inclusion, and equity in all aspects of school life

Family Affinity Groups

Fostering authentic and reciprocal relationships with and among families is one of the ways Ellis establishes an equitable and inclusive school community. Parent Affinity Groups bring together parents who share a core identifier. They provide a safe environment in which parents who share a specific identity can come together for building community and empowerment while supporting Ellis students who share their core identifier. 

Student Affinity Groups

Student Affinity Groups bring together students who share a core identifier, providing a safe environment in which students who share a specific identity can come together for building community while supporting and empowering one another. Affinity Groups prepare community members to engage effectively in cross/intercultural exchanges.

Middle School Affinity Groups

Upper School Alliance Groups

Denise LaRosa

Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

With the United States’ increasingly diverse population intertwined with historical and contemporary societal injustices, it has become imperative that schools make creating a diverse, equitable, and inclusive school community a priority, not just an idea to put on paper. We at Ellis are committed to establishing our school as a leader in equity and justice initiatives through a strategic and intentional approach to diversity, equity, and inclusion work and initiatives. At its core, this work begins with all students feeling that they are seen, heard, and known throughout their school community.

As a member of the Ellis community, I have witnessed the continued evolution of The Ellis School’s aim to ensure every student is seen, heard, known, feels safe, and is treated fairly through the lens of both a faculty member and a parent of two students of color. One of my favorite African proverbs is “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” Creating a diverse, equitable, and inclusive school community takes time, intentionality, and a collective effort. It is my hope that together, we can go far and deep into the work that will affirm and sustain the identities of all students who grace the Ellis campus.

Learn With Us

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  • Starting the Conversation: How to Discuss Race with Your Children

    Do you want to talk to your child about race but aren’t sure where or how to begin? This free webinar presented by Denise LaRosa, Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at Ellis, addresses how parents can start having these important discussions at home. An educator, parent to two daughters, and Ph.D. candidate in Language, Literacy, and Culture at University of Pittsburgh’s School of Education, Denise speaks to how parents can lead with compassion and develop a sense of empathy in their children as they discuss identity, race, and equity.

    Watch Webinar
  • Sync Up: Cultivating a Continued Sense of Belonging for All Children

    When your child’s typical schedule is suddenly flipped on its head, it can be difficult to find ways for them to socialize and interact with other kids their age. With playdates and events continuing to be placed on hold, you’re probably wondering how your child can stay connected to their community and continue to thrive from the comfort and safety of home. Denise LaRosa, Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at The Ellis School, is here to help. Learn how you can foster a sense of belonging for your child, even during times of social distancing.

    Watch Webinar