An Independent School • Grades 5-12

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Lakeside School has been engaged in diversity work for over a half-century, and our mission articulates our commitment to sustain a school in which “individuals representing diverse cultures and experiences instruct one another in the meaning and value of community.” We recognize diversity alone does not lead to inclusion, and we take active steps to create an environment in which the identities and cultural backgrounds of our families, students, and employees are valued and respected.

We believe that diversity is essential to achieving educational and academic excellence, and that students’ learning experiences are enriched by the diversity of the curriculum, faculty, and student body. Lakeside is committed to creating an inclusive and equitable community in which all individuals can participate in and contribute to the life of the school, regardless of race, gender, class, religion, sexual orientation, or any other aspect of their identity. We actively work to gain a deeper understanding of difference and how we honor it in our daily lives at school.

To learn more about our work in any of the areas below, contact Jamie Asaka, director of equity and inclusion/director of student and family support, at or 206-440-2901.

On Pride

by Chris Hartley, director of athletics

Seeing ourselves and our values

Q&A with Zinda Foster, Upper School service learning coordinator/Upper School student center and activities director

Curriculum and Instruction

Lakeside School works to create equitable classrooms in which students have equal access and opportunities to learn and achieve to their fullest potential. We promote cross-cultural understanding and engagement by teaching our students to learn about and from others who differ from themselves.

Lakeside’s teachers participate in ongoing education and training in the areas of diversity and equity in curriculum and teaching practices. We strive to foster diverse and equitable classrooms in the following ways:

  • Provide students with a diverse teaching faculty.
  • Develop relevant curricula that incorporates diverse perspectives, materials, and texts and that supports the diverse backgrounds and experiences of our students.
  • Address biases, stereotypes, inaccuracies, and absent perspectives in curricular content.
  • Utilize a wide range of instructional and assessment strategies to enhance student learning and understanding.
  • Provide learning opportunities for students to develop an understanding of themselves and others who are culturally different.
  • Foster critical thinking and reflective analysis from various perspectives.
  • Give equal access and opportunities to all students to fully participate and contribute regardless of gender, race, ethnicity, socioeconomic class, religion, sexual orientation, or any other identity.

Student Programs

Students learn about, engage with, and lead work in diversity, equity, and inclusion at Lakeside School. This takes place in the following ways.

  • Affinity and alliance groups: Research shows that students who feel they are able to fully be themselves and have a strong sense of self perform better academically. For over 20 years, Lakeside has supported students’ positive identity development by offering student affinity and alliance group programs. The programs follow best practices and serve to support students in learning about themselves and about others. Learn more about affinity and alliance groups and the role of identity in classroom learning.
  • Peer facilitation: Upper School students can apply for a program in which they are trained in how to facilitate meaningful and difficult conversations in an environment that fosters active listening, mutual understanding, and personal connection. They learn to identify and address potential obstacles to communication, such as students’ fears of offending others, appearing ignorant, or feeling vulnerable. Learn more about the genesis of this work.
  • Student dialogues: Lakeside values cross-cultural communication and engagement. Students in the Middle and Upper schools regularly participate in developmentally appropriate, structured dialogues with their peers regarding aspects of diversity and inclusion.
  • Conferences and retreats: Lakeside Middle School and Upper School students regularly participate in regional and national conferences, including the annual National Association of Independent Schools’ Student Diversity Leadership Conference, and the Northwest Association of Independent Schools’ Student Diversity Leadership Retreat. The Upper School’s Student Awareness Council hosts an annual retreat during which students engage in activities and discussions about race, class, and gender in order to raise awareness on our campus and promote strong and healthy community relationships.

Physical and Cultural Environment

Lakeside believes that having a learning environment that is safe and welcoming to all is of primary importance. Lakeside regularly reviews its policies and procedures to ensure that we are meeting student and employee needs. Learn more about some of our work in this area. Lakeside does not discriminate on the basis of age, color, creed, disability, marital status, national or ethnic origin, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, use of a trained guide dog or service animal by a person with a disability, or genetic information.

Meaningful relationships between students and their teachers is part of what makes Lakeside a world-class educational institution. A core goal of our ongoing diversity work is to have a faculty that reflects the racial and ethnic diversity of Lakeside’s student population. A diverse faculty benefits our community by bringing a wide range of perspectives to the classroom and providing all of our students with role models that represent a broad range of backgrounds and human experiences.

As part of our diversity and inclusion initiative, we worked to establish more inclusive hiring processes that allow us to draw from diverse pools of highly qualified candidates. We regularly train department chairs and administrators on bias-free hiring and interviewing.


The team focused on diversity, equity, and inclusion is charged with leading and guiding the school in achieving its goals in this area. Some of their responsibilities include:

  • Managing the implementation of the school’s diversity and inclusion goals. In particular, the goals associated with the initiative Our Work Together: Inclusion, Multiculturalism, Respect.
  • Recruiting, networking with, and retaining faculty of color.
  • Supporting and promoting the development of diverse and inclusive curricula and teaching practices that support all students.
  • Developing student leadership and education in diversity, equity, and inclusion.
  • Providing adult education and professional development in cultural competency.
  • Maintaining Lakeside’s regional and national profile by writing articles and presenting workshops to educators.
Campus-wide diversity leadership groups include the all-school diversity committee, the T.J. Vassar diversity and community committee of the Parents and Guardians Association, and the student affinity/alliance leadership team (SAALT).