Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging (DEIB) at MSD

Welcome to MSD.

Hello! We’re happy you’re here. MSD’s commitment to making sure everyone feels seen, heard and welcomed runs deep in our Montessori roots. We are a community built upon a deep respect for the individual dignity of every person and an understanding that our connections as humans are indivisible.

At MSD, we endeavor to create an environment that is not only diverse, but also inclusive, by fostering a sense of belonging for every member of our thriving community. That sense of belonging is a critical component of the values we embody and impart to our students every day.

Our Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging. (DEIB) work is always ongoing, and is embedded throughout our classrooms and within all school activities, rather than in standalone events. We work hard toward creating and promoting a culture of compassion, kindness, and equitability in the world. As Dr. Maria Montessori reminds us, “education is the best weapon for peace” (Education and Peace). In addition, we regularly issue the National Association of Independent Schools’ (NAIS) Assessment of Inclusion and Multiculturalism (AIM) to upper school students, all staff and parents in order to gauge community feelings of inclusivity across our campus, so that we can continue to grow and evolve our culture of belonging.

Learn more about our commitment to maintaining and expanding our inclusive community by exploring some examples of the work we’re doing below.


Marissa McCullough, DEIB Coordinator and

Joo Ree Chu, Director of Student Support

MSD is affiliated with the Colorado Diversity Network and CIRCLE (Connecting Inclusive, Responsive Communities Leading Education)

Montessori School of Denver students and teacher in library | DEIB

Faculty and Staff Engagement

As MSD faculty and staff members, we:

  • Support children where they are
  • Provide a safe space to ask questions
  • Answer questions in a developmentally appropriate manner
  • Teach truthful history as a tool for learning and growing
  • Are committed to increasing gender and racial diversity among faculty, including hiring more men and people of color into Montessori-certified teaching and administrative positions
  • Support individuals with non-binary, trans, or fluid gender identities
  • Have all-gender bathrooms in nearly all areas of the school
  • Assign roles in school plays based on student request and audition, not gender identity
  • Welcome and support families with diverse religious beliefs and practices within the scope of our school mission
  • Invite families to share their traditions, celebrations, holidays, and cultural experiences with us, allowing students to authentically gain understanding and appreciation of the world around them
  • Consciously schedule parent events to accommodate various work and religious schedules by creating a mix of events on days, evenings, Saturdays, and Sundays
  • Participate in Anti-Bias, Anti-Racism (ABAR) and DEIB-related Professional Development on an annual, ongoing basis

"I love MSD and feel included and supported as a valuable member of the community. I’ve loved it since I first interviewed and felt accepted and truly welcomed."

- Current MSD parent

Student Engagement

Our students are all taught to:

  • Show respect for all people
  • Learn about and celebrate diverse identities and experiences
  • Ask for help when unsure
  • Admit and make amends when we have made a mistake
  • Navigate conflicts in healthy, respectful ways

Our students participate in:

  • Weekly Spanish language and cultural lessons from Toddler – 8th grade
  • Community gatherings and celebrations that recognize a wide variety of cultures and experiences
  • Family classroom presentations of traditions, celebrations, holidays, and cultural experiences that allow them to authentically gain understanding and appreciation of the world around them
  • Semester-long continent studies that examine how people live, work and play around the world
  • The Elementary Guest Speaker Series, designed to deepen student understanding about individual differences and help students see the importance of celebrating diversity (Lower and Upper Elementary)
  • Black, Indigenous People of Color (BIPOC) Affinity Groups (Elementary and Middle School)
  • MMUN – Montessori Model United Nations (Middle School)
  • STAMP Conference (Middle School)

And much, much more.

Montessori School of Denver students participate in festival cultural de Mayo | DEIB
Montessori School of Denver students participate in festival cultural de Mayo | DEIB

Community Engagement

Parents, students, faculty, staff and guests participate in:

  • Annual program-level coffees designed to educate parents on DEIB topics covered in the classrooms, in order to continue these conversations at home
  • Community-wide gatherings that celebrate a wide variety of cultures and traditions, typically through performance and art
  • Interactive events for our entire community, Including most recently, a traveling exhibit from the Family Diversity Projects, and our annual Festival Cultural de Mayo (Cultural Festival of May) and Lunar New Year Celebrations, among others
  • MSD’s DEIB Speaker Series, which frequently allows opportunities for parent participation
  • Classroom sharing of family traditions, celebrations, holidays, and cultural experiences with us, allowing students to authentically gain understanding and appreciation of the world around them

"The commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging is reassuring. I was so pleased that our tour kicked off with a land acknowledgement. We are an indigenous, mixed raced and LGBTQ household, so knowing MSD fosters a welcoming community and well-informed staff is very important to our family. Empowerment in identity is such an essential part of a successful educational experience, we feel we can trust MSD to value and honor our daughter and family as members of the school community."

- Current MSD parent

DEIB Speaker Series for Parent Community, Faculty & Staff

MSD’s inclusivity commitment begins with a high level of cultural competency among school leaders, faculty, and staff. Individual educators within our community are establishing themselves as influencers in the Montessori diversity space, as well as locally via the Colorado Diversity Network and CIRCLE (Connecting Inclusive, Responsive Communities Leading Education). Ongoing professional development has included work with national speakers like Dr. Derrick Gay, Britt Hawthorne and Rosetta Lee as well as local speakers and workshops. The knowledge gained through professional development is applied to regular review of our curriculum, classroom materials, resources, and books available in the library. Staff have self-organized around topics of interest, leading to speaking events, community gatherings, and equity consultants that have helped the entire school learn.

Dr. Derrick Gay - 2018

Dr. Derrick Gay - 2018

Topics: Preparing Students for Success in the 21st Century; Exploring the 3rd Rail: Race; Cultivating Empathy and Kindness; What do Children Understand About Differences?

Randi Reinhold - 2019

Randi Reinhold - 2019

Topics: Gender Identity and Sexuality

Rosetta Lee - 2020

Rosetta Lee - 2020

Topics: Courageous Conversations; Parenting with Identity in Mind; Talking to Youth About Heated Topics; Beyond the Why & How; Practical Steps Toward Inclusive Classrooms

Britt Hawthorne - 2020/2021

Britt Hawthorne - 2020/2021

Topics: Introduction to Anti-Bias Education; Anti-Bias at Home;  Anti-Bias Education for Families: How to Create Brave Spaces at Home

* MSD Distinguished Speaker Series

Montessori School of Denver is committed to recognizing the rich diversity of our students and community, and to fostering an environment of inclusion and belonging. We respect the individuality of all people, including but not limited to age, economic means, ethnicity, family composition, gender identity, gender expression, learning differences, race, religion, and sexual orientation. We provide a true multicultural education through our curriculum and our service-learning activities. We seek to reflect the world in which we live through our community of administrators, faculty, students, and their families, and we welcome each community member’s unique experiences and worldviews. We strive to be a cohesive, caring community that is unified in its common values.