IDI Newsletter | October 2023

While this month's IDI Newsletter is backward-looking, focusing on LGBTQ+ History Month (observed in October), the ideas and issues raised are important every day of the year. The history, achievements, and challenges faced by the LGBTQ+ community affect us all daily, and advocacy should not be a responsibility left solely to those most directly affected. Our collective strength lies in our shared dedication to fostering an environment where all people can be their authentic selves and love whomever they choose.

OTHER Dates of Note

October was filled with important observances other than LGTBQ+ History Month. Here are some dates/events of note:

  • Filipino American History Month
  • Disability Employment Awareness Month 
  • Italian-American Heritage Month
  • Banned Books Week (October 1-7) (LEARN MORE)
  • National Hispanic Heritage Month (through October 15)
  • Sukkot (through October 6)
  • Indigenous Peoples’ Day (October 9)
  • National Coming Out Day (October 11)
  • Navaratri (October 15)


IDI Community Spotlights shine a light on individuals within our community who share a connection with the identity we are celebrating. This month, we are honored to present a video interview with one of our Upper School teachers, and written submissions from a Grade 12 student and a Middle School teacher.

IDI Video Interview

Charles Gueboguo, esteemed Upper School French and TOK teacher, is the star of our IDI Video Interview this month. He has recently published a thought-provoking article titled "Queerizing Africa through Homo Inclusioafrianus." His article has appeared in both French and English. Join us as we delve into his insights, exploring the intersections of identity, inclusion, and activism.


We had some great submissions for this month's IDI Playlist—thank you! Picking the top 10 was difficult but Janelle Monáe and Omar Apollo came in on top and earned a prize for their submitters (Mr. Althaus and Ms. Merianos). CLICK HERE to go to the Spotify Play list or open the Spotify App on your phone to scan the code below. 

As we gear up to commemorate Native American Heritage Month next month, we're excited to announce the theme for our upcoming IDI Playlist: "Native American Artists You Need to Know." And here's the best part: we want YOU to be a part of the playlist creation process! Submit your favorite Native American artists and their tracks for consideration, using the following FORM. Your contributions will help us spotlight the incredible talent within the Native American community and celebrate their unique voices through music.

WIS's Communication Policy

The ubiquity of inputs into all of our lives means that we are consistently innundated with news and information—sometimes delightful, sometimes disturbing. Several years ago the WIS Board of Trustees spent time reflecting about WIS's institutional role in regard to commentary on issues. Ultimately, the decision was that the school's organizational (non-partisan) status and the diversity of our community make it impossible to fully address all issues of interest to members of the community. The Communications Policy clearly indicates that the School will refrain from public messaging on issues not directly affecting the health and safety of the School community. That said, we want to support students and teachers in civil discourse about topics of interest. Spaces and resources are always available through counselors, teachers, principals, the central administration, and the IDI office.

Mi Palabra Favorita

This fall, IB DP Spanish B revisited a core theme: identities. Students explored the question, "How does language and culture contribute to forming our identity?" They discussed how learning a second (or, in some cases, a third) language changed their view of the world and were challenged to identify a favorite Spanish word.

Media Recommendations

Primary School

The heartwarming children's book "and tango makes three" tells the true story of two male penguins at the Central Park Zoo who form a loving partnership and raise an egg together.

"In a Heartbeat" (Short Film): A delightful animated short about a young boy's heart literally chasing after the boy he has a crush on, exploring themes of love and self-acceptance.

Middle School 

Available on Disney+ "Love, Simon" is a coming-of-age film about a high school student who navigates the challenges of coming out and finding love. It's a heartwarming and relatable story for middle school students.

Upper School

The novel "Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe" by Benjamin Alire Sáenz explores the deep friendship and potential romance between two Mexican-American boys as they navigate the complexities of identity and relationships.

Available on Netflix, this film follows the story of Ellie Chu, a smart and introverted student who agrees to help a jock, Paul Munsky, write love letters to a girl they both secretly admire. As the story unfolds, it delves into themes of self-discovery, friendship, and the complexities of love.

IDI Happening at WIS


On November 1 and 2, our Middle and Upper School Making and Design Initiatives Coordinator Kristin Kullberg invites students and staff to be an active part of our community ofrenda, a space inspired by the altars found in many Mexican homes during Día de los Muertos. This is a tradition centered on celebrating those who came before us. 

Friday Family Film Series

The WIS Extended Learning (WISEL) Family Film Series begins on Friday, November 3, with Le Petit Nicolas: Qu'est-ce qu'on attend pour être Heureux? This film is geared toward younger children but is appropriate for all ages. The screening will begin at 6:30 PM in the Black Box Theater on the Tregaron Campus. Children attend for free; accompanying adults will be charged $5.00 per ticket. Get advance tickets HERE. We'll provide the popcorn and one special thematic treat, but feel free to bring your own snacks as well.


Have you ever wondered what it's like to walk into a classroom to learn a language you've never heard...and the teacher speaks only that language? This is your chance to experience immersion language learning. Our first WIS Speakeasy of the 2023-2024 school year will be November 7, from 5:45–6:45 PM. The participants in last year's Speakeasy sessions enjoyed the challenge and we hope you will too. We're keeping the language of instruction a secret: RSVP here

Middle School Affinity Groups

In the Middle School, affinity groups have commenced, and some have already held their initial meetings. These groups encompass a wide range of interests and identities, including those for LGBTQ+ students, Black students, and those who identify as neurodiverse. If you seek more information or have any questions, please don't hesitate to reach out to Mr. Wynter or Ash Beck, the Middle School IDI Coordinator. We're here to support and provide you with the details you need.

Around Town

Native Knowledge and Teaching for Change

 For staff interested in exploring how Native American History and Culture can be explored in the classroom. Join the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI) and Teaching for Change for a day of online conversation, curriculum highlights, workshops, and idea exchange — preceded by a short keynote presentation. If you are interested please reach out to your Divisions Director of Teaching and Learning.

George Walker

The National Symphony Orchestra (NSO) is honoring George Walker, the first African American composer to receive a Pulitzer Prize and a D.C. native, on his centennial. The NSO's special connection to George Walker and the collaboration history is making this celebration exceptional. We encourage you to consider attending one of the NSO's upcoming performances to experience the magic of orchestral music and learn more about George Walker's remarkable legacy. For event details and tickets, please click HERE.

As we wrap up this October edition of our IDI Newsletter, we celebrate the vibrant and diverse voices that have illuminated our community during LGBTQ+ History Month. They are a testament to the power of unity, acceptance, and education. #pridepastandpresent