Enriched by Differences

Our differences are what we have in common.

We are committed to being a community where all are welcome and valued, regardless of race, gender identity, sexual orientation, physical ability, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, cultural practices/beliefs, nationality, or perspective.

In recent years, diversity and inclusion have been at the center of discussions within most school communities. While we believe WIS has been an inclusive environment throughout its history, there is always room for improvement. Our faculty, staff, and students participate in activities, events, and clubs that explore how we can learn from each other and express our ideas, beliefs, and opinions with empathy and civility.


A focus on IDI (international-mindedness, diversity, and inclusion) is one of the five key goals in the 2020 Strategic Plan. We established the following definitions so community members will have a common understanding of these terms.

International-Mindedness: A view of the world in which people see themselves connected to the global community and assume a sense of responsibility to its members. It is an awareness of the inter-relatedness of all nations and peoples, and a recognition of the complexity of these relationships. Internationally-minded people appreciate and value the diversity of cultures in the world and make an effort to learn more about them. (This definition comes from the International Baccalaureate.)

Diversity: The full range of differences and similarities — visible and non-visible — that make each individual unique.

Inclusion: The process of recognizing, valuing, and fully leveraging different perspectives and backgrounds to drive results.



Dr. McAdoo's report identified five key areas to address in regard to IDI. The first of these was to clearly define terms; the core definitions are on this page. The information below lists past and ongoing efforts organized into the four areas identified in the IDI Audit. 


WIS students and their families hail from 100 countries. Click on the image above for an interactive version of this map.


  • WIS's IDI Lecture Series kicked off in February 2022 with a presentation on "Black in America" by Julian Hipkins. Lecture two was a parent session on international-mindedness led by Head of School Suzanna Jemsby. Lecture three was actress/songwriter Dara Reneé.
  • Middle and Upper School Affinity Groups have begun meeting. The current groups are: Touched by Adoption, Students of Color, LGBTQ+, and White Accountability and Awareness.
  • Professional development for the 2021-2022 school year has included sessions on international-mindedness, affinity groups, and understanding microaggressions and their impact.
  • WIS launched a new DC History course for Grade 7 students in fall 2021.
  • The school published a gender inclusion policy prior to the start of the 2021-2022 school year; all faculty and staff participated in related professional development.
  • Beginning in April 2021, Lisa began sending regular FR-IDI-DAY Updates to inform parents and students about events, activities, and initiatives supporting IDI.
  • In February 2021, Lisa McNeill (Director of Co-Curricular Programs) assumed the role of IDI Coordinator.
  • Dr. Philip McAdoo, who performed an IDI Audit for WIS in late 2020/early 2021, briefed the Board, the WISPA Board, the Faculty IDI/Parent IDI groups, and student leadership in key clubs during sessions held the weeks of March 15 and 22.
  • We are developing a tool to allow faculty and staff to self-assess their competency in regard to IDI. Once individuals complete the assessment, they will be able to access a database of resources in order to address areas of weakness and interest.
  • The WIS Parents Association has committed to using its resources to support IDI initiatives and programming, and actively seeks involvement/leadership from all parents/guardians, striving for representation to mirror the student population.
  • WIS is developing a Position Paper on IDI to clearly define how IDI intersects with the School's mission.

The Mara Wilson Fund honors the memory of Mara Wilson, a WIS Middle School Art and Design Technology Teacher and artist whose work was defined by her love for her community and her vision for a more just and equitable Washington, DC. The fund is designed to support initiatives at the School that increase awareness about racial inequities; instill a culture that directly challenges and denounces racism; and cultivate a school environment where individuals of color feel safe and confident, and where all community members are equipped to recognize racial insensitivity and feel compelled to take action against it. 

Parents were asked to identify their children by ethnicity. Their answers are reflected in the pie charts above; respondents were permitted to choose more than one option.