Office of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Social Justice

Sewickley Academy is dedicated to being a community that represents and celebrates different backgrounds, talents, interests, and divergent yet informed opinions. 

Our goal is to elevate an inclusive community that allows all to feel welcomed. We firmly insist that every person is an essential member of our community and that their voices should be shared. 

We intentionally create systems and safe spaces that make this happen for our students, faculty, and parents. Inclusive curriculum, diverse clubs, student-led opt-in series, and Seeking Educational Equity and Diversity (SEED) cohort groups for students, parents, faculty, and staff create positive protocols for difficult conversations.
LaVern Burton
Director of DEISJ and Service Learning


Making Spaces for Difficult Conversations

Sewickley Academy also supports student learning through balanced voices in curriculum and heritage assemblies. We are intentional about offering spaces for difficult conversations. We believe students from PreK-12 should have access to a rigorous academic program that is wholly intertwined with social, emotional learning, empowerment, and anti-bias language. 

We continue to use the framework of the National SEED Project and Learning for Justice to deliver a strong foundation for multicultural and anti-bias education in all workshops, sessions, and assemblies for students. 

Spaces mean everything to build an inclusive learning community from Responsive Classroom in the Lower School, Developmental Designs in the Middle School, advisories, and student-driven Opt-INs (spaces for current hot topics ) in the Senior School. 

The Senior school has a unique and dedicated Equity and Inclusion Center that prioritize student planning. 

Assemblies and library resources are tailored to meet curiosity and best age-appropriate practices.

Let Them Lead: Practicing Student Leadership

Sewickley Academy believes that students should grow their confidence in leadership training in preparation for the world beyond campus. Students in all three divisions have leadership roles in diversity programming. The Lower School Equity and Inclusion Ambassadors, the Middle School Student Diversity Club, and the Senior School Student Diversity Leadership Council, and various culture clubs all offer a space to practice agency, confidence, and voice. 

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Everyone is on Board

While we emphasize the student experience in the DEISJ space, this work truly begins at the top with our Board of Trustees.

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D.E.I.S.J. Professional Development

The entire faculty and staff at Sewickley Academy engage in multiple workshops throughout the year that streamlines cultural competence and language. 

These workshops focus on the best inclusive practices related to age, race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, ability (mental and physical), and other cultural identifiers. 

Sewickley Academy uses the framework from the National SEED Project to deliver workshops and training. Faculty and staff select the topics on which they wish to focus. Below are a few examples of internal and external workshops.

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In addition to intentional workshops around the various cultural identifiers and experiences, the Academy recognizes that it takes more than simply reading your way through anti-racist resources. We are committed to the practical application of addressing injustices.

Community members who identify as BIPOC, LGBTQ, and other identities have experienced so many inequities throughout time.

We recognize diversity enhances any learning environment and is a part of the academic experience, and therefore we make space to embrace all differences.

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  • Listening & Viewing

    • “We Need to Talk about Race” - Bryan Stevenson 
    • “The Urgency of Intersectionality” - Kimberle Crenshaw
    • “Race” - Jelani Cobb 
    • “Birth of a White Nation” - Jacqueline Battalora
  • Anti-Racist Articles Read

    • “What is Whiteness?” - Neil Irwin Painters
    • Ta-Nehisi Coates's "The Case for Reparations"Death of George Floyd” - Jelani Cobb
    • "The Injustice of this Moment is Not an 'Aberration'” - Michelle Alexander
  • Anti-Racist Books Read

    • "How to be an Antiracist" by Ibram X. Kendi
    • "White Fragility: Why it's so Hard for White People to Talk about Racism" by Robin DiAngelo
    • "Culturally Responsive Teaching & the Brain: Promoting Authentic Engagement and Rigor Among Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Students" by Zaretta L. Hammond
    • "Me and White Supremacy: Combat Racism, Change the World, and Became a Good Ancestor" by Layla F. Saad
    • "Biased" by Jennifer Eberhardt
    • "Waking Up White: And Finding Myself in the Story of Race" by Debby Irving
    • "Other People's Children: Cultural Conflict in the Classroom" by Lisa Delpit

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  • Photo of LaVern Burton

    LaVern Burton 

    Director of DEISJ and Service Learning
    Boston College - B.S.
  • Photo of Cheryl Lassen

    Cheryl Lassen 

    Health and Physical Education Teacher
    Slippery Rock University - B.S.
  • Photo of Brandi Lawrence

    Brandi Lawrence 

    Grade 5 Teacher
    Howard University - B.A.
    Manhattanville College - M.A.T.
  • Photo of Monica Lynn

    Monica Lynn 

    Lower School Spanish Teacher
    Guilford College - B.S.
    University of San Diego - M.B.A.
  • Photo of Sarah Pease-Kerr

    Sarah Pease-Kerr 

    Senior School English Teacher
    Princeton University - A.B.
    Harvard University - Ed.M.

Contact Us

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Visit Us!

Main Campus

Sewickley Academy
315 Academy Avenue
Sewickley, PA 15143
Sewickley Academy is a nationally recognized

Pittsburgh Private School

enrolling students in Pre-K through Grade 12 on a single campus.