A coeducational day school serving students JK-12

Building an Understanding of Identity and Intersectionality in the Classroom

According to Psychologist Beverly Daniel Tatum, identity is shaped by individual characteristics, family dynamics, historical factors, and social and political contexts. However, the concept of identity can be complex because the answer to “who am I?” largely depends on who the world around me says I am. (For more information on Tatum’s work, please refer to this essay, “The Complexity of Identity: Who Am I?”
Students at Latin begin learning about identity as early as junior kindergarten. In addition to thinking about the question, “who am I?”, young students begin building an understanding of intersectionality, a term used to describe how race, class, gender and other individual characteristics “intersect” with each other.

An exercise that helped prepare Latin’s lower school teachers for working through conversations around identity and intersectionality with students was thinking about this series of questions:

“How do you identify yourself? And͑ what is the most important part of your identity? Is it your sex, your race or ethnicity, your sexual orientation, your class status, your nationality, your religious affiliation, your age, your physical or cognitive abilities, your political beliefs? Is there one part of your identity that stands out from the rest or does your identity change depending on who you’re with, what you’re involved in, where you are in your life?” (SOURCE: Critical Media Project)

In the classroom, students have been working on creating identity maps and writing “I Am” poems and talking about “single stories.” Ask your student about the classroom discussions they are having related to these topics.

The study of identity and intersectionality continues in each division at Latin. 

Inspired by Norman Rockwell's work, "The Four Freedoms," middle school students have the opportunity in art class to create a digital representation of past times or how they witness these freedoms displayed today. Students selected topics and backgrounds that reflect issues of national and global importance in their own lives. Then, using Photoshop, the students manipulated figures and environments to communicate their ideas.

Ninth grade students in the Global Studies Visual Arts (GSVA) classes learn to use art as a form of expressing themselves. This project culminates in a photograph of the students’ hands covered with hand-drawn simple or elaborate patterns and words that reflect their hopes and fears. During this unit, ninth graders study a series of artistic methods and artists to better understand identity expression through art.

Latin will be embarking on a curricular review facilitated by the DEI team using Learning for Justice's Social Justice Standards over the next two years, where one of the areas of focus includes how identity work is woven through the curriculum in grades JK through 12.

  • DEI
  • lower sc
Building an Understanding of Identity and Intersectionality in the Classroom

According to Psychologist Beverly Daniel Tatum, identity is shaped by individual characteristics, family dynamics, historical factors, and social and political contexts. However, the concept of identity can be complex because the answer to “who am I?” largely depends on who the world around me says I am. (For more information on Tatum’s work, please refer to this essay, “The Complexity of Identity: Who Am I?”
Students at Latin begin learning about identity as early as junior kindergarten. In addition to thinking about the question, “who am I?”, young students begin building an understanding of intersectionality, a term used to describe how race, class, gender and other individual characteristics “intersect” with each other.

An exercise that helped prepare Latin’s lower school teachers for working through conversations around identity and intersectionality with students was thinking about this series of questions:

“How do you identify yourself? And͑ what is the most important part of your identity? Is it your sex, your race or ethnicity, your sexual orientation, your class status, your nationality, your religious affiliation, your age, your physical or cognitive abilities, your political beliefs? Is there one part of your identity that stands out from the rest or does your identity change depending on who you’re with, what you’re involved in, where you are in your life?” (SOURCE: Critical Media Project)

In the classroom, students have been working on creating identity maps and writing “I Am” poems and talking about “single stories.” Ask your student about the classroom discussions they are having related to these topics.

The study of identity and intersectionality continues in each division at Latin. 

Inspired by Norman Rockwell's work, "The Four Freedoms," middle school students have the opportunity in art class to create a digital representation of past times or how they witness these freedoms displayed today. Students selected topics and backgrounds that reflect issues of national and global importance in their own lives. Then, using Photoshop, the students manipulated figures and environments to communicate their ideas.

Ninth grade students in the Global Studies Visual Arts (GSVA) classes learn to use art as a form of expressing themselves. This project culminates in a photograph of the students’ hands covered with hand-drawn simple or elaborate patterns and words that reflect their hopes and fears. During this unit, ninth graders study a series of artistic methods and artists to better understand identity expression through art.

Latin will be embarking on a curricular review facilitated by the DEI team using Learning for Justice's Social Justice Standards over the next two years, where one of the areas of focus includes how identity work is woven through the curriculum in grades JK through 12.

Explore Our News & Stories

Latin Vegetable Garden

We are excited to announce the start of Latin School of Chicago’s Vegetable Garden located in the Greenwood Garden. The garden is producing nutritious vegetables this summer, which are being harvested and donated to local organizations for those facing food insecurity. This is one way Latin connects with communities in the city and promotes sustainability.

If you are interested in donating your garden-grown vegetables, please email organizer Helen Jeno at hjeno@latinschool.org and drop the veggies off at Latin’s US front desk on Wednesdays during the summer.

Take a look at our photo gallery here.

To learn more about the garden, please read the mission statement below. 

Latin School of Chicago Vegetable Garden Mission
As part of Latin’s mission to integrate our students into Chicago communities and promote sustainability, the Latin School of Chicago Vegetable Garden is dedicated to building enduring relationships with food-insecure communities in Chicago. We are committed to using Latin’s resources to cultivate healthful food and donate it to local organizations serving those in need. Additionally, we strive to foster mutually beneficial partnerships with these organizations to provide students with valuable insights into urban farming and the systemic disparities contributing to food insecurity.

  • Around School
Latin alum Kent Farrington ’99 represents Team USA in 2024 Paris Olympics

A huge congratulations to Latin alum Kent Farrington ’99 on being one of three Americans who will be competing in equestrian events at the 2024 Paris Olympics!

Farrington, who was born and raised in Chicago, started learning how to ride when he was 8 years old.

This is not the first time Farrington has represented Team USA. He was part of the bronze medal-winning team at the 2016 Rio Olympics, and finished 31st in the individual competition at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

  • Alumni

Below is a list of the faculty and staff members who left Latin at the end of the 2023-24 school year. 

We want to thank them for their hard work and dedicated service on behalf of our school and students, and wish them the best in their future endeavors. 

Upper School

John Brown, History Teacher
Justin Clarke, Counselor
John Layer, French Teacher
Stephanie Stephens, History Teacher (Sabbatical Leave)
Faye Wells, Science Teacher

Middle School

Matt Eighmy, Librarian
Cory Graef, Science Teacher
Michael Hurley, Math Specialist and Math Department Chair
Kia London, Spanish Teacher

Lower School

Alyssa Dudzik, First Grade Lead Teacher
Katie King, Second Grade Lead Teacher

LS Assistant Teachers:

Amara Ball
Lauren Beatty
Kat Behling
Ariel Gomez
Melissa Klein
Jasmine Madrid
Lo Miles
Lauren Ming
Genna Newquist
Carlos Ocampo

Staff

Nick Bennett, Athletics Operations Coordinator
Erin Crowley, School Nurse
Chase Mangoni, Assistant Director of Latin 360
Veronica McCoy, Major Gifts Officer
Justine Venegoni, Lead School Nurse
 

  • Around School
Head of School Yearly Round Up

Dear Latin Community, 

The past several days on campus have been filled with ceremonies and celebrations, hugs and handshakes, and memories and milestones. We completed final assessments and projects; honored students, faculty, and staff for their accomplishments in and out of the classroom; and participated in annual events and activities that mark the end of the school year. We witnessed the transformation of our fourth grade students into middle schoolers, our eighth grade students into high schoolers, and our seniors into proud alums, who are poised to begin the next phase of their lives. 

While there is something somber about seeing the empty hallways, quiet cafeterias, and cleaned-out classrooms, the absence of the persistent buzz and infectious energy in our buildings has provided both the time and opportunity to reflect on our successes from this past year. For example, we made significant progress on the goals and initiatives tied to our strategic plan, including the ongoing alignment of our curricular and co-curricular programs. We continued to cultivate a strong sense of community and belonging through our DEI efforts (e.g., professional development, anti-bias training, affinity groups, etc.). We excelled on the courts and playing fields during all three of our athletic seasons, and had equally amazing results in the performing and visual arts. We helped those in need through volunteerism, service projects, and experiential learning opportunities. In addition, we raised a record $1.8 million during Romans Raise & Revel that will provide critical assistance to students who benefit from financial support. 

None of these achievements would have been possible without the tireless dedication of our faculty, staff, and administrators; the unwavering commitment of our Board of Trustees, Senior Advisory Council, Parent Association and Alumni Association; and the steadfast support of our families. For all of this, we thank you.

When I look ahead to the 2024-25 school year, there is much to be excited about. We will begin the next phase of our strategic planning, invest in priorities that are critical to the success of our students (e.g., health and wellness, technology and innovation, and experiential experiences), and continue working toward a more sustainable future for our School. These are topics we will explore in greater detail this fall.

As we depart for what I hope will be a relaxing summer break, there are a couple things I would like to ask each of us to do. The first is to think about the ways we can further strengthen and affirm our shared values of excellence, community, and integrity. While the good from this year far outweighed the bad, there were instances across our divisions where issues and challenges led us away from these values. With this in mind, I want us to reflect on how we can recommit ourselves to the standards and expectations that help define who we are. I also want us to consider how we can preserve and protect the principles that serve as the guideposts for all we do, and keep them at the center of the efforts we are undertaking to shape the future of our School. 

The second is to carve out ample time to rest, recharge, and reconnect. The stresses and strains of the school year take their toll on everyone. Let’s use the next two months to engage in self-care, focus on our overall health and well-being, and spend as much quality time as possible with friends and families. If we can do these things, I truly believe we will be poised and prepared to accomplish anything we set our minds to when we return in August.

Warm regards, 

Thomas Hagerman
Head of School
 

  • Academics
  • Around School