Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion


Commitment to outdoor education and equity is a core component of the Thacher experience. From the proximity to the vast wilderness of the Los Padres National Forest to which Thacher has foot trails into directly from campus, to the public greenways and parks that serve as a central hub for students joining the community from cities, to the ethos behind Sherman Day Thacher’s understanding of the role of nature in fostering curiosity, confidence and community.

“Passion is lifted from the earth itself by the muddy hands of the young; it travels along grass-stained sleeves to the heart. If we are going to save environmentalism and the environment, we must also save an endangered indicator species: the child in nature.”


In the Fall and Spring, campus comes to halt when students and faculty embark on extended-day together. One week in the wilderness, ranging from the High Sierras, to National Parks of the Southwest, to the Lost Coast, Catalina Island, or our very own backyard in the Sespe Wilderness and more. For some, this is a natural extension of experiences they’ve had in the outdoors with their families as children, for most this may be the first time donning a 60 liter pack and trekking into high-elevation or kayaking along the coast of an island 20 miles from the mainland.

In consideration of scale and accessibility, the outdoor program has been re-imagined to ease 9th graders into the outdoor program having their first Fall EDT take them off the coast of Ventura County, to the Channel Islands National Park. Having embarked on the EDT within days of arrival at The Thacher School, students engage in their first orientation curriculum while on an EDT where they engage in class-building activities, learning about the indigenous communities of the region, build skills related to backcountry camping including, and engage in nature based inquiry. 

Later in 10th grade, Thacher students embark on the traditional High Sierra trek to the Golden Wilderness Camp, where at high elevation they build upon the skill set they’ve gained during their Fall, Winter, and Spring EDTs and engage with a more intentional nature based curriculum that includes outdoor equity and environmental justice. Followed by EDTs in 11th and 12th grade that match the student driven interest.
A core component of the Thacher experience is an exploration of unparalleled horsemanship. Rooted in California Vaquero tradition, 9th grade students are saddled and supported for their inaugural year, with the responsibility of caring for and learning how to ride and handle a horse whose mastery is on full display at the annual Gymkhana celebration. If they’d like, students continue riding for additional seasons and many upper riders lead Gymkhana teams their 12th grade years. The Horse Department partners with various departments including the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in excavating and celebrating various cultural traditions of horsemanship, including the fact that 1 of 4 cowboys were African-American. Pete Taylor and Dale Johnson recently visited the department to share just that and more. Watch here to learn more. 

Mission Statement

Thacher trains young people in the art of living for their own greatest good and for the greatest good of their fellow citizens in a diverse and changing world. To that end, the School augments its highly challenging academic program with profound lessons learned from the care of a horse, regular chores around the School, teamwork on playing fields, outstanding instruction in the arts, the give and take of everyday life with schoolmates and teachers, and adventures shared in the wilderness. The aim is to inspire and encourage hard work, integrity, self-reliance, a lifelong love of learning and truth, self-knowledge, and a deep concern for the world in which we live.
Notice of nondiscriminatory policy as to students: The Thacher School admits students of any race, color, national, and ethnic origin to all the rights, privileges, programs, and activities generally accorded or made available to students at the School. It does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national, and ethnic origin in administration of its educational policies, admission policies, scholarship and loan programs, and athletic and other School-administered programs.