Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion


Investing time and resources into the intentional creation and maintenance of inclusive and welcoming spaces that encourage empathy and collaboration is an important way to signal to students that their belonging matters. In a boarding environment in particular, it is a vital way that those spaces extend beyond the classroom into the many aspects of a student's life. Some of the spaces at Thacher that enhance this effort are:

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    Centrally located and expanding over half of the footprint of what students know to be the “old dining hall,” the Multicultural Center—or MCC—was founded in the fall of 2021. The Multicultural Center serves as a community hub which fosters understanding, respect and solidarity across differences. Regularly activated by affinity groups and student organizations committed to intersectional equity and inclusion, students entering the space will not be surprised to enter the space to find friends engaging in shared meals, film screenings, community conversations, study sessions, and even a class or two. The Multicultural Center is comprised of three distinct areas filled with art, desks, couches, a kitchenette, an ongoing display and collaboration with the Thacher Library and adjoining Swap Shop.

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    In collaboration with the Environmental Action Committee, the Swap Shop is a student driven initiative within the Multicultural Center that directs awareness and action toward social, racial, and environmental injustice and encourages the community to participate in sustainable acts, circular consumption patterns, and focus on the repair and redistribution of clothing to protest the fast fashion industry which relies upon gendered, racialized and class based violence and take into account that we have what we need and who we need to make a difference here with us right now. Students may donate to or take from the swap shop at any time. Excess donations are regularly organized and donated to local organizations such as Friends of Fieldworkers, Help of Ojai, and more.

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    It is hard to convey the magic of a Thacher Open House, but students, families, and alumni understand it well. In addition to the hundreds of chocolate chip cookies baked for each event, the film screenings, puzzles and chess, you will find in this almost weekly tradition hosted at the home of the Head of School an affinity group-led activation of space. Culture and community are celebrated and shared in the fruit stands, smells of home, henna tattoos, mooncakes and more.

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    While The Thacher School was founded as a boys school in 1889, practices and policies have evolved to reflect the diverse needs of adolescents. In stewarding a residential environment for students of all genders to thrive, the following gender inclusive practices have been implemented.

    All-Gender Advisory: All students at The Thacher School are partnered with a faculty advisor and peer-based advisory cohort for the duration of the academic year. The advising system is rooted in the relationship-based educational model that has been a cornerstone of The Thacher School since its founding.

    All-Gender Dorm: The Sespe Dorm is an all-gender dorm following the best practices and models of peer schools providing a housing model that meets the needs of a diverse student population. The dorm houses 11th grade and 12th grade students of all gender identities as well as allies, making it a co-ed housing model regardless of sex, gender and gender identity. 

    Gender Inclusive Bathrooms: All restrooms in shared spaces are gender neutral at The Thacher School.

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    The James G. Boswell Library brings together an extensive collection of digital and analog resources for research, study, and creative pursuits. Library staff is committed to promoting inquiry, developing crucial research strategies, and modeling a love for reading and learning. Like all other aspects of Thacher life, the library operates on the Honor Code. Our goal is to provide Thacher community members, especially current students, access to materials to aid in educational and personal growth and provide opportunities to explore and learn about the world and their place in it.
    The library's diversity, equity, inclusion, and social justice work is centered on providing patrons with what Dr. Rudine Sims Bishop described as windows, mirrors, and sliding glass doors: "Books are sometimes windows, offering views of worlds that may be real or imagined, familiar or strange. These windows are also sliding glass doors, and readers have only to walk through  in imagination to become part of whatever world has been created or recreated by the author. When lighting conditions are just right, however, a window can also be a mirror. Literature transforms human experience and reflects it back to us, and in that reflection we can see our own lives and experiences as part of the larger human experience. Reading, then, becomes a means of self-affirmation, and readers often seek their mirrors in books…[A book] could, however, help us to understand each other better by helping to change our attitudes towards difference. When there are enough books available that can act as both mirrors and windows for all our children, they will see that we can celebrate both our differences and our similarities, because together they are what make us all human."

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.