Neudel to Avoid Using Grade Level Names

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All inclusive transgender sign Red and white sign with a woman a transgender and man symbol on weathered wood 3D Illustration

Tal Breiman

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To help foster a more gender inclusive environment, Upper School Head Joshua Neudel has advised students to avoid using the titles “freshman,” “sophomore,” “junior,” and “senior,” and to instead refer to grade levels by their corresponding numbers.

This comes on the heels of all “he/she” references being removed from the School’s student handbook, to avoid specificity to a particular gender.

No official rule prevents students or teachers from using traditional grade level names, but on official documents from his office or in conversations with community members, Neudel said, he will refer to grade levels by 9, 10, 11, and 12.

Neudel said that the development of the words “freshman,” “sophomore” “junior,” and “senior”  have come to have masculine designations.

“I would not say that I’m being politically correct,” Neudel said. “I would say that it is about being inclusive, and about making sure that all members of our community feel like they have a place here.”

The change has been most notable among seniors, especially with regard to the traditional “Senior Project,” in which students use much of May to participate in community service or obtain real-world work experience, being renamed the “12th Grade Project.”

“‘Senior project’ being changed to12th Grade Project’ feels very unnecessary,” said Sophie Lapat ’18. “Student’s are still going to refer to it as Senior Project,’ no matter what.”

“I find it fine being called freshman,” said Vivian Lorusso ‘21.  ‘I really don’t see a difference in the name.”