A Few Things To Do Now That Admissions Is Closing

So what should applicants do and not do? We caught up briefly with Jenna King, admissions director at Riverdale Country School and asked her to share some of her insight…

What should parents/applicants be focusing on now?

  • research follow up questions now to prepare for offers i.e., transportation, after-school programs
  • don’t get too focused on a particular school, keep options open
  • be ready to respond to questions about affordability and deposit
  • offers can create a frenzy but take time to read contracts
  • keep things in perspective, stay positive

First choice/top choice letters?

  • depends on schools-some want, some don’t be careful.

What does the work schedule of the admission office look like now?

  • days, nights and weekends!
  • so try not to call the office to find out if items are missing from your file
  • online application platforms indicate what is still outstanding
  • as well, many schools will call if something is missing

Thanks, Jenna! We appreciate all of the hard work our admission teams put into building community.

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Monkey, Better Known as MONKADEE

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A favorite of her toddler years, brown limbs flopping as she held it tightly around the mid-section, she affectionately called it ‘Monkadee’. I had no reason to question my daughter’s choice of a Lovie because for her it was everything comfy and cute. However, I would have had a reason to question dressing her in a shirt that said ‘cutest monkey in the park’, because I simply would not have done it! This brings me to the Swedish mom who vehemently defended her choice to allow her child to model a sweatshirt emblazoned ‘coolest monkey in the jungle’.

Surely, my heightened instinct to protect my black child at all costs, from both physical and emotional harm is universal. Clearly, not. I was absolutely shocked by this mom’s choice to defend the appropriateness of the H&M sweatshirt as “no big deal”. I wondered if a continental divide shielded her from the racist associations of black & brown people as animals. So I decided to instant message my cousin in Sweden. Perhaps she could affirm this mother’s ignorance as a result of some utopian disposition. Much to my dismay, my Swedish cousin confirmed my suspicion that there is no shortage of white supremacist attitudes in a supposedly socially progressive place like Sweden. My bi-racial cousin shared the popular disbelief and anger towards this mom for not protecting her child, our children, from historic and clearly contemporary coded racist imagery.

That sweet little boy, that king of all kings, was his mom’s alarming reaction merely a way to secure future financial gains for her son’s modeling career? If in her position I wouldn’t care how many coins were tossed my way, I could not imagine selling my child out. Could any mother of a black or brown child justify it? If as parents we are not speaking out and fighting against racist imagery and biased systems, I really question our ability to parent successfully.

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New Year & New Lunch With Gina

The response to the upcoming NYC Book Discussion & Signing has been incredible. If you are a parent, educator, administrator, or organization and you care about black boys you need to get the book The Guide for White Women Who Teach Black Boys, and if in the NY area join us on 1/23 for discussion and signing – https://discussionsigningwwwtbb.eventbrite.com. Two of the co-authors, Ali Michael and Eddie Moore Jr. recently join us to talk about the book and its impact.

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12.11.17~Enrolled at a Hilltop school? Your invited: How Students of Color Navigate Independent Schools

Join Hilltop Schools for a panel discussion, How Students of Color Navigate Independent School Culture

Monday, December 11, 6:30 pm,  Horace Mann School – Recital Hall

Horace Mann’s Diversity Council, the Office for Identity, Culture, and Institutional Equity (ICIE) along with the Black Parents Union (BPU) present a RIISE panel discussion to explore the social norms students of color enrolled in independent schools navigate. 

Socialization Topics:

Managing friend groups
Classroom dynamics
The dating scene
Navigating Social Events
Academic achievement/College admissions
Equity & leadership
Identity & cultural exchange


Suggestions and tools will be shared in order to best take advantage of and mitigate the realities of cross-cultural socialization among students of color and their peers. This panel session is open to students grades 6-12, as well as parents and guardians from all Divisions. Light refreshments will be provided. 

Please RSVP


Panelists: Rashidah Bowen White-Town School, Akim David St. Omer-Ethical Culture Fieldston School, Jamie-Jin Lewis-former E.D. Border Crossers, and Student Panelists with excerpts from NYT Bestseller, The Hate You Give, by Angie Thomas. Moderator: Gina Parker Collins, RIISE.


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1.23.18~The Guide for White Women Who Teach Black Boys—NYC Book Discussion Signing

1.23.18 NYC WWWTBB Discussion Signing

The Guide for White Women Who Teach Black Boys.

We are thrilled to welcome the book’s co-editors: author, activist, and speaker Eddie Moore, Jr.; author, educator & researcher, Ali Michael, and book contributors like parent & diversity practitioner, Orinthia Swindell.~

The Guide for White Women Who Teach Black Boys hopes to teach three main principles: How to develop learning environments that help Black boys feel a sense of belonging, nurturance, challenge, and love at school; How to change school culture so that Black boys can show up in the wholeness of their selves; How to overcome unconscious bias and forge authentic connections with your Black male students. This event will provide authentic conversation and resources for White educators and for anyone who works to challenge bias.

RSVP —https://discussionsigningwwwtbb.eventbrite.com

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The Point of It All


The point is they’ve developed in ways beyond my wildest expectations. Seriously, they blow my mind! Although I credit my family’s love and guidance, an independent school education has had a significant impact on my children’s progress. Since lower school, my 11th-grade daughter and my 8th-grade son have continued to remind us the reason for it all.

Before I rant about how thankful I am for their dynamic experiences I have to acknowledge the challenges too. I do this for those considering, applying and enrolled in the culture of predominantly white preK-12 institutions of high academic rigor and access, like independent schools. When we expand and push against boundaries we must expect challenges. How we overcome them will determine how successful we are at getting to the point.

What is it that we want? What is the point? Is it to give our children a competitive academic advantage through a selective & rigorous education? Is it access to resources and people that can help them achieve their (our) aspirations? Or, is it to develop a higher level of social and emotional intelligence that encourages compassion and activism. This last consideration may not be top of mind, making it an underrated expectation. Social consciousness is increasingly becoming a necessary character trait for a society that considers an uncertain future.

You may be wondering if the ‘point of it all’ is worth building the emotional muscle to overlook, and maybe overcome experiences like stereotype threat, implicit/explicit bias, and microagressions . The point is we face these challenges in various other settings and institutions like public education, healthcare,  higher ed, and the workplace. What makes many independent school communities uniquely inspiring is the intellectual capacity, stated right in the mission statement to be more. When the will is there, the ability is resourced to acknowledge, reflect, and act on making our schools more socially and emotionally intelligent to positively transform both community and culture. We salute many of our member schools for the innovative and courageous ways they are creating structure and space for this to happen. Big ups to parent leaders too!

I can’t think of a better time to be a part of an independent school community that believes and aligns with what we value. Let’s remember the point of it all as we go through the admission process, enroll, and re-enroll (done every time we sign the contract), especially this time of the year when we reflect on and count our blessings. An independent school education will be among the many blessings my family counts this year.


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Register | Free 10.29 Fall Boutique Recruitment Event—Diversity In Action

RIISE With US - webinar edited-5Check Back For More Schools!


RIISE With US - webinar edited-4

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September 27, 2017
This is an online event

Participate in our digital workshop that will address five hidden steps toward a sane, productive and enjoyable independent school search process.

You will learn:

1. how your Purpose can get you back on the right track when the road you’re on gets bumpy-and it will.
2. how raising your Cultural Capital can give you the competitive edge you need.
3. how developing your Brand can help you identify the right fit school and your leadership in it.
4. how creating a Roadmap is instrumental in keeping you organized and focused.
5. how your Visibility is vital to the success and well-being of your children during admission and enrollment.

If you are applying to independent schools this year, give us an hour and we will help you narrow the road to independent school success and beyond.


RSVP Today

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[10.29] 8th RIISE Fall Boutique Recruitment Event




8th RIISE Fall Boutique Recruitment Event
Sunday, October 29 at 2 PM - 5 PM
Sarah Lawrence College – Heimbold Visual Arts Center
1 Mead Way, Bronxville, NY


For the past eight years, Resources In Independent School Education has created a recruitment space for families of color as they consider the social, educational, economic, and cultural factors that go into choosing an independent school education.

If you are considering an independent school education for your child you don’t want to miss the opportunity to learn what it is really like to be a part of an elite educational community and to meet representatives from independent schools.

Check back for more updates!

Register Today

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Restating Our Purpose: Legacy

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A new school year provides a new opportunity for RIISE to restate its purpose—creating alliances for legacy through education. We do this by building bridges between families of color and the culture of independent schools.

The idea of RIISE took shape in 2009, one year after our daughter’s first day of school. Underrepresentation, in many areas, was starker than imagined. In spite of this, we’ve gone on to benefit from an extraordinary education. In addition, we’ve accessed unique experiences, engaged with leadership and took on key roles to help make our school community even better than the first day in ’09. 

RIISE has since advised hundreds of families on ways to access, navigate, interpret, & clarify independent school culture in support of children of color who thrive. We collaborate with thought leaders and member schools who value and believe in diverse, inclusive, equitable and culturally competent communities.

We hope you join us on this important journey.

All the best,


Gina Parker

Gina Parker Collins
founder | advocate | advisor | author

RIISE - Resources In Independent School Education 

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