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Lunch with Gina Podcast: Election ’16 What Kids Need Right Now—Empowerment

photo credit NYTimes

Listen to this inspiring and empowering podcast 


Are your kids as anxious as mine about the election? Discussions are happening in the classroom at indy schools, but what can we do at home to re-design a civics lesson gone terribly wrong.

Eva Vega-Olds Director of Community & Diversity at the Town School joins the podcast version of Lunch With Gina, helping us make the best of this unforgettable election cycle, day, and days to come to empower our kids to be active civic leaders.

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RIISE Above The Rest!


I had to borrow this quote from my nephew’s t-shirt because it’s in perfect alignment with how RIISE rocks. Having a growth mindset can inspire you to do what most won’t—contemplate and apply for an independent school education. It takes a certain amount of grit to consider and journey through the admission process.

Please understand, I am not suggesting that choosing this educational path somehow makes you better than the rest, though you may be accused of ‘thinking you are’. Instead, it means that your vision is big, and you are brave enough to break away from the status quo. No apologies necessary, particularly when it comes to educating our children. It’s okay to rise, as long as you get what you need to reach back and grab someone else’s hand.

Eleven years ago, I shared my last quarter projections with my boss at Meredith Corporation. It included a post script stating the number of hours I would need to be away from the office for the independent school admission process. I wasn’t sure what his response would be, but what I did know was that along the chain of command one of his bosses took time to get her children into an independent school. And, I was determined to do the same. Thanks Chuck for being flexible!

What does rising above the rest look like?

  • At the time, rising above the rest meant taking a risk with my employment: late mornings or early evenings dedicated to going on school tours, attending admission receptions, and showing up for school interviews in hopes, no guarantees, that my child(ren) would earn a seat in an independent school.

Read More »

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Working at an Independent School as a Person of Color

"Akim St.Omer is a graduate of Prep For Prep, LREI and Boston College who has spent 
his career working in various educational organizations, from non-profits, universities, 
charter schools and most recently independent schools. He views his professional and 
personal work as intersectional. Akim aims to bring diverse perspectives to the table 
to achieve a more equitable society for the students he works with and the spaces that 
he inhabits."

Working at an Independent School as a Person of Color

The experiences of faculty and staff members of color often mirror that of students of color at independent schools. Our lives are inextricably linked. Our journeys are often similar. Here are four things that I as a faculty member of color strive to do every day to make sure all students, especially our students of color feel welcome and part of my school.

1) ​Every time I see a student of color I either compliment them on their hair or outfit or give them a fist bump or high five. This is intentional. Cultural signifying is valuable for kids of color at predominantly white schools since much of their existence can be rendered invisible as a result of the white dominant paradigm at these institutions. I always aim to acknowledge their existence and their cultural significance even in a small way.

2) I make sure that I bring up conversations about race and diversity among faculty, especially in places where those conversations may not take place. I believe that one of the roles of people of color at independent schools is to serve as an antiseptic light in the moments of darkness where race and diversity may not be present or discussed. By pushing for those conversations to occur, it creates a space where people can refine and develop a greater understanding for diverse views and perspectives.

Read More »

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Open Letter to Educators

Dr. Starita Boyce Ansari is a philanthropic advisor, and more importantly the mother 
of a high achieving boy of color attending private school. This heart-wrenching letter 
to educators is a call to action we hope is answered.


Dear Educators,

The reflection of my soul is in the lyrics of Sam and Dave “When there is something wrong with my baby there is something wrong with me.  And if I know she is worried, I feel the same misery.” Do you feel the misery in our Black children?

Last week our son woke with salty tears drenching his chocolate cheeks.  He was in a state which I have never seen.  I frantically asked what happened. He replied: “When Trump says he wants to make America great again he wants us to go back to the days when people were spitting on Ruby Bridges.”  I froze not knowing what to say.  He continued: “Mommy I am scared.”  I held him tight, not to comfort him, but to calm my fears.  I told him that will never happen.  I witnessed a transformation in my son that I have never seen; as if all the life had been taken out of him.  He wailed:   “It is happening.  We are treated differently.  Nobody is stopping the police from killing us, because nobody cares.”  For the first time as a mum, I felt I could not protect my child the way my parents protected me.

This elementary school boy’s feelings are valid.  Other than Facebook and Google, which corporations are calling for police reform at the level they called for gay marriage and taking their businesses out of North Carolina?  Is my son’s life and the lives of his friends as equally important?  The lone voice of the Governor of Minnesota is not enough to change the fact that unarmed Black men are seven times more likely than unarmed White men to die from police shootings.  Thus, Read More »

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This RIISE guest blog comes from Saliou Diop, blogger/founder—DaddyGoRound
...sometimes it takes a Dad to win over Dad's who are on the fence!


As a dad/parent, choosing a school for your child can be very time consuming as there are a lot of things to think about and consider. From the school’s curriculum to how well the school performs academically. What are the core values of the school ?

Once you have decided on the best school for your child, then you can start the application process. A great thing worth mentioning regarding applying for independent schools is that zone restrictions do not apply.

Here is some useful information to help you. Do not forget to prepare all the needed documentations ahead of time.

-The application process and fees: Applications can usually be submitted anytime throughout the year but be sure to know the deadlines by visiting the school’s website. The application fees vary, usually $50 and up. Some schools will kindly waive the fee if you ask them to.

Naturally, you would have to start the process very early if you are interested in enrolling your child to some of the most prestigious schools.

With selective schools, the prospective student will have to complete an examination before admission. The student will then be invited to the school to take part in an interview with the principal or headmaster to better determine her/his suitability for the school. A tour of the school for the parent will also take place on a different day. Other independent schools are non-selective and usually admit students on the basis of first come first serve. The waiting list can be Read More »

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Currently Enrolled? Participate–Important Research Study

Dear Enrolled Parents:

Please consider participating in an important research study about the unique ways in which Black parents socialize and prepare their children for navigating independent schools. Please contact Rashidah Bowen White, (PhD candidate at Columbia University) for more information.
(646) 657-8551

Rashidah Bowen White
Thank you Rashidah for being on our panel Sunday, October 2, discussing what matters most to families of color when it comes to independent school education.

 RIISE Fall Boutique Recruitment Event–Register Today - https://riisefbre16.eventbrite.com

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Parent Alert: Rock The Process—RIISE Roadmap Workshop Series™






RIISE Roadmap Workshop Series Shows Parents of Color How-To Navigate and Prepare for the Independent Schools Admissions Application Process

Learn How to Write A Great ESSAY, Prepare for INTERVIEW, Tackle FINANCIAL investment,and Navigate Finding Your PLACE in the Independent School CULTURE

It’s Admissions Application Season…Calling out parents of color who are at the beginning stages, already in process or considering applying to independent school…come JOIN US this November 2 & 10, @ The Buckley School as we show you How-To ROCK THE PROCESS.

Take it from me, Gina Parker-Collins, I have “been there done that” and have learned how-to lessen the stress by eliminating some of the time, effort and emotions the admissions process takes on a family.

No matter where you are in the process this series will help and even create a fun experience on your admissions journey. We can help you rock the process! Come to this workshop series by signing up now at Registration Linkhttps://riiseroadmapseries16.eventbrite.com

For the beginner this workshop will guide you. For the families already in process this workshop will help you get through some hurdles.  We will help you get it done.  For the fence huggers we will show you the possibilities of what an independent school education can offer your child.  Register today.  See below for details.

It’s the season for essays, tours and interviews and you probably have many questions.  This workshop will address:

· How-to make a lasting impression during the interview process

· How-to put fears aside regarding how schools look at families of color

· Why faculty of color is so important

· What curriculum looks like in indy schools

· How and where the social, emotional, and financial costs really show up

· How community works in indy schools

Register Nowhttps://riiseroadmapseries16.eventbrite.com

*You must register to participate

HOST: Gina Parker Collins, Founder—RIISE

Our experts will offer tips, advice and settle myths on the Indy School process – straight talk no chaser on how to Rock the Process:

click to enlarge)



I. Mindset & Steps to get through Application. Interview. Investments. | Wed., Nov. 2—     6pm-8pm

II. Finding a Place: What Parents of Color Want
Panelists discuss community, culture & Spring ’16 Focus Group | Thur., Nov. 10—

The Buckley School
113 East 73rd Street

 Registration Link: https://riiseroadmapseries16.eventbrite.com
*You must register to participate

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The Visual Portfolio Workshop™ at #RIISEFBRE16

T H E  V I S U A L  P O R T F O L I O  WO R K S H O P ™

A unique workshop for middle and high school applicants! Register now, space is limited.

Sunday October 2, 2016 at the RIISE Fall Boutique Recruitment Event at Fordham University.

RIISE FBRE 16 logo

Student interviews are a very important piece of the admissions process that help schools decide if YOU, the prospective candidate are a good fit for the school. The Visual Portfolio Workshop will help you devise a simple, reflective and effective tool to showcase your accomplishments and individuality during your school interviews. The portfolio will help youVISUALLY standout among other candidates!

Your workshop leader, Lina Gonzalez, is a boarding school parent with a design, sales and teaching background. She will guide you in creating a unique tool to use during the admissions process to independent day and/or boarding schools.

$25- cost includes The Visual Portfolio™ Template
*Complimentary for RIISE Doer Member Families

Register now – space is very limited.

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Newly Enrolled Families: Nine in Ninety

Here’s to the close of a fantastic summer, and the beginning of a new school year. This beginning signals both enrollment and admissions at independent schools. For our newly enrolled families—what now?

The first 90 days of the enrollment process at an independent school is almost as daunting as the application process itself. I recall being over-joyed and very confident after receiving our letter of acceptance, only to feel anxious and unsure on the first day of school – going through the gates of our country school prompted my inside voice to question what we had gotten ourselves into! Game face strong and vision clear, we continued to move forward and became part of a dynamic school community. It is our hope that newly enrolled families will become familiar with and vested in their schools as soon as possible.

Here are nine proactive things your family can do within the first ninety days to get set up for independent school success and beyond. You can also watch us discuss it on Lunch with Gina!

Read More »

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RIISE Fall Boutique Recruitment Event

RIISE FBRE 16 logo

Our families are ready to jump head on into this year’s admission season! Register Today.

Resources In Independent School Education is honored to continue to provide a roadmap.

When it comes to school choice, what matters most to families and students of color? What are their expectations? What are they anxious about? We’ve asked these questions and more. The responses are as varied as the families we serve.

Participate with us the first Sunday in October to meet dynamic schools and gain insight on what matters!

We are thrilled to have Fordham University host this year’s RIISE Fall Boutique Recruitment Event!

Register today!

Participating Schools:
Horace Mann School. Marymount School of New York. Greenwich Academy. Riverdale Country School. The Browning School. The Town School. The Buckley School. Birch Wathen Lenox. St. Bernard’s. St. Hilda’s & St. Hugh’s. Ethical Culture Fieldston School. School of the Holy Child Rye. The Fessenden School. Tabor Academy…check back for more great schools

Riverdale Country School
Vibrant Health

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