Calhoun Raises Expectations

This year has been a crowd pleaser for The Calhoun School Community. RIISE really loves this school and its physical space for 3’s through 12th grade. Crossing two campuses, Calhoun is nestled in a upper west side neighborhood right in the middle of Riverside Park and Broadway. Steve Nelson, an endearing and ardent educator and recent blogger, leads the school with the mission to inspire a passion for learning through a progressive approach to education that values intellectual pursuit, creativity, diversity and community involvement. Steve, Calhoun parents, students, staff, admin, and prospective families are supported by two key members of the community, Hilary North-Diversity Dir & Equity Initiatives, who RIISE has spotlighted in the past and Andrew Hume, Dir of Enrollment. I recently met up with Hume and learned about big strides that began in the summer of 2010 with initiatives that have already had some proud moments that are worthy of being a benchmark. With the admissions season still in full swing at The Calhoun School, (application deadline December 1) there is still time to apply!

The things RIISE learned:

1. Staff recruitment receives a great shot at equity through new hiring practices. Most schools do not have a human development office that employs sophisticated methods for scouting top talent. Often the decision is left to the natural subjectivity and inherent bias of an interviewer with no set modules for each successive interviewer involved in the hiring process to follow. Andrew feels that the support of a human resource consultant over the summer set a new and more equitable selection process for identifying diverse top talent in the hiring process.

2. A SOCS program! Riverdale really started something when they developed a lower school affinity resource group for younger students. A safe space where kids of color are in the majority. Calhoun began looking at the prospect of supporting a similar program when Riverdale facilitated a workshop at People of Color Conference 08’. RIISE had the pleasure of working with teachers and admin discussing how this successful resource could take shape at Calhoun. Well into their first half of this school year families, students and staff have benefited tremendously from this initiative. 3. Back to Admissions…Andrew is really happy to increase the demographic diversity of The Calhoun School by hosting recruitment receptions for families in different areas of the city. Andrew feels that in addition to hosting multicultural committee diversity events at Calhoun, going to different communities is a clear invitation for logistical and economic diversity at the school.

Good work!

Can’t forget to give a special shout out to Chef Bobo! What an epic cafeteria lunch!

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