The Point of It All

LOW RES photos NOT FOR PRINT RIISE - 73

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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