We Built. We Belong – Welcome Back Newsletter!

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Thursday Throw Back – End of Summer Indy School Admission Info Session

Thank you, David & Charles, for your expert insight as we approach the independent school admission season!

Admission Directors, Charles Guerrero -Ethical Culture Fieldston School, and David Buckwald -Avenues: The World School, will join RIISE founder, Gina Parker Collins and respond to a lightning round of frequently asked admission questions.

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10.20 – SAVE THE DATE- RIISE Fall Boutique Recruitment Event

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A Boarding School Interview: Susan Mantilla-Goin @ Fay School

We’re counting down to RIISEMV19 Events! In anticipation of the first of two – Building Boarding School Networks on August 12 (join us), we checked in with one of our thought-leader panelists, Susan Mantilla-Goin at Fay School in Southborough, CT, located about 90 miles from the ferry to Martha’s Vineyard!

RIISE: Susan, how long have you been at Fay?
SMG: I have worked at Fay School for 5 years. I am the Senior Associate Director of Admission & Director of Financial Aid.

RIISE: What do you enjoy the most?
SMG: I really enjoy interviewing prospective students and helping them explore Fay. I love that I get to watch and support enrolled students as they explore new opportunities and talents.

RIISE: What makes Fay unique?
SMG: As a junior boarding school, middle school is a time where students are often developing a greater awareness of what’s happening in the world and how that affects them. Helping students find their voice, develop self-advocacy skills, and understanding of the value and importance of diversity, empathy, and engagement is important to me.

RIISE: We’re curious about what aspects of the boarding school experience you believe students will benefit from the most?
SMG: Our alumni often share that they felt known and valued for their individual contributions to our community. Fay students come from over 25 countries, 15 states, and 40 towns in Massachusetts. Our students benefit from being part of a global community and certainly learned or improved time management and organizational skills, discovered new interests as well. These skills serve them well in secondary school, college, and life. However, being part of a connected community at Fay is what gives them the confidence to step out of their comfort zone.

As a junior boarding school, we know that middle school students benefit from structure and support as they navigate the increased independence when they live away from home. Learning to manage their time, self-advocate, and live in a truly multicultural community in middle school better prepares them for even more independence they will have in high school and college.

RISE: Okay, so let’s talk about the biggest misconception folx have about the boarding school experience. Read More »

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Dear Parents…

“I watched the classroom like I watched the streets because I knew part of the answer was there.” James Baldwin

This weekend, I was inspired to respond to a distressing post I was tagged in. For me, it brought the past thirteen years in community with an independent school altogether as would the last piece of a complicated yet beautiful puzzle.

The parent’s heart-breaking post described an all too familiar experience about leaving or staying. It was about pulling black and brown students out of schools when painful and clearly racist incidents occur.

The hope of the person writing the post was to be able to identify schools doing the work  (like a list), where racism couldn’t show it’s ugly face. And, if it did leadership and the community would deal with it intentionally and swiftly.

As a highly-engaged POC (parent of color) with a lifestyle network focused on independent school culture and us, I am conscious of how both of these roles offer me insights, a clearer perspective on a few things, like,

*why I’m so insistent on pursuing this type of education for my kids & others in spite of the complexities racially and socio-economically
*and, how I believe families of color can beat the odds and really thrive in these rigorously challenging environments while making it better for those who follow

I’ve often wondered if “a list” can genuinely and accurately identify the culture of educational spaces as free from the opportunity of racial trauma, at any given point in time. Will ranking schools as doing all the right or wrong things protect our kids?

Or do we need a blueprint? Could a playbook and toolkit better serve us for the ‘Not If, But When‘ scenario in institutions that are centered in whiteness?

What should a playbook and toolkit take into consideration?

1. We belong – many of our ancestors built powerful cultural legacies against all reason, and with sweat equity and their lives, drove the capital to create our most elite institutions. I was reminded a long time ago how to walk in white spaces -like I already earned a seat at the table. Are we prepared to pull up, find networks, show up, and take our place? Read More »

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May 8 – Navigating The Independent School Process: School Curriculum


Ever wondered what elevates an independent school education?

What does curriculum look like? How rigorous is it? What enrichment opportunities exist?

How culturally competent is it? Is it a good fit for your family?

Resources In Independent School Education [RIISE], is thrilled to be back with Mocha Moms Brooklyn on May 8, leading a panel of experts addressing your questions about independent school education.

RSVP today & join us. We’d love to see you in Brooklyn on Wednesday, May 8th, 6:30-8:30p

Tip of the day…spring ahead of the fall’s independent school application, now.


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White Spaces, Black & Brown Faces: Considering rigor & agency in independent schools

Thirteen years later, I regard my experience as a passionate tug of war between privilege and oppression. I grapple with this persistent binary as a parent of children of color in an independent school, and in my work, I am passionate about.

As a parent advocate and school advisor, I am often responding to questions like how do we get in and how do families of color navigate independent school communities? (FACT: On Saturday, 4.27, we’ll discuss both in Harlem at the RIISE Parent Power Conference – join us! (https://riiseppc19.eventbrite.com)

As a parent of two indy school students, very few moments have been wasted leveraging the resources this type of education has to offer while at the same time, showing up and standing up for my kids and other scholars of color in communities where they are among the numerical minority. My family is in the home stretch now, with our first headed off to college this fall, and we’re ecstatic -one down, one to go and there is still much more work to do to make sure other families are afforded the same educational opportunities.

My activism was an unexpected outcome of enrolling in an independent school. Yet, I along with others -parents, students, educators, and administrators are using our agency to make good schools better and answerable to their noble mission and vision.

It has been our students though who’ve been at the forefront of building alliances for social change at the same time shining academically. With plenty of grit & resilience to spare they are thinking critically and arguing persuasively about what they expect to learn and experience in predominantly white spaces. They are not waiting for us or their schools to get right as they guide us toward the future. This is why we are thrilled to be kicking off our 7th #RIISEPPC19 with our students of color who will tell their own stories as young scholars and activists.

Ever wonder how parents of color navigate and thrive too? Oh, you didn’t know? Regardless of how busy we may be, showing up is not an option for parents of color at a public, charter, and especially at independent schools where social and financial investments are expected. The overall success of our students of color is dependent upon us. And, this is why at the conference parent leaders will speak directly to other parents who are considering or already enrolled and present their powers of engagement, advocacy, and agency partnering with school communities.

If you’re applying this or next year, it’s time to vault ahead accessing educational rigor & resources. And guess what? There will be a parent workshop for that also called, Admission plus Cost. Then meet amazingly diverse independent schools – pK-12, K-9, middle school, day, boarding and early learning too! There’s something for everyone at #RIISEPPC19 -register and bring a friend. We will access academic rigor and empower school communities together.

Can’t make it? Not in the NYC area? We’re giving quick parent consults during May –link to sign up! (https://calendly.com/4riise/riise-creating-roadmap-25min )

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April 27 [RIISE Parent Power Conference 2019]

We’re back in Harlem for culturally responsive recruitment & enrollment. We invite families of color exploring, or already enrolled in pK-12 independent school education to attend.


11:00 Conference Welcome

11:10 SHINING – Student of Color Panel

11:50 Parent Power Workshops (concurrent)

I Admission plus Cost

II How We Thrive in Indy Schools

1:00 Independent School Recruitment Fair

3:00 Conference Close

Participating Schools
check back for updates…
Riverdale Country School, Horace Mann School, Ethical Culture Fieldston School, Greenwich Academy, The Buckley School, The Town School, Browning, Pine Street School, The Brick Church School, Westover School*, Fay School*, Avenues, Léman Manhattan School, The Workshop Independent…

*boarding schools

**Sponsor – Riverdale Country School

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August 12-13 [RIISE Martha’s Vineyard Events 2019]


Welcome Families & those passionate about educating students of color,

Monday 8.12, 11a-2p, Boarding School Networks On The Vineyard @Edgartown Library
Register: https://riiseboarding.eventbrite.com – FREE

New England is home to more than seventy boarding schools. How many do you pass on your way to the Vineyard?

If you’re thinking deeply about ‘a good education’ for your child, then you need to look no further than the 6th annual RIISE Martha’s Vineyard Events in August. Particularly, if you have or know a student of color.

On August 12, we’ll be Building Boarding School Networks On The Vineyard!

Join a very particular discussion with students, parents, and decision-makers from

Westover School, The Fay School, & Cambridge School of Weston.

Questions we’ll ask and explore:
What are the benefits of a boarding school education?

What makes a boarding school education so unique? And, how do students of color thrive there?

How does this particular private school experience prepare our kids for college success and beyond?

RSVP now for this free event at riiseboarding.eventbrite.com


Tuesday, 8.13, 12:00p-3:30pRIISE Brunch & Beach 
@Winnetu Oceanside Resort
RSVP: https://riisebrunchbeach.eventbrite.com – Free 18/under, $125/adult 

The expectation is that investing in ‘a good education’ will guarantee our next generation economic mobility and social respectability.

With even fewer guarantees, many of us are more than willing to take the risk and bet on selective k-12 college prep schools and institutions of higher learning. The outcomes are students who think critically, are innovative, collaborative, and can create positive change in communities.

But what are the real costs of ‘a good education’ and how do we ensure our children will win and don’t become over-burdened with debt doing so?

How do we make sure students of color have the social and emotional support and professional networks to successfully navigate predominantly white institutions and industry understanding their cultural capital – who they are, whom they come from, and where they are headed?

On Tuesday, August 13, we return to the beautiful Winnetu Resort and South Beach with a dynamic group of industry, legacy wealth, and educational thought-leaders who will dive-in and consider with us the present-day virtues are of ‘a good education’, the stakes involved with it, and how to thrive, not just survive.

Industry thought-leader, Richelle Parham, will lead the discussion with contributions from legacy wealth thought-leader, Dr. Pamela Jolly and educational thought-leader Trina Gary, along with Elon Collins – Riverdale ’19 & Brown ’23.

There will be plenty of food for thought, the soul, the body, and a ton of fun for the whole family!

We encourage you to join us for ‘critical conversations by the sea’ and empower yourself with valuable considerations that will impact educating future generations. Come and enjoy a wonderful Vineyard Summer brunch while expanding your networks and meeting some new faces.

RSVP for this event at, brunchbeach.eventbrite.com 


**Accommodations: 10% discount at Winnetu Oceanside Resort when you mention RIISE MV Events.







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RIISE Feature with DiversityIS

We are honored to be part of the inaugural issue of DiversityIS! Read more here.

RIISE knows the critical role parents play in the overall success of our children of color in schools. Our independent schools offer tremendous opportunities to excel yet present real challenges with equity, inclusion, and diversity. Public and charter schools struggle too. We don’t have to wait for our schools to get it right. We can partner with them now! Parents who engage, advocate, and have agency are ensuring that our pK-12, children of color experience overall emotional, social, and academic success.

How do parent engagement, advocacy, and agency look? RIISE has the blueprint, playbook, and toolkit to thrive, not just survive. We are here to support families and schools along the journey. Let’s talk about that!  You can reach us at info@4RIISE.org,

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