Parents have Hot Spots & Questions. Feedback & Answers Here.




It was standing room only for many of the workshops at the RIISE Parent Power Conference last month. The workshops were presented by incredibly generous parents along with administrators, faculty, and thought leaders around the ins and outs of the recruitment process; what it takes to stick it out and flourish at an independent school; how our schools and parents are creating inclusive communities in schools with racial and cultural disparities; and when and where to begin to prepare for the next step with higher ed. The audience wasted no time engaging with our panels. Needless to say there is never enough time, so we are using this space to have a couple of our amazing panelists address a few more questions and hot spots straight from the workshop audience.

Thanks Shia (Léman), Ebony (CGPS), Elizabeth (Horace Mann), and Julie (ERB) for facilitating our network after conference.

From Julie Core
Retired Director of Admissions at Hackley School
Current ERB & Admissions Consultant

It seemed to me that there were an equal amount of people interested in each division (perhaps a few more interested in kindergarten). Parents must be aware that they are as important as their child to the schools to which they are applying. They must communicate willingness to be a partner with the school in support of their child. Both parents should be working hard to provide financial support as well as intellectual and psychological support of their children. Know their children. Know their educational philosophy. Ask questions about how they can become a part of the community.

Advice for the waitlisted:

Waitlisted families should let the school(s) know that they are willing to stay on the waitlist, and if they are taken off a waitlist with financial aid at any school, they should take the offer rather than try to wait for their “first choice.” If they do not get into any school, there should be a plan B. But families should also get in touch with the schools they are most interested in about openings in future grades. For instance, at Hackley School, there are openings at 2nd grade. At Rye Country Day, there are openings at 4th grade. At most of the other ISAAGNY schools, there are openings at 5th or 6th grade and 9th grade. Most of the independent schools leave room for REACH Prep and Prep for Prep children at grade 6, 7 or 8. So families should look into those programs. There are summer enrichment programs all over the city they should also look into.

Trigger for families:

I think that most families are concerned about financial aid opportunities. Although diversity is important, most families seemed to understand that there are multiple types of diversity in every school, and, perhaps, the one most important to them is financial diversity. There should be diversity in the financial aid pool as well as the overall population.

Two important topics to disucs:

Live events might further explore the topics of testing and financial aid.


From Elizabeth Perez Azerad
Current Parent Horace Mann

Question: What if play dates are difficult to arrange at home; due to a busy schedule, weekend obligations or sports activities. Will our child be at a disadvantage in having very limited opportunities to socialize? Can other opportunities help?

Hello Friends,

It’s Elizabeth Perez Azerad, back to give my thoughts on this question. First, please note that I have never had a child in a NY Independent School in the lower grades so what I am saying is based on what I hear from my younger friends. I do have two college-aged girls who went through Horace Mann Upper Division so my ideas also come from seeing how the kids turn out at the other end.

First you have to know that today’s kids, even as young as toddler and nursery level, are enrolled in extracurricular activities that most of us would never have imagined when we were kids. Speech, Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy, baby gymnastics, dance, martial arts, foreign language, the list is endless. I mention this, not to intimidate you but so that you can understand that ALL the kids are at a disadvantage of having limited opportunities to socialize in the way that we were accustomed to a generation ago. Play dates are rare and usually happen after or before extracurriculars. Having said this, yes, you must work at making social opportunities for your child, especially if you don’t live in the same neighborhood as most of the classmates. I think that one of the ways to make in roads in this regard is to focus on building relationships with other parents at every opportunity. Birthday parties are a good time to actively get to know other parents and families.


Gina Parker Collins
RIISE Founder
Current Parent Riverdale Country School

Question: When kids go through “civil rights” curriculum is there a discussion on how their peers see students of color? So many emotional experiences can arise, how can we secure our kids to make and help the dominant culture be aware, sensitive and thoughtful?

This is a great question and one that comes up often. At a recent end of year Parents of Color gathering we talked about making the question about the dominant culture in the classroom whether teacher or student. So, for instance a start to the discussion could be, “as a white person, how do you see yourself as it relates to civil rights?” Turning the table can take the pressure off kids of color sharing the responsibility with civic engagement with others in the classroom.   Other valuable members of the community can really be encouraged to become aware, self reflective, sensitive, and and an active part of important discussions.

Question: How do you keep your child grounded amidst people / families with greater socioeconomics?

I’ll take this one too. The irony is that EVERYONE will encounter SOMEONE with a greater socioeconomic status. So, we might as well shift the paradigm. How do we keep ourselves and our kids grounded?

1)Increase the size and scope of our immediate circles

2)Get out of our comfort zones

3)Become champion  for social justice

4)Value your Cultural Capital
…this was so well addressed with the conference’s keynote speaker, Pamela Jolly, that it’s worth repeating. Pamela discussed the value of cultural capital in managing and creating socioeconomic parity.  If we are clear and discuss with our children our diverse histories & cultures: past and current contributions; where we are going as a family, we will achieve balance, sensibility, and ethos around socioeconomics.

5)Finally, we need to be mindful and not judge a book by it’s cover – everything is not always what it appears to be.

Question: How to make the choice between single sex & co-ed private schools?

You might want to check out first hand the power of a single sex school in educating and developing our kids with RIISE’s Spotlight – Chapin Girls Lead! (click here). However, many kids do just  fine at a co-ed school.  It’s a  personal choice based on your families guiding principles.






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