RIISE Parent Power Conference ’14…a Reflection, by Liz Fernandez



Almost one month ago, I had the pleasure of attending the RIISE Parent Power Conference at Convent Baptist Church in Harlem. Upon entering the community space, Dr. Howard Stevenson was sharing reflections with those in attendance. The audience, mostly community members curious about independent schools and being better parent advocates, heard Dr. Stevenson explore memories as they relate to culture and tradition. He asked for examples of our own home cultures and traditions and reminded us that within independent schools, the rules and expectations may be different than we have previously been exposed to.  Though there are differences, there are also areas of shared commonality including and especially, providing students with an exceptional academic education. The differences lie in the social education that comes with enrollment where some have much more than others and access and privilege are relative to your individual situation.

One of the most important things a parent can do is make sure that their child is able to talk regularly about the differences and challenges they experience in their day. The effort a parent makes can and should become part of their family culture and tradition because it allows a child to debrief, reflect and process their daily experiences. This becomes invaluable as a child develops the ability to navigate the differences between their home and school life. Dr. Stevenson’s message wasn’t new to many of the independent school representatives who hosted a school fair immediately following his keynote. However, to this audience of hopeful parents seeking new and more empowering educational opportunities for their children, it’s important for them to hear a notable African-American, author, scholar and researcher remind parents they should never relinquish advocacy for their children, regardless of where they go to school. That message is one worth repeating often…after all, our children are depending on us to have their backs always. – Liz Fernandez



RIISE thanks Liz Fernandez, Alissa Mayers, Dr. Howard Stevenson, Liz Perez Azerad, Keith Collins, Theresa Land-Latta, Ursula Hunter – The Bronx NY Chapter of Jack and Jill of America, Inc., Convent Avenue Baptist Church, our participating schools, sponsors, current & prospective parents & students for making the day powerful!

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One Comment

  1. Posted July 20, 2014 at 1:23 pm | Permalink

    Thank you Liz for powerfully participating & sharing your perspective on the conference! We value your reflections as a fellow parent and faculty member.

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