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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