MCRC@ADVIS DEI Conference: 10/11/19
Access Isn't Enough: Creating an Inclusive Environment for Students from Low SES Backgrounds
Intermediate: Assumes some familiarity with or exposure to core content
Equity & Inclusion Exemplars: Programs, Models, Best Practices, Promising Next Practices
Session repeats - Round 1 & 2
Samantha Stern-Leaphart, Director of Diversity and Inclusion, Assistant Dean of Students, The Pennington School
Billy Hawkey, Associate Director of Admissions, Avenues: The World School
How do our missions of diversity and inclusion extend to students who experience high financial need on our campuses? It's not enough for schools to provide access to an excellent education for low-income students, schools have to also foster a sense of belonging and create equal opportunity for students to take advantage of the full life of the school. National research shows that students of low SES often experience a degree of culture shock upon arriving at their new independent school. From the cars that drive through campus to the clothes their peers wear, wealth becomes a salient aspect of the school culture. Very quickly, students feel out of place, ashamed, and isolated. Through a year of institutional research and capturing students' experiences, The Pennington School has responded to this troubling reality and has taken steps to address the issue. Learn what Pennington has done to support high-need students and leave with strategies to implement at your own school.
Independent schools have become well-versed in talking about issues of race and identity, and are becoming more comfortable with gender and sexuality, but socioeconomic status and economic diversity continue to remain a less visible identity marker on our campuses. It is crucial that schools don't stop at having diverse campuses, but commit to creating an inclusive environment for all students, including those with high financial need.
Using Pennington as one model for how to implement support, participants will leave with ideas and strategies to support high-need students on their own campuses.
has worked at The Pennington School since 2011, serving as the Director of Diversity and Inclusion and the Assistant Dean of Students in addition to teaching 10th and 12th grade English. In her time at Pennington, Samantha works to empower student voices and design meaningful professional development to create allies among the faculty. Samantha is currently interested in developing programs that go beyond celebrating diversity by creating true inclusivity.
serves as the Associate Director of Admissions at Avenues:The World School, in New York City. Prior to joining Avenues, Billy worked in admissions at The Pennington School, where he also served on the committee for diversity and inclusion. Billy received his Master’s from the University of Pennsylvania where he conducted institutional research examining the sense of belonging among students who receive significant financial aid.
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