Several Madeira students and faculty recently attended The Future of Diversity Symposium (FDS) at Georgetown Day School in Washington, D.C. Each school was invited to bring 2–3 students (8th–12th grade) to participate in three days of student learning, leadership development, and relationship building connected to the mission of FDS.
The FDS was designed to inform an individual schools’ diversity, equity, and inclusion chapters and to serve as a growing catalyst and incubator for a national independent school conversation. This collaborative learning experience in the practice of leadership in equity, inclusion, and social justice work, along with the techniques and skills gained during the symposium, is designed to further the work in home schools. The focus of the three day conference was on learning and growing together, modeling this learning, expanding upon existing leadership skills, and doing so with a shared understanding that the work is critical and needs to be shared forward. This focus applies to both the adult and student symposium experiences.
Read a summary of the Madeira team’s experience written by English Teacher, Nina Candia:
Attending a conference at the beginning of the school year is a risky endeavor for teachers, administrators, and students alike. Whether you are teaching in the modular schedule and you have five weeks to transform lives and mold the minds of the future leaders, or if you are a student who is prepared to gain all the knowledge she possibly can in order to prepare for a future of being amazing in your full form—either way, a few days out of school is a sacrifice.
Luckily, as Mr. Withers, Ms. Smith, and I, along with students Cyan Perdue ‘17, Shayna Riggins ‘18, and Charlotte Zhao ’18 headed to the Future of Diversity Symposium at Georgetown Day School we knew it would be worth it, and it truly was. We spent three days learning, brainstorming, and finally preparing action plans focused on how to make Madeira a more inclusive, equitable, and diverse place for the 2016-2017 school year and beyond. We had the opportunity to learn from not only each other, but also from students, administrators, faculty members, and board members from independent schools all over the country. We discussed best practices; we took some mental leaps; and ultimately we innovated new ways of thinking about and becoming a school that places diversity, equity, and inclusion work at the forefront of our thinking about academic and personal success for our community.