Roycemore School is a member of the National Association of Independent Schools. We rely on them as a resource to connect with fellow independent school professionals around the world, for benchmarking data to help us run the school professionally, for professional development, and more. This past week, NAIS hosted its 30th Annual People of Color Conference. You can follow the conference on Twitter at #NAISPoCC. Because our faculty attended the ISACS Annual Conference last month, we were not able to send any representatives to the conference this year. I hope that we can do so in the future as it is a great opportunity to be inspired and connect with colleagues around the country who are engaged in the important work of diversity and inclusion in independent schools.
Last night I came across a posting from the conference in my Twitter feed. It was a screenshot of a presentation in the conference, and is so powerful that I want to share it with our community. It read:
I am enough.
I am worthy.
I will surround myself with positive people.
I am allowed to acknowledge all that makes me human.
I will allow myself to evolve.
I will recognize my good qualities.
I am deserving of respect.
I will love myself unconditionally.
And we are the change for which we have been waiting for.
This is a wonderful affirmation for each of us and for our children. The society we live in is full of external pressures. It is up to each of us to remind ourselves each day of what is most important. From where will we draw our sense of self and empathy and compassion for others? It is not something that is given to us by others; rather it is something we must claim on our own.
Roycemore School is a college preparatory school, but our goal is to prepare our students for much more than college. Indeed, our mission is: To inspire and nurture excellence and prepare each student for success in higher education and in a dynamic and complex world. My thoughts today are in reflection to the second part of the mission statement, to prepare our students for success in a dynamic and complex world.
One of the speakers at POCC was Ta-Nehisi Coates, nationally renowned poet, author and correspondent for The Atlantic. At the conference he said, “In this society there’s a really narrow band that we define as success. I think about the damage that does to your self-esteem. We want to get across the importance of school, but it’s really important to stress that school is not the whole world.” It may seem counter-intuitive for a Head of School to embrace this quote, but I am sharing it here to emphasize that what we do at Roycemore is so much more than the academic preparation of our students. Through our advisory program, Leader in Me/7 Habits leadership work, and through artistic and physical pursuits, we embrace education in a holistic way so that our children develop their voice, confidence, self-esteem, compassion, respect, and feel a sense of belonging. Just like each of us as individuals, we are a continuing work in progress and I thank you for your partnership as we support your children to reach their full potential.