Volume 2 Issue 2
Happy Holidays from the Independent School Alliance!
As we end 2021 and begin 2022, we would like to wish you a joyful holiday season and hope you and your loved ones are able to take some time to relax, reflect, and recharge; you deserve it!
In this brief issue of our newsletter, we offer you reflections and insights from two Alliance Alumnae. Enjoy!
To All Alliance Families (Enrolled Scholars and Current Candidates):
We know this time of year can be really difficult for myriad reasons and offer a reminder about the Alliance’s partnership with Open Paths Counseling Center to provide individual, family, and/or group counseling to members of the Independent School Alliance. Our families receive therapy for a flat rate of $20 per session as long as members identify themselves as Alliance members.
Rob Evans, Executive Director
In the World of Admissions
Reflections from Alliance Alumnae
We asked Alliance Alumnae, to offer reflections on their independent school experience and how their time has impacted their outlook and approach to social justice, access, and equity.
Polytechnic School '20
University of Calfornia, Berkeley '24
As I have progressed in my educational journey, it has become increasingly clear that the academic skills I gained at my independent school have been fundamental to enhancing my college experience. Currently, I am a second-year Ethnic Studies major and Human Rights minor at the University of California, Berkeley. Given the high amount of reading and writing that my major and minor require, the analytical, writing, and annotation skills that my teachers at Polytechnic School taught me have come into great use.
Coming into college already having known and practiced these skills for years at my independent school was very relieving. I’m very grateful that my teachers had ingrained these skills in me from a young age. Not only am I able to use these skills in my academic life, but I am also able to use them in my extracurricular activities. For instance, I’ve utilized my writing and analytical skills as a student researcher for UC Berkeley Law School’s Center on Comparative Equality and Anti-Discrimination Law, as a former intern at Loyola Law School’s Center for Juvenile Law and Policy, and more. Additionally, I’m able to use the collaborative skills my independent school taught me as an academic professional opportunities associate for UC Berkeley’s Associated Students of the University of California (ASUC) President. I believe that access to quality education is so important because it can open up so many opportunities and inspire one to find their passions. Because of my education, I have been able to flourish doing what I love. I’ll forever be grateful to the Independent School Alliance for everything they’ve done for me. I will always use my education to give back to my community because I truly believe that education is worthless unless you use it to help others.
Oakwood School '17
Holy Names University '21
Why is educational access (generally speaking and to independent schools specifically) so important today?
I think educational access is important because it’s a basic right, simple as that. I have been fortunate enough where I was provided with private education my whole life, and I would not want to have it any other way.
I really don’t know how else to phrase it but having access to education in the year 2021 should be considered a right as given as air. It is after that right that I was then given the privilege of having a
choice in attending an independent school, which I found to be not only important but helpful.
What was your experience like in an independent school? What advice would you have given your teenage self to prepare for our present world?
My experience was the best I could have made. Other than actually seeing myself be a minority for the first time, I learned to not let it hinder my experiences. Some of my best memories are from events that were specific to the school. No other school I know had an immersion program where for two weeks teachers create programs that they are interested in for students to develop a new hobby. I learned about photography, grassroots, and I went on trips to New Orleans and Spain. I was also able to travel more because of the after-school choir group, where we traveled to other schools across the country to learn from other professionals or share performances with other schools. If I were to give teenage me advice for today’s world it would be: Don’t be scared or ashamed of your interests. And try to find the Alliance earlier, it will become a community that will become such a huge support.
Can you describe ways in which you would have been personally impacted by the events of the past year - the murder of George Floyd, the Black Lives Matter movement, etc? How has your school’s response impacted you as an alumnus?
Personally, I have not had any major impact because I am aware of how the world works. From a young age, I have been aware of the unjust justice system and how many times the ones who promise to protect and serve are the ones whom I was warned to stay away from. But this has always been a POC experience. We are the less fortunate and will always receive the short end of the stick and, historically, it has been worse for our African American brothers and sisters. I’ve been a graduate for about 5 years now, so I haven't been too up to date with the recent school policies and responses. But a student-run Instagram account depicting stories of Black and other POC students facing discrimination and microaggressions, talking to an admin about it, and being ignored was what brought my attention to how surface level the school’s stand with the BLM movement was. Fortunately, there was a resolve to appropriately improve those behaviors and apologize to those who were affected, as it should be. We don’t want to just scold those who don’t know how to act, we want them to acknowledge their own behavior and learn from it.
What do you think needs to happen to create a lasting change in independent schools?
I think independent schools need to actually devote themselves to building diversity and not cashing in on their token students of color to be the front page of the pamphlet and diversity week.
Calling All Alliance Alums
Let the Alliance Community know what is new in your life! We'd love to connect and reconnect!
Member School Spotlight
We are happy to welcome to the Alliance two new member schools - Children’s Community School in Van Nuys and Geffen Academy at UCLA. Both schools are eager and excited to join the Alliance and its member schools in empowering children of exceptional talent and potential from racially underrepresented and economically underserved communities in order to transform independent schools and society. If you have a moment, check out this quick video (less than 1 minute) to learn a little more about Children’s Community School and this viewbook to learn more about Geffen Academy at UCLA.
There’s still time to donate before the year ends! Your tax-deductible donation will allow us to continue to pursue diversity, equity, and justice for all in our independent schools. Help us end the year strong!