Inspirational and thought-provoking messages informed by my faith, ministry in education and community development
Consideration Points for Parents of students of color transitioning into predominantly white independent schools
- Are you a fit as a parent?
- Your parental level of assertiveness on behalf of your child
- Time requirements
- Financial resources: tuition and beyond
- Distance; time and logistics; costs
- Costs of outside tutoring and support
- Extracurricular expenses
- Parent and student personality traits and compatibility
- Gender challenges (especially girls and non-athletic boys)
- Perceptions that all students of color are impoverished
- Ethnic challenges including biracial
- Realistic understanding of student capacity vs perceptions
- Socio-economic disparities
- Middle School increased study time and work load
- Increased likelihood that attendance will cause a later retreat to predominately black college
- Well-intended bias confrontations
- Dating challenges and conflicts
- Impacts on the full household
- Impacts on parental work hours
- Strength of keyboarding skills
- Less study time than peers
- Less sleep and rest time than peers
- Realization that receiving school won’t feel the same
- Deep immersion into classification as person of color and minority
- No longer situated where concentration is “you belong in every story”
- Myth that independent schools are a pipeline to ivy league colleges
- Discomfort of treatment of subject matter content surrounding race
- Independent school experience pushing children towards militancy or complacency
- Shock of identity loss of some peers of same ethnicity.
Experience has overwhelmingly demonstrated that African American students transitioning from St. Philip’s into ISAS schools excel in schools that:
- Have written and observable intentionality towards diversification
- Cultural diversity in curriculum enrollment and staffing
- Cultural Diversity in administrative staffing
- Provision of a forum and space for students and parent support
- Manifests a value for student voices
- Provides a true/authentic family orientation or climate
- Academic equality where all ethnicities are held to same standard
Things I Learned but I Wish I Knew
To aid current families considering independent schools for their children, parents of former St. Philip’s Students were asked to provide a response to: In retrospect, what are the things you wish you knew?
- Not to underestimate the degree of social challenges and the impacts of being drastically under resourced compared to peer families.
- How much our children are asked to explain themselves in the school
- How much I would be questioning myself whether or not I am damaging my child
- The degree of trust issues my family would have with other parents and their values
- That adults would question my child about how they got to the school and how many times they had to apply to get in.
- That my child would be rejected in may ways
- That sometimes my child’s skill and talent would take back seats to clout
- That as a parent I would need tools to process how my child will be treated and the encounters they would experience
- That pretentiousness would be so abundant in comparison to St. Philip’s
- That my child would have to have masterful code switching skills
- That parental presence in the school was more crucial for my child but not feasible
- That there would be hidden figures all the time
- What should the school look like?
Rate your child from 1 to 5 with 5 being strong.
___ Parents who are analytical and discerning
___ Parents who are great listeners to student
___ Strong independent study skills
___ Self motivated
___ Grounded with you?
___ Culturally, Spiritually, Financially grounded
___ Driven personality
___ Strong Self-Awareness
___ Availability of out of school support system and tools
___ Ability to advocate for self
___ Strong Social Skills
___ Strong Communicator
___ Openness with Parents
___ Not easily influenced
___ Involvement in extracurricular activity
___ Attendance of new school accompanied with peer(s)
The rating scale below is not intended to be perceived as precise for your child’s personality or placement. Nor is it a scientific predictor of the likelihood of your child’s potential success or failure in an independent school.
It, however, embodies the experiences and insights of a collective 300 years of experienced parents and educators who have been involved in the migration of African American students into predominately white independent schools. The prayer is that this information is used to inform parents in making this critical decision and minimizing the likelihood of casualty to children.
40-59 questionable chance
60-75 good chance of success
76-100 very high probability of success