Five students and five faculty members from The Summit Country Day School attended the People of Color and Student Diversity Leadership conferences Dec. 4-7 in Seattle, Wa.
“Attendance at the conference supports the school's commitment to equity and inclusion by providing high quality professional development specific to diversity in independent schools,” said Kirstin Pesola McEachern, Assistant Head of School for Academic Affairs and Diversity and Inclusion Coordinator. “Students attending the conference bring back information and activities to run their own diversity conference for other schools in the area who do not have the opportunity to attend NAIS's conference.”
Putting to use what they learned in Seattle, Summit students will host their conference – SCD2 (Squared) a Conference on Diversity on March 19. The school is inviting seven students from each of eight different high schools in Greater Cincinnati to attend.
More than 7,000 adults and students in independent schools across the country attended the Seattle conferences in December which are sponsored by the National Association of Independent Schools. The theme of the adult conference was “Amplifying our Intelligence to Liberate, Co-Create and Thrive. The student conference theme was “Integrating Schools, Minds and Hearts with the Fierce Urgency of Now.”
The Summit has been sending faculty and students to the annual diversity conferences every year since 2007. Attendees of the student conference this year were juniors Mona Hajjar, Symmes Township; Grace and Hailey Harrell, West Chester; Avery McEachern, Anderson Township; and Sam Vessel, West Chester.
"My eyes and ears were opened to the stories of others whose lives are drastically different than my own," Sam said. "I was reminded that just because something is not happening to me or around me does not mean it isn't happening at all. I hope that our conference in March can be a safe space where others can share their personal experiences and build positive relationships with those around them."
In addition to Dr. McEachern, Summit Athletic Director Greg Dennis, Montessori School teacher Lauren Guip, Assistant Upper School Director Cliff Pope and Upper School English teacher Gail Rosero attended the adult conference.
The Summit is diverse in many ways: 30 percent of the student body is multicurtural, 41 percent is non-Catholic, 40 percent are on need-based tuition assistance and six percent have citizenship outside the United States.
“I am really proud of the work our faculty is doing to incorporate 20 anti-bias standards into our curriculum,” said Head of School Rich Wilson. “Under Dr. McEachern’s direction, the faculty is working on initiatives for character-based leadership and creative problem-solving. We can already see our students incorporating these initiatives into their academic careers and experiences so they can become the peacemakers and changemakers that Christ calls us to be. We expect our graduates will make a difference.”
The Summit is a co-educational, Catholic independent school serving children from 18-months through grade 12. Call 513-871-4700 ext. 261 to request more information or schedule a personal tour.