Six Country School ninth graders attended the national Student Diversity Leadership (SDLC) conference held Nov. 30-Dec. 4, which allowed them to connect with students from across the country virtually.
Organized by the National Association of Independent Schools, this year’s conference, “Keeping it Real in Independent Schools: Bringing Our Real Selves. Connecting in Real Time. Bringing Real Change,” was attended by 2,600 students in Grades 9-12 from across the country. Led by a diverse team of trained adult and peer facilitators, participating students developed cross-cultural communication skills, designed effective strategies for social justice practice through dialogue and the arts, and learned the foundations of allyship and networking principles. In addition to large group sessions, SDLC "family groups" and "home groups" allowed for dialogue and sharing in smaller cohorts.
“SDLC helped our students develop and lift their own voices,” said Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Kojo Clarke. “It was a powerful experience for them to meet other students who had similar backgrounds and experiences.”
“I liked how we leaned into difficult conversations about identity, diversity and social justice,” said ninth grader Maria Flores. “I found that people were very open-minded. They listened to other’s perspectives and added to the conversation.”
“It felt good to talk to other people who were in the same situation as you,” said ninth grader Annie Nichols. “I learned a lot participating in the activities and heard about many different experiences.”
In addition to the students, four members of the faculty and staff attended the People of Color conference which ran virtually alongside SDLC. They participated in leadership and professional development as well as networking sessions for people of color and allies of all backgrounds in independent schools.
The ninth graders who participated are Julia Cooper, Maria Flores, Will Mackey, Aaron Majewski, Annie Nichols, Waverly Walters.
Faculty and staff who participated are School Psychologist Rebecca Comizio, Sixth Grade Teacher Maurizia Gardiner, Fifth Grade Apprentice Olivia Mao and Mr. Clarke.
New Canaan Country School admits students of any race, color, national and ethnic origin and are afforded all the rights, privileges, programs, and activities generally accorded or made available to students at the school and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, age, sex, sexual orientation, national origin or ancestry, or disability in administration of its educational policies, admissions policies, financial aid policies or any other school-administered programs.