Small Local School Makes Major Investment, Commits to Addressing Structural Racism
The Sycamore School (TSS), an independent nonprofit school serving 5th-12th grades, has invested in a year-long contract with nationally regarded educator and trainer Dr. Deborah Stroman as part of their continuing commitment to address issues of systemic racism. Dr. Stroman, of the University of North Carolina, will be working with students, staff, and parents on anti-racism education, training and guidance. Through a series of facilitated discussions and listening sessions, Dr. Stroman will focus on strategies that engender intention, innovation, and change.
The partnership will complement the school’s efforts to provide educational resources that offer a global perspective on history and highlight underrepresented voices. It also underscores the school’s support of students and staff on their personal journey toward increased self-awareness and their on-going efforts to create an inclusive community. Dr. Stroman will also serve as a consultant to school administrators as they increase student and staff diversity.
When asked what prompted TSS’s investment in anti-racist programing, Dr Karyn Ewart, TSS Founder and Head of School said, “I recognized that providing my TSS community with inclusive resources and diversity training wasn’t enough. Our staff and students have been asking, what can we do to impact change? It starts with each of us 1) learning our complete history as a country around racism and 2) doing the individual work to uncover our personal implicit biases. Both these steps are prerequisites for positive change. This can’t be completed by a one-and-done workshop.”
On October 12, TSS kicked off this unique partnership with a community dialogue and keynote talk by Dr. Stroman entitled “Impact vs. Intention: The Importance of Collaboration When Dismantling Structural Racism,” co-sponsored by Arlington Magazine. Dr. Stroman posited some thought-provoking ideas: “Try saying Historically White Colleges and Universities,” Dr. Stroman challenged the crowd at one point. “You might start a conversation.”
The session illuminated the need for more public discourse and highlighted the degree to which our community is craving direction and instruction on dismantling racism. “Conscious white people need to lead,” Dr. Stroman said when responding to the community audience. “White people need to talk to white people about racism.”
About The Sycamore School
The Sycamore School’s mission is to provide a dynamic, nurturing and personalized education that inspires a passion for learning, self-discovery and connection to the community. The Sycamore School is a place where adolescents can develop a love of learning in a low-stress, high-interest environment. The school boasts an approach that features hands-on and mastery-based learning.
The Sycamore School is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization and provides scholarships and financial assistance for students who demonstrate need. More information is available at www.thesycamoreschoolva.org.