Students Explore Inclusion and Equality at National Conference
Last week, six members of the Chatham Hall community attended the National Association of Independent Schools' (NAIS) Student Diversity Leadership (SDLC) and People of Color Conferences (POCC) in Nashville, Tennessee.
Over the four day conference, Dean of Students Nicole Brown and Associate of School Life for Community Inclusion Khadija Rahim were in conversation with administrators and faculty from schools across the country at the POCC, while students Camille Neal-Harris ’21, Stephanie Zhang ’20, Kyra Rogers ’21, and Quiana Rodriguez ’21 explored strategies in peer mediation at the SDLC. The concurrent conferences were organized by the NAIS with the goal of “equipping students and faculty with knowledge, skills, and experiences to improve and enhance the interracial, interethnic, and intercultural climate in their schools, as well as the attending academic, social-emotional, and workplace performance outcomes for students and adults alike.”
The theme for this year’s POCC was “Equitable Schools and Inclusive Communities: Harmony, Discord, and the Notes in Between,” and featured over 200 workshops on inclusion, multiculturalism, and diversity in Independent Schools. Brown and Rahim had the opportunity to attend workshops ranging from navigating the experiences of minority students in predominantly white schools to teaching cultural appreciation instead of cultural appropriation. At the SDLC, Chatham Hall students worked in small groups with peers from across the country to explore the many factors that comprise a person’s identity. Reflecting on the group’s experience at the conferences, Brown said, “There were no people more inspiring and brilliant than our own students. I was so privileged to listen to them as they found their voices, explored their identities, and discovered their own ability to impact change in our community and the world. I am in awe of these four girls.”
The group returned to campus bursting with excitement to bring what they learned at the conference to the Chatham Hall community. Under the leadership of the Office of Student Life, those individuals who attended the conferences will help lead conversations, workshops, and weekend activities to explore the diverse racial, cultural, and ethnic backgrounds present in the community throughout the rest of the year.
An all girls boarding and day school in Southern Virginia, Chatham Hall prepares girls for college and for productive lives. Our innovative academic program offers Advanced Placement courses, global study and travel, as well as project based learning. Our athletic teams regularly compete at the State level and our exceptional riding program is nationally recognized. We foster the intellect and character of each student and, through our Honor Code, live in a community of trust. Grounded in its Episcopal heritage, the school welcomes students of all faiths and backgrounds.