All students benefit from teacher diversity. It is critical to offer the modeling and representation in leadership, but it is also essential to learning. In addition to the educational value of having differences in thought, culture, and experiences for all students, representation is especially important in school because children are forming their understanding of identity and self. In the absence of it, non-Black students formulate ideas from media and entertainment, which often portrays the cultural stereotypes of Black people. Even more, this can impact how Black students, who again, are developing a sense of identity and self throughout the school experience, see themselves. In most cases, Black students most certainly hear the message that their culture, their heritage, is not as important as White culture and heritage simply because representation is low in every aspect of school life. They may assume that it must not be as important because they don’t see it well represented in the school community.
PSV purposefully works to increase representation by focusing on the growth and retention of current Black students and families. Through our events and programs, PSV fosters community and addresses feelings of isolation, strengthens a sense of belonging, and educates and empowers PSV parents to be more engaged and in partnership with their school communities.
A core component of focusing on growth, retention, and building community is the PSV Parent Ambassador Program. Parent Ambassadors make themselves available to speak to prospective families, and they work alongside their schools to further a range of related diversity and inclusion efforts, such as recruiting and retaining Black families. They also support current families, particularly newly-enrolled families, to ensure they know about our community and help in their school experience. Minimally, the PSV Ambassador Program bolsters word of mouth among current and prospective parents, which has a tremendous impact on retention and recruitment.
Additionally, the PSV Trustee Leadership Program is designed to help current Black Trustees feel better resourced and supported while establishing a pathway to board service for prospective candidates from the PSV community. Through a mix of focused trainings on best practices, governance, trends, and more, PSV hopes to measurably impact board representation and better support additional resourcing for families of color in private schools.
“Many of our children of color are in schools where they’re hiding in plain sight. Everybody else can see who they are, but they can’t see who they are themselves within the reflection of the school.”
— Reveta Bowers,
Interim Head of School at The Center for Early Education on the eRaced podcast (October 2020)