Defending diversity through a global student experience

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There are 119 women in the United States House of Representatives and 41 female CEOs on the Fortune 500 List – a record. Sanna Marin became the youngest Finnish politician to hold the post of Prime Minister of Finland. Oracle CEO Safra Catz is one of the highest paid female CEOs of all time.

These examples suggest that women have come a long way to shatter the proverbial glass ceiling, but there is still a long way to go. In Greenfield, Massachusetts, Stoneleigh-Burnham School (SBS) –– an independent boarding school and day school for girls in grades 7 to 12 –– plays its role in ensuring a talented pool of future women leaders through diversity, equity and inclusion.

When the pandemic hit, the girls at SBS were safe, healthy, engaged and on track with their education, thanks to a cutting-edge distance learning program. When tuition fees were skyrocketing in the United States, the school offered families boarding and day fees that were significantly lower than the US national average (the school’s boarding fees are about 10% lower than the US national average). the national average and daily tuition fees are about 17% lower than the national average.)

Today, with diversity, equity and inclusion playing a major role in academics and the workplace, SBS not only encourages diversity in classrooms, but in all aspects of school, from academics to the arts through its sports offerings. This year, the school welcomes girls from 15 states in the United States and nine countries around the world, which is quite impressive for a small but powerful school of 150 students in total. As these numbers continue to rise, SBS strives to be an anti-bias, anti-racist, and culturally appropriate educational environment.

Spearheading this commitment is Amanda Mozea, the School’s new Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DCI), who relates to her new role on a personal level. “I see my role as the adult I wish I could have been there for me as a kid,” she says.

Amanda Mozea was one of the few – or the only – children of color in the classes she sat in as a child, sparking her interest in diversity, equity and inclusion. Source: Stoneleigh-Burnham School

Mozea was often one of the few – or the only – children of color in the classrooms she sat in as a child, sparking her interest in diversity and inclusion. Shortly after graduating from Harvard College in 2018, she found herself as a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Consultant at Frontier Regional and Union 38 school districts in South Deerfield, MA, where she had previously been a student. .

After the death of George Floyd – an unarmed African American who was murdered during an arrest by a white officer – Mozea signed as DEI consultant of the school, facilitating anti-racism training and helping to develop culturally appropriate curricula.

At Harvard, she served as a mentor in her chapter of Strong Women Strong Girls – a nonprofit that promotes the aspirations of women and girls. She was also an officer student at Phillips Brooks House, a public student-run organization that shaped her style of community leadership. Collectively, Mozea’s experiences made her the ideal candidate for the position of Director of DCI at SBS.

“Mozea’s experience in education and her commitment to justice work is a great addition to the school,” said SBS School Principal Stephanie Luebbers. “We look forward to fostering a community where diversity, equity and inclusion are the foundation of everything we do here.”

Just months into her role, Mozea ensures that the voices and identities of students and adults are fully recognized, supported and defended at SBS. This is done by empowering both students and adults through open conversations about justice, community, and belonging, among others. Mozea’s philosophy for driving growth is about asking hard-hitting questions.

Source: Stoneleigh-Burnham School

SBS is currently home to 10 varsity teams. It also offers 16 sports options. Source: Stoneleigh-Burnham School

“In athletics, we have to ask ourselves about access: who has time to play sports? Who has the financial resources to purchase the necessary equipment or uniforms? ” she explains.

These are the type of questions that will impact the experiences of SBS students in school, where they have 16 sport options and 10 university teams to choose. The arts and academics will also benefit from diversity, equity and inclusion.

“It’s a question of representation. Who do we see in the program? Who is missing? Who are the “essential” or “founding” authors, artists or thinkers? Who determined that the canon would consist of these numbers? Mozea adds.

While diversity clearly plays an important role in SBS, its world-class education is just as important. SBS students in Grades 11 and 12 can benefit from the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Program –– an internationally recognized program to help students reflect and make connections between disciplines. How they choose to engage in it is entirely theirs. SBS gives them the option of taking the entire program, taking IB courses for certification, or participating in courses without taking the exam. Notably, SBS was the first girls’ boarding school in New England, United States, to offer IB.

Whatever path they choose, SBS students are ready to be successful. SBS enjoys a 100% university acceptance rate. Graduates currently excel at some of the top universities in the United States, including Boston University, Cornell University, Johns Hopkins University, New York University, Princeton University, and Syracuse University. .

Ultimately, SBS will prove to be a great place for young women to be empowered to stretch and grow, regardless of their background. To find out more about admissions for the current 2021-2022 academic year or the upcoming 2022-2023 academic year, Click here.

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