Potomac offers a variety of events, groups, professional development opportunities, and programs that support the goals of diversity and inclusion. Some of these opportunities are listed below.
Cultural Competence Forums (CCF)
Cultural Competence Forums are monthly opportunities for faculty and staff to learn about and discuss issues related to cultural competence. Each month’s forum focuses on a different topic, and we often incorporate current events, video clips, and news articles into our conversations. Past topics have included socioeconomic diversity at Potomac, “bro culture,” and takeaways from the People of Color Conference. All Potomac faculty and staff members are welcome.
Twice a year, K–12 staff and faculty members come together in conversation about a diversity and inclusion-related topic. These discussions are usually facilitated by our wonderful Cultural Competence Leadership Team.
Faculty and Staff Book Group
This group, which is open to all Potomac faculty and staff members, reads two books related to cultural competence each year. The conversations that follow are focused and insightful; they are also great starting points for sharing our own stories about diversity, equity, and identity. Members meet approximately four to five times per book. Previous reads have included Debbie Irving’s Waking up White and Ijeoma Oluo’s So You Want to Talk about Race.
Published three times a year, InLight works to empower students as they grow as writers, artists, and active, reflective citizens. The magazine examines contemporary topics through a lens of personal experience and identity. The winter issue is always a collaborative issue with other local schools, such as Georgetown Day, Sidwell Friends, and Washington International.
Grade 3 Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) Identity Development Program
All third grade students take part in this program, which began at Potomac during the 2015–16 school year in an effort to focus more deeply on the development of social-emotional skills. Jamie Tolson, Potomac’s grades K–4 counselor, works with the grade as a whole to help students better understand themselves, their emotions, and their learning.
The Real Me
This voluntary program is offered to sixth grade girls in an effort to help them deal with some of the challenges they may face as adolescents. It provides an opportunity for participants to grow socially and emotionally while exploring their identities and developing confidence in themselves. As of the 2016–17 school year, a similar program has been developed for boys.
MS Spanish Heritage Lunch
This is a monthly event that allows Middle Schoolers from Latinx and Spanish-speaking cultures to gather together during the MS lunch period. It is a great opportunity to share stories, family traditions, and cultural experiences with fellow students. Attendees often choose to speak Spanish together during this time.
Around the World
Around the World is an annual celebration of the diverse ethnic heritages, cultures, and interests of the Potomac community. Members of the community share cultural presentations, cook delicious foods, and display their talents through amazing performances.
Diversity Hiring Fair
Every year, on a Saturday in early February, Potomac hosts this hiring fair, which attracts over 150 participants and more than 35 independent school representatives from the DC metro area. Workshops are offered in the morning segment of the event, and the full hiring fair takes place in the afternoon.
Additional Programs and Events
LS cultural stories and storytelling
LS “The Color of Me” art project
MS “diversity tents”
MS “Sticker Day” diversity activity
IS Frameworks of Identity course
IS identity conversations
IS Student Diversity Alliance lunch group
US identity conversations
US lunchtime conversations
Faculty lunchtime diversity conversations
Parent Diversity Committee Book Club
Parent Diversity Speaker Series
Parent presentations to students
Affinity, Alliance, and Interest Groups
Affinity Groups at Potomac
Affinity groups allow students to celebrate a shared identity of some kind. Joining an affinity group gives students a special space to meet with people who are similar to them in a key way. Affinity group members can speak from personal, firsthand experience about a particular identity. Potomac affinity groups include the Asian American Affinity Group, the Empowering Women of Color Group, and the Ninth Grade Girls Group.
Alliance Groups at Potomac
Alliance groups give students the opportunity to join with others in solidarity. Alliance group members consist of both members of a particular identity and people who want to show support for them. Being part of an alliance group is a wonderful way to increase inclusivity, advocacy, and awareness of various issues within the Potomac community. Potomac alliance groups include the Black Student Alliance, the Gay-Straight Alliance, the Gender Equity Activities Club, and the Student Diversity Leadership Conference Activities Club.
Interest Groups at Potomac
Potomac offers a number of different interest groups for students who would like to learn more about a particular identity, tradition, or experience, particularly alongside those who are already knowledgeable about that topic. Where affinity groups focus on safety and alliance groups focus on advocacy, interest groups center around education. Interest group members enter each meeting with open minds, ready to question their assumptions. Potomac interest groups include the Asia Activities Club, the Guess Who’s Coming to Lunch Club, the Hip-Hop Matters Activities Club, the “Many Voices, One Community” Activities Club, the Spanish Language and Culture Lunch Club, and the Student Diversity Leadership Club.