Tuesday brought a variety of performances, games, and opportunities for students to learn about and celebrate the Lunar New Year. From a professional Chinese opera performance to student-led performances arranged by US Chinese teacher Carol Jia, the assembly showcased some of the ways people around the world ring in the Lunar New Year. Afterward, the Crossroads was abuzz, with a calligraphy station, a chopstick competition, and a masterclass in making (and eating) dumplings, thanks to a crew of parent volunteers. Appreciation and applause to the students who modeled tremendous courage in getting up on stage and performing in a non-native tongue. Happy Year of the Rabbit!
Using identity, connection, justice, and action as our guideposts.
Through a deeper understanding of historical and present cultural norms, students will be better equipped to validate and nurture the diversity within our community and feel secure in their own identities. We challenge our students to ask the big questions and be prepared to examine the answers.
How does identity shape a person’s experience with the world? How does diversity enrich and strengthen a community? What power and privilege do I have? What individual and collective responsibilities do we have to each other?
Students explore these topics at grade-level appropriate paces. We’ve designed a curriculum framework around cultural competence to ensure our students have the ability to work effectively across differences with curiosity, and humility without judgment.
Students will develop positive social identities based on their membership in multiple groups in society and also recognize that people’s multiple identities interact and create unique and complex individuals. Ultimately, we work with students to express confidence and healthy self-esteem without denying the value and dignity of others, and to express comfort with people who are both similar to and different from them and engage respectfully with all people. Through respectful curiosity and open-mindedness, students are able to recognize stereotypes, injustice, and bias, and express empathy for others and speak up with courage.
Middle AND INTERMEDIATE school
In these divisions, students begin to share more about themselves and their communities. They are curious about their peers' histories and are aware that different groups. and families might do things differently. Students are learning to listen carefully and without judgement, form connections with those who are outside of our community, and can recognize – and give examples of – prejudice and discrimination. Through lessons, speakers, community action days, service learning, and fellowship, Middle and Intermediate School students are aware of behaviors that can cause harm and pay attention to their own treatment of others and take action when they see injustice.
Student outcomes in Upper School center around self-awareness and confidence in self, without treating or perceiving anyone else as inferior. Our goal is for students to respectfully and comfortable interact with all people and are able to build connections by showing empathy, respect, and understanding. In Upper School, students learn about the impact of unequal power relations and can explain the short- and long-term impact of unjust practices, laws, and institutions. Upper School students at Potomac are action-oriented and have led outreach, awareness, cultural exchange efforts for the school and wider communities.
Six Potomac juniors recently attended the Student Diversity Leadership Conference (SDLC) in San Antonio, TX, held in conjunction with the National Association of Independent Schools' annual People of Color Conference (PoCC). Potomac faculty and staff participated in PoCC while the students were taking part in SDLC.
Junior Ella Adamec organized and led a student and faculty walkout against gun violence this week. Following the tragic events in Uvalde, Texas, Ella hoped to bring together fellow students eager to discuss ways they can channel their energy and fight for change. After a moment of silence, Ella shared a brief reflection and encouraged the nearly 200 attendees to sign up to receive information about future opportunities to come together and help make a difference, including using their voices to contact their elected officials.