The Community and Equity Office (C&E) has hosted three required orientation events for 9th graders thus far, and will continue to engage with this class and older students throughout the fall. Members of the C&E Office include:Laura Twichell ’01, director of community and equity; Peter Boskey ’08; Leah Cabrera; Topi Dasgupta; Courtney Fields-Thomas; Kirsten Hoyte; and Mandala.

All new students participated in the first C&E orientation session on August 29 that introduced a framework for courageous conversations. Led by Dean of Academic Program and Equity Rob Munro, the workshop explored the introspective, interpersonal, and institutional work each courageous conversation entails.  Students practiced being compassionately curious (engaged and responsive listeners) and brainstormed together about how to respond to a challenging scenario.

The second session, which took place during Class Day on September 1, invited students to engage more deeply in the introspective component of courageous conversations by thinking about what they bring into a conversation. Students used identity wheel templates to consider their own intersectional identities and how their identities might contribute to their perspectives and blind spots.  

The third session, which took place during class meeting on September 9, engaged students in thinking about how they show up for the other person in conversation with them—the interpersonal component. The workshop recognized the challenge of being compassionately curious, especially when feeling upset or defensive. We discussed how to acknowledge a physiological response and recognize if we were in or out of our zone of tolerance for being in conversations. Students practiced lines to help them engage in courageous conversations.  

We look forward to continuing this work with 9th graders and to continuing to build this capacity across the CA community!

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