What’s Missing from School Responses to our Black Students and Alums? | 4 Min Read

Ask a recent graduate of a school what they are good at when they leave, and how they know? They will likely respond that they were good at this subject or content area and received good grades. But what about those personal attributes often touted in a school’s portrait of a graduate, mission statements, and admission brochures? Compassionate? Culturally Competent? A Critical Thinker? You know the ones that are assumed to be part of the culture and community, and the ones that Ms. XYZ, founder of said school, embraced and celebrated. The Black Lives Matter protests (and the Black@[school name] hashtags that accompanied them particularly in independent schools) have exposed the awful experiences of black students and should be a reminder for educators that nothing can be assumed when we are dealing with developing minds.

I have been reading the responses of independent schools to the Instagram and Facebook shaming by black alums and current students (for the racist experiences they have had at their schools), and there is one key word missing from administrators: lots of mentions of re-examining and improving policies, procedures, admissions, financial aid, curriculum, training, student support, college advising, and hiring. Not one mention of…

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Sanje Ratnavale

Sanje founded OESIS in 2012 and serves as the President of what has grown to become the leading network for innovation at independent schools: the acronym OESIS grew from the initial focus on Online Education Strategies for Independent Schools. He has held senior administrative positions at independent schools including Associate Head of School at a K-12 school for seven years, High School Principal for three years, and CFO for seven years. Prior to making a switch to education, Sanje spent 15 years in venture capital, investment banking, and senior C-level (CEO, COO, CFO) management. He was educated at Christ Church, Oxford University (B.A. and M.A. in Law/Jurisprudence). Sanje is based out of Santa Monica.