Millbrook sent four students to the NAIS Online Student Diversity Leadership Conference in December. The National Association of Independent Schools is an organization that provides support and guidance to over 1900 member schools and associations in the form of research and professional development opportunities.
Typically an in-person gathering of diverse students from independent American and international high schools the conference was held online this year over a week. Facilitators led large and small group activities intended to support student-centric DEI initiatives back on campus. Aly Rosenzweig ’22 and Bella Shay ‘22, both members of Millbrook’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Council attended the conference along with Will Zelevansky ’23 and Ranly Cano ’25.
For Ranly, the conference inspired him to explore his own identity and make connections with other LatinX students. ”My experience at SDLC will affect my role at Millbrook by making sure I am always inclusive and respectful about how others identify,” said Ranly, “we should all respect identities.”
Small ad hoc affinity groups enabled conference participants to dialog freely and share experiences and ideas on strengthening DEI initiatives at their schools. Will was encouraged by the diversity of participating students: “it was very eye-opening to see that much representation in one place.” Connecting with peers at other schools, Will found “There are some universal experiences for those who go to private schools, I think. Especially when relating to DEI work.”
Aly attended the conference hoping to discover concrete strategies to create change at Millbrook in particular. Her participation in a Multiracial affinity group provided insights into “my own identity and validated a lot of the concerns I didn’t know were universal in the lives of other multiracial kids like me,” said Aly. “I also learned that change does not have to be dramatic. Small steps can be just as meaningful as large ones.”
Bella connected with a fellow Coloradan through a breakout affinity group and was able to share their common experience as a passing LatinX student. “It taught me how to really listen to others before trying to relate,” said Bella “I believe this will be helpful when communicating with other students on how to make Millbrook a more inclusive campus.”