Members of the Parent Advisor Group
Our Origin Story...
In the Spring 2018, a mom at The Center for Early Education (Kawanna Brown) and a mom at Campbell Hall (Lisa Johnson) had a conversation many of us have had -- we wondered when someone would try to get all the Black families in private/independent school together so that our children could socialize and we could better support one another. We decided to just get started; we decided to just go for it. Lisa invited a few friends in various schools to lend their names to an electronic invitation and together, they emailed roughly 75 friends. When 500 responded, representing more than 30 schools, they knew we were not alone in yearning for and needing this type of community.
On Sunday, August 26, 2018, the Brown family and the Independent School Alliance sponsored our first gathering in Pan Pacific Park. Three days later, after that first successful gathering, Lisa filed paperwork to create a 501(c)3 nonprofit, which became official in September 2018.
Many families, like ours, appreciate the simplicity of providing a way to get together—no expectations of having vendors or food on site, no pressure to volunteer or organize something unless interested, no requirements other than having someone in your family that identifies as Black/African-American and having someone in your family affiliated with an independent/private school. There are no pre-requisites or applications for anyone to submit—just a commitment to keeping things simple, social, engaging, educational and fun. This was the beginning of what would become the Private School Village (PSV).
PSV builds community by organizing social events, sharing resources, and providing programs for Black/African-American families in independent schools (K-12). This fortunate yet sometimes marginalized group experiences a disjointed sense of community in the private school setting which impacts the ability to fully reach potential. Without a sense of belonging in the school community, there are often behavioral, psychological, and/or academic issues that can permeate life. Through PSV programs and events myriad issues are addressed–cultural identity, self-esteem, leadership skills, and more. PSV helps Black/African-American students realize their maximum potential by working alongside parents, students, and private schools.
Parents often understandably spend considerable time trying to get into private school, but it is crucial that African-American/Black families equally spend considerable time building connections with one another after admitted to the community. We need each other!
Through regular socialization and programs, our children will grow through the private school system, together, knowing that they have a larger community behind them that looks like them, lifting them up and providing support in a way that only can come from a group like ours. Afterall, it takes a village...
All Photos Below (all but the image of 5 girls): Michael Mayson
"If you want to go quickly, go alone. If you want to go far, go together."
- African Proverb
The Private School Village (PSV) builds community by organizing social events, sharing resources, and providing programs for Black/African-American families in independent schools (K-12).
We build local communities that provide support and empower Black/African-American students in private school so that they realize their maximum potential.
The origin of private schools in America is tethered to our history of racism—enrollment in these institutions exploded to avoid integration after the Brown v. Board of Education ruling because White families did not want to send their children to school with minorities. Fast forward over 65 years and the lack of meaningful ethnic diversity in private schools prevails.
Low representation creates myriad issues that have life-long implications for the entire private school community, but particularly for Black students. Many Black students are often “the only one” in a class, feel as if they don’t belong in the community, and some deal with covert and overt racism. The experience can leave them feeling marginalized and can inhibit their sense of self, jeopardizing a successful future.
Through racial socialization and cultural education, and in partnership with private schools, the Private School Village (PSV) is working to change that—we hope to ensure students not only benefit from a strong academic experience at school, but also a healthy social and cultural education as well.